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 overthecap.com, 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.