Derek Carr

Carr believes Raiders must 'hit a reset button' after difficult stretch

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AP

Carr believes Raiders must 'hit a reset button' after difficult stretch

The Raiders have been through a ton these past two years. A major injury ruined 2016’s dream season. They lost a coaching staff and two offensive coordinators after a disastrous 2017 campaign. They had several off-field incidents that brought distraction to their doorstep.

Rock star head coach Jon Gruden is in charge now, ready to lead a new era.

That’s a ton of turnover in a short stretch, creating tons of drama along the way.

Quarterback Derek Carr believes this Raiders roster doesn’t need a major overhaul. The Silver and Black do, however, need to find themselves again.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Carr said Friday on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein. “We have so much talent on our team, but talent only gets you so far. We have to come together as a team like we never have. We have to hit a reset button after the emotional highs and lows we’ve been through. If you think about it, the last 24 months have been a roller coaster for us. We were so high winning 12 games (in 2016), and then I break my ankle and everyone goes down. Then we come back and  start 2-0 (in 2017), and then it turns into a weird season.

“We have to hit a reset button. We know what we’re capable of. We know what it takes to win now. We’ve changed the culture. Coach (Jack) Del Rio came in and helped us do that along with our leadership. Anyone we add will be welcomed to the team and told, 'Hey, this is how we do things.' I don’t think we need to completely change things.”

Carr address other hot-button offseason topics, including Marshawn Lynch, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Here’s what he had to say about those guys:

Carr on Crabtree: “I really hope the best for out situation with him. I want Crab (here). I love him as a person, I really do. I love working with him, because we’re so competitive and we just want to win. …He loves football, he loves winning and he loves playing with me. I love playing with him. When we’re rolling, we feel we can do whatever we need to do. …I’m not worried about Crabtree. He’s going to give us everything he has and is going to compete his tail off just like he always does. I can’t wait to throw him the ball. He’s my brother. I love that guy.

Carr on Lynch: “We all know about his running style. He runs his tail off and gives it everything he has. As teammates, we know he’ll do whatever we need him to do for us. The way he picked up blitzes and studied those things, that’s selfless. …To be honest, some of the most intellectual conversations I’ve ever had, and some of the most knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained, was with Marshawn.

“I hope he is here. I hope he wants to come back, and that our organization wants to bring him back.”

Carr on Cooper: “He and I are learning how to communicate better and get done what we both want to get done. Our goal is to dominate. It’s a work in progress, and we hit and bump in the road, him and I. He would never tell you, but that man was out there playing on one foot. He was out there trying to battle for his teammates. A lot can be said about how it didn’t work out with stats and all those things, but I want to say I’ll roll with him any day of the week. He was trying to give it his all despite the fact he could barely get out there and do it. That’s the kind of guy I want to play with, and that’s how I know we’re going to be just fine.”

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

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USATSI

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 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.

Raiders QB Derek Carr throws game-winning TD in 2018 Pro Bowl

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USATSI

Raiders QB Derek Carr throws game-winning TD in 2018 Pro Bowl

BOX SCORE

Derek Carr had a pretty good week, all things considered. The Raiders quarterback was named to his third straight Pro Bowl, this time as an alternate replacing Tom Brady.

He was on the initial ballot a year ago, following a 12-4 campaign where he was a legitimate MVP candidate. It ended too early, with a broken fibula ruining the Raiders’ Super Bowl hopes. It obviously took him out of the NFL’s annual all-star game, an afterthought for many of the league’s players and die-hard fans.

Carr would've rather been alive and fighting for a Super Bowl LII title, but accepted this year’s invitation without a second thought.

Let's get one thing clear: it provided zero consolation for a dismal 6-10 campaign where he and the Raiders didn’t realize great expectations, and ultimately got a coaching staff fired. Carr wasn’t going to sulk.

Carr was named to the Pro Bowl Monday– New England’s Super Bowl berth sealed the deal, though Brady likely would’ve skipped anyway with a hand injury – and left for Orlando the next morning. He brought the family, which went to Florida amusement parks most every day while Carr practiced.

Carr won the precision passing contest during the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, knocking passes through distant or moving targets.

The 26-year old also entered the Guiness Book of World Records, believe it or not, by breaking five piñatas faster than anyone else.

Then on Sunday afternoon, with the AFC down for the count, Carr orchestrated a fourth-quarter comeback. Raiders fans know that sequence well. Carr won seven games late in 2016, and just one during last year’s disappointment.

His touchdown pass to Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker with 92 seconds left (and the ensuing extra point) secured a 24-23 victory and a $64,000 payout for everyone on the AFC roster. The losing team got half that.

"That's as real as it gets in football. You always want to win, especially with money on the line," Carr said after the game, via the Associated Press.

The touchdown pass was well crafted, as was a 12-yard pass to Miami receiver Jarvis Landry – soon to be an unrestricted free agent – on 4th-and-7 to extend the game winning drive.

Carr completed 11-of 15 passes for 115 yards in sum, with an interception and the game-winning touchdown during a rain-soaked affair in Central Florida.

"You've got guys on the sidelines saying, `I need that money,'" Carr said.

He led the AFC on two touchdown drives scores it help eliminate a 17-point halftime deficit, and now enters a long gap between competitive football games on somewhat of a high note.

The Pro Bowl victory doesn’t erase last season’s ills, nor was that expected or even possible. It doesn’t change the fact Carr had a pretty fun week.

He wasn’t the only one. Left guard Kelechi Osemele was in the AFC’s starting lineup, and center Rodney Hudson was a reserve.

Khalil Mack was also voted into the starting lineup, but bowed out with an undisclosed injury. Donald Penn skipped the Pro Bowl recovering from surgery.