Will Raiders cut Derek Carr if they can’t find a trade partner (or if Carr won’t waive his no-trade clause)?

What are the Raiders doing with Derek Carr? It’s a fair question, since they’re currently sending mixed signals regarding their intentions.

When they benched Carr with two regular-season games left, they sent a clear message that they want to shed Carr’s contract before $40.4 million in injury-guaranteed salary becomes fully guaranteed on February 15.

But then came the news that the Raiders have yet to give Carr permission to talk to other teams about a potential trade. Which, frankly, doesn’t bolster the impression that they want to have a deal in place before the guarantees vest.

My initial reaction to the fact that they won’t let Carr talk to teams was that they possibly intend to let the guarantees vest and then figure out a trade later, with Carr possibly reducing his pay in order to facilitate a trade.

However, the more likely reality (based on things learned since then) is that the Raiders simply want to control the process, completely. If the Raiders continue to take that position, the chances of Carr flatly refusing to agree to waive his no-trade clause will increase. Indeed, if Carr makes it clear come February 14 that he won’t under any circumstances waive his no-trade clause, he’ll be daring the Raiders not to cut him.

The thinking is that they definitely will cut him, if it comes to that. It would be the only way to avoid with certainty the $40.4 million in cash and cap obligations. Even if owner Mark Davis had the cash flow of the richest owners in the sport, that’s still a lot of cap space to devote to a player his team no longer wants.

For now, the Raiders will try to strike a deal before February 15. Then, they’ll have to persuade Carr to go along with it. Ultimately, it will be his call.

And it’s absolutely better for Carr to be cut than to be traded. Unless he’s foolish enough to think it looks better to be traded than to be cut. If there’s someone willing to commit to $40.4 million fully guaranteed and to give the Raiders value for the contract, that same team would surely give Carr more than $40.4 million fully guaranteed if he’s on the open market.

Which would end up looking great for Carr.

Will Raiders cut Derek Carr if they can’t find a trade partner (or if Carr won’t waive his no-trade clause)? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk