Ever since Derek Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Raiders to give him the highest average annual contract value in league history, some version of the same question has been posed over and over again.
What does this mean for other quarterbacks looking for new deals?
Despite the fact that Carr's average annual value surpasses the previous high set by Andrew Luck ($24.6 million), and despite the fact that Carr's contract provides him the security that alluded him while he was on his rookie contract, his recent haul may not mean much for the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and other top-end quarterbacks.
They were already expecting monster paydays down the road that would hit (or eclipse) the $25 million range, and Carr's record-setting contract may not even serve as a suitable baseline for them, as ESPN's Dan Graziano lays out.
So if Carr's contract did little more for upper-echelon quarterbacks than confirm for them where the market was already headed, then does it mean anything for someone like Jimmy Garoppolo?
Carr and Garoppolo were both second-round picks in 2014, but from that point, they've obviously taken very different roads as pros. Carr started 47 consecutive games in his first three years and by last season he had established himself as one of the most valuable players in the league. Garoppolo, by comparison, has started two games.
Both players still hold loads of promise, but unless Garoppolo sees substantial playing time in 2017 and then hits the open market, he won't approach Carr's deal when his rookie contract is up.
ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that a fair deal for Garoppolo on the open market might fall between the $19 million that was guaranteed to Chicago's Mike Glennon and Carr's contract, which includes $40 million fully guaranteed and $70 million in total guarantees, per NFL Media.
Perhaps something in the range of what Brock Osweiler received from the Texans after Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos in 2015 would be considered fair: four years, with $37 million guaranteed. Because Osweiler (before his deal or since) never seemed as polished as Garoppolo was in his two games as a starter in 2016, and because the salary cap continues to soar, the argument could be made that Garoppolo deserves something even richer.
Though Garoppolo is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2017 season, there is a chance he doesn't get there quite that quickly. The Patriots could try to come to some kind of agreement with their backup quarterback on an extension that would keep him in New England, or they could place the franchise tag on him following the season.
Either way, Garoppolo will get paid. But until he sees more time on the field, a deal that would pay him in the same range as his draft classmate will probably be out of reach.
Tom Brady is the best player in the NFL.
Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever to play in the NFL.
Tom Brady is not the MVP of the NFL.
Whoaaaaaa! More blasphemy from Tanguay, you say?
First of all, let's admit something that's crystal clear: You and I really don't care about the Most Valuable Player Award. We don’t. How can a fan of a team that could win its fifth Super Bowl in 16 years care about a stupid award? If Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have taught us one thing, it’s that individual accolades mean nothing.
So why are so many of you incensed when talk of Oakland’s Derek Carr winning the MVP pops up? Who cares?
You only care because someone is giving credit to a player other than your poor, disrespected Tommy.
Carr is going to win the MVP because without him, his Oakland team has dropped from battling with New England for home-field advantage and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs to a fifth-seeded wild-card slot. The Raiders aren’t even playing at home; they have to travel to Houston next weekend.
When Carr went down with a broken fibula against the Colts in Week 16, Oakland led by 26 in the second half. In the game-plus since then, they've been outscored 42-6.
And how about this stat: Carr led his team on seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. Sounds a little like that New England somebody you all love, adore and fantasize about.
On the other hand, the Patriots went 3-1 this year without Brady. And you and I both know that if Jimmy G. had to take over in the postseason, the Pats could still get to the Super Bowl. It wouldn't be as easy, but still very possible
I know many of you are yelling, screaming and throwing that week-old cheese log at your computer, but this really is a compliment to the Patriots organization. The entire team -- the backup QB, the rest of the players, the coaching stafff, the front-office staff -- has had such a phenomenal year that Brady hasn't had to be the MVP. But for the Raiders to get to where they are, Carr has.
Look, Brady is a better quarterback than Carr. He's king of the hill. But give the kid in Oakland his due. He took a franchise that had been a laughingstock and made it legit.
Like that New England someone you all love, adore and fantasize about.