Carr benching starts QB carousel Bears can take advantage of


While the Bears were starting preparations for their Week 17 game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, a decision was made 1,747 miles away that could eventually reverberate to Halas Hall.

The 6-9 Las Vegas Raiders opted to bench franchise quarterback Derek Carr for the final two games of the regular season, hoping to keep him healthy and find a trade partner in the offseason.

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniel said they made the move to get a look at backup quarterback Jarett Stidham. But it's clear the decision is about ensuring Carr doesn't get injured in the final two games of a lost season for the Raiders. Should Carr get injured and not be able to pass a physical before the third day of the 2023 waiver period, his $40.4 million in injury guarantees would become fully vested.

Some reports have said the door is open on Carr returning to the Raiders in 2023. That might be the company line, but it's clear Carr's tenure in Silver and Black is over. The Colts, Bucs, Jets, Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Giants, and Tennessee Titans all are potential landing spots for a guy who is a top-12 quarterback.

With Carr on his way out, the Raiders will enter the 2023 offseason in need of a new franchise signal-caller.

The Raiders' decision to move on from Carr puts them in a pool with the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and perhaps a few others in need of a long-term solution at quarterback.

The Bears currently hold one of the most valuable assets of the 2023 offseason. At 3-12, Chicago would own the No. 2 in the 2023 NFL Draft if the season ended today. However, should the Bears lose out and the Houston Texans win one of their final two games, Chicago will pick first.

With Justin Fields showing he's a franchise quarterback, the Bears will have the option of auctioning off the No. 1 or No. 2 pick for a team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback.

The Raiders currently own the No. 9 selection. That pick could finish in the six-to-eight range with Stidham under center for the final two weeks.

This move puts the Raiders on the list of teams the Bears could target in a potential trade down. Are the Bears interested in moving from two to seven? It depends on the price and how they view the non-quarterback class after Jalen Carter and Will Anderson.

But given that the Raiders just spent on extensions for Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller, they might not have the appetite for the growing pains that come with a rookie quarterback.

Could Tom Brady be an option? Should the seven-time Super Bowl champion elect to come back for another season, the Raiders would be a good landing spot, given his history with McDaniels and the Raiders' weapons.

Brady moving on from the Bucs would put Tampa in the quarterback market. The NFC South is so bad the Bucs could look to a veteran free agent like Jimmy Garoppolo to keep the train moving. The Bucs also could view Brady's exit as a reason to reboot, retool, or rebuild, potentially putting them in the conversation for a draft trade or a Mike Evans deal if they hit the "blow it up" button.

RELATED: What history says Bears can expect in trade if they land No. 1 pick

Where we sit on Dec. 29, the Colts and Panthers seem like the Bears' best bet for a draft deal.

But more teams will emerge as the quarterback carousel starts spinning faster and faster.

The Raiders' decision to bench and likely move on from Carr is the first of many dominoes to fall.

Fields' ascensions and the Bears' draft position puts them in an excellent spot to take advantage of quarterback-desperate teams this offseason. All they have to do is sit back and wait to see who still needs a dance partner after the carousel stops spinning.

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