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An up-and-down year for the Raiders will force the team to make a quick decision for 2023.

Is quarterback Derek Carr in or out?

Saturday night’s three-interception performance once again renewed questions about whether he should remain with the team. And, as explained at the end of his last contract, the Raiders have a way out of most of the deal.

But if they’re going to do it, they’ll have to act fast.

Disappointed by the $40.5 million deal crowd, the truth was and is that Carr received $24.9 million in 2022 with no full guarantees after the current season.

Carr has a salary of $32.9 million for 2023, which was guaranteed for injury at the time of signing. That, along with $7.5 million in 2024 that is currently guaranteed for injury, is fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2023 waiver deadline.

The waiver period begins after the Super Bowl. If the Raiders are going to cut Carr and avoid $40.4 million in liability, they will have a tight window in which to operate.

There are two important caveats. First, Carr cannot be traded before the vests are guaranteed. A no-nonsense trade could be worked out (like the Alex Smith deal in early 2018), but the guarantees would be in place and if the deal fell through, the Raiders would be stuck.

Second, Carr must be able to pass a physical before the third day of the waiver deadline. That could tempt the Raiders to put him in bubble wrap if/when they get eliminated. (If the Dolphins win today and the Chargers win tomorrow, it’s over for the Raiders.)

If that happens, if it is announced that Carr will not play for the rest of the season, it will be a clear signal of what is to come. Which is likely where Carr will go after nine years with the Raiders.

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