Why Raiders should be happy with Carr's monster deal despite down year


Why Raiders should be happy with Carr's monster deal despite down year

Derek Carr wasn’t the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback for long. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford passed him shortly after the Silver and Black’s signal caller signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension with $40 million fully guaranteed and $70 million guaranteed for injury.

Carr was fine with that. He got paid, reset the QB market – that’s a favor to his position group, league-wide – and left some wiggle room for the Raiders to sign Gabe Jackson last offseason and others down the road.

Carr’s $25 million take was last season’s highest, a title that impacted his perception during a 2017 season didn’t go well for the Raiders. Carr played worse than the previous year, when he was a legitimate MVP candidate before getting hurt in Week 16.

Carr got paid a ton last summer. There’s little argument against that, but it’s also the going rate for quality NFL quarterbacks. Contract values are only going up.

Alex Smith signed an extension after between traded to Washington that wasn’t cheap.

The 49ers paid Jimmy Garoppolo a king’s ransom, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported on Thursday afternoon, agreeing to a five-year, $137.5 million contract with $74 million in guarantees. ESPN reports that there’s $90 million in cash over the first three years.

All that for a guy with seven NFL starts to his credit. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal. Garoppolo seems like the real thing, even using a relatively small sample size. He got paid the going rate.

Kirk Cousins could sign a bigger deal later this offseason.

ESPN reports that Green Bay has discussed extending Aaron Rodgers’ contract. Just think about how much that’ll be worth.

Quarterback pay isn’t related to the league’s best. It’s all about leverage and timing.

The Raiders were smart to get Carr’s deal done a year before his rookie contract came due. They didn’t mess with franchise tags or having to top more deals. Carr could’ve easily leveraged more than Garoppolo got, considering his track record over 62 starts. Also, tough talks didn’t put a strain on player-team relations. Even getting in before Stafford last summer likely saved some money.

Derek Carr counts $25 million against this year’s Raiders salary cap, per, and decreases every year after. That’s a relatively unusual trend. The NFL salary cap should continue to increase in coming years, meaning the percentage of his salary versus the total cap will decrease into a comfortable range. That leaves more to pay others in a young core.

Even if Carr’s play drops significantly (it won’t) or he doesn’t mesh with new head coach Jon Gruden (he will), the Raiders could get out of this deal in 2019 for just a $7.5 million cap hit. It drops to $5 million the year after.

The Raiders have budgeted well under general manager Reggie McKenzie, and are prepared to pay Khalil Mack the massive extension he has earned, likely later this offseason.

There are also benefits for Carr in this deal. He got paid last year without having to worry about suffering a career-ending injury in 2017. Carr received a ton up front, with a steady rate throughout the life of the deal and into a stretch in Las Vegas, where there are no state taxes. That makes the back end of the deal worth more, even if the salary’s less. It also ends in Carr’s 31st year, leaving plenty of time to earn another megadeal if he continues to flourish as expected.

Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?


Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?

Jon Gruden doesn’t love offseason restrictions on player-coach interaction. They weren’t so strict when Gruden last coached nine years ago, but the new collective bargaining agreement prevents the new Raiders head coach from extended contact with his players at this stage in the NFL’s downtime.

He has, however, run into several Raiders stopping by the team’s Alameda complex.

Count running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Michael Crabtree among them. Conversations with those talented, yet mercurial players will be key as Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie decide how best to use the salary cap.

Both guys have a long history of NFL production. Both guys are getting up there in age, and have some drawbacks. Both guys can be cut without a salary cap hit.

Gruden had nice things to say about both guys in a Wednesday interview with the Bay Area News Group.

He was asked directly if Lynch will be on the 2018 roster.

“I don’t know,” Gruden said. “I bumped into him. Some of these players that live locally do come to the facility to get a workout, see the trainer. I’ve been downstairs and met several guys. I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ball carrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. That’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.”

Lynch started slow but finished strong, and was the team’s best skill player in the season’s second half. He’s contracted to make up to $6 million in 2018.

Crabtree came up later in a discussion of what he likes on the roster.

“I got to bump into Crabtree,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career.”

Crabtree is coming off a down year following two stellar seasons in Oakland. He had just 58 catches for 618 yards – he still had eight touchdowns – but his targets and snaps decreased the last two weeks. He seemed at odds with the previous coaching staff, a group that was dismissed at season’s end.

Crabtree is set to make $7 million next season, though none of it is guaranteed.

Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders


Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders

PALO ALTO – Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie became a father on Super Bowl Sunday. Newborn son Elijah Carrie has been the sole focus these last few weeks, as T.J. learns on the job how to be a dad.

Pardon him if he hasn’t thought much about impending free agency. The 2014 seventh-round pick turned full-time starter has a rookie deal expiring soon, with a raise on the horizon following his best season as a pro.

That’ll come in March. Early February, however, has kept him otherwise engaged.

“I’ve been so busy with my little one, and I haven’t been getting any sleep,” Carrie said Thursday. “Learning how to be a dad has been so engulfing that I haven’t delved into the details of what free agency will mean to me.”

Soul searching wasn’t required to realize his dream scenario. The East Bay native wants to stay in Oakland, with a Raiders team he loved as a kid.

“My intention is to be here,” Carrie said. “I’m a Bay Area guy, a hometown kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else. This is a passion for me. I dreamed about playing for the Raiders for such a long time. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish (with the Raiders).”

Carrie wants to work with a new Raiders regime. He visited the team’s Alameda complex on Wednesday and met with new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive assistants. The interaction left Carrie wanting more, furthering his belief that be belongs in Silver and Black.

“Coach Gruden is very energetic,” Carrie said. “He’s a coach that likes to have fun but it a very business oriented guy. There are a lot of things, I imagine, that are going to change, just from the way he has done things. It’s going to be different, but I embrace it. It’ll be very challenging entering into a new regime, but there are a lot of positive factors involved with it.”

The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks under contract come mid-March. They released David Amerson, and could do the same with Sean Smith later this offseason. Gareon Conley should start at one spot, but everything else is wide-open entering free agency and the draft.

Carrie could find value on the open market after recording 70 tackles and nine passes defensed in 16 starts. He’ll explore his options further next month, before free agency begins in earnest March 14.

“I know March is really when it starts to go down,” Carrie said. “My son will be a little older then, so I can focus more on free agency and make some more decisions.”