ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr is confident he will have a new contract extension before the Raiders report for training camp at the end of July.
If for some reason that doesn't happen, Carr said he would play out the final year of his rookie deal in 2017 rather than negotiate a new contract once camp has started and his focus is entirely on the upcoming season.
"I wouldn't even answer my phone," Carr said Tuesday. "The money isn't the thing that drives me. If it was, then I shouldn't be standing here. What drives me is making sure I'm giving everything I have with my abilities and making sure that we win. I don't want anything distracting my thought process at all. It's not a jab or anything like that. That's just me saying, `I'm not going to deal with anything that's not helping me just focus on winning.'"
Carr is in the final season of his bargain rookie deal that is slated to pay him just under $1 million in his fourth season. Because he was drafted in the second round, not the first, in 2014, the Raiders are unable to use a fifth-year option to retain Carr like they did earlier this offseason with star pass rusher Khalil Mack.
So Oakland must give Carr a long-term deal that would likely make him one of the top-paid players in the game after a successful three-year start to his career or be forced to use the franchise tag in 2018 to retain him.
Carr said there have been no substantive talks as of yet but he expects things to heat up soon between the Raiders and his agent, Tim Younger.
"Hopefully it will get done," he said. "Both sides keep saying it's going to get done. I'm not worried about it to let you know about it. Once camp hits, I don't want to be a distraction. I've made it very clear that I want to be a Raider my entire career. I don't want to play for anybody else. They know that. They've told me how bad they want me. We'll see."
Carr said it bothered him to watch Mack have to answer questions about Carr's contract recently in a television interview and he wants to avoid putting his teammates in that situation in the future.
Panthers: Stewart focused on championships, not carries
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers veteran running back Jonathan Stewart isn't concerned about losing carries to Christian McCaffrey, the team's first round draft pick.
In Stewart's eyes, the more talent on the Carolina roster the better.
"Who cares? We want to win Super Bowls, right?" Stewart said following OTAs on Tuesday. "That's the bottom line on why we drafted him. It's not about people getting carries, or people getting touches, or getting touchdowns. It's about what you what can contribute" to the team.
Stewart has always approached things with a team-first mentality, having spent the majority of his nine-year career splitting reps with DeAngelo Williams.
The Panthers still envision Stewart having a huge role in the offense after a solid season in which he ran for 824 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games. That's why they signed him to a one-year $8 million extension that will keep him under contract through the 2018 season.
The 5-foot-10, 240-pound Stewart is an entirely differently runner than the smaller McCaffrey.
Stewart is a power back who excels at breaking tackles, while McCaffrey is expected to bring more speed, quickness and versatility to the backfield as a pass receiver.
"It doesn't change Jonathan's role," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the addition of McCaffrey. "We're going to do what we do. (McCaffrey) is a young man who can come in an supplant some of those reps. He's a dynamic player that can do some things Jonathan doesn't do."
Browns: Kirksey signs 4-year, $38 million extension
CLEVELAND -- When the Browns were sliding toward a winless 2016 season, Christian Kirksey stepped forward.
The linebacker boldly predicted a victory, which came a few weeks later.
On Tuesday, Cleveland locked up Kirksey for what the club hopes will be better seasons ahead.
Kirksey signed a four-year, $38 million extension with the Browns, who will have their leading tackler under contract through the 2021 season. The deal includes $20 million guaranteed.
"Christian Kirksey brings a lot to this football team," said Sashi Brown, the club's executive vice president of football operations. "He's another example of a young talented football player that we want to be part of our organization for the long term. Chris reflects the hard work and commitment we want in our locker room. He has done everything asked of him since he was drafted and has developed into an impact starter. We look forward to watching him continue to emerge as a leader of our team and establish a culture of winning here in Cleveland."
The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder was one of the few positives last season when the Browns went 1-15. He led the team in tackles and finished third in the league with 148.
Kirksey, who made at least nine tackles in 10 games and played all but two defensive snaps last season, would have been eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in March (see full story).
Jets: Forte sees ‘a lot of versatility’ in offense
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Matt Forte is eager to be a bigger part of the New York Jets' offense.
That means running the ball, of course, but also catching more passes out of the backfield -- something he thinks new coordinator John Morton will allow him to do.
"A guy who catches the ball," Forte said Tuesday after practice, "should be involved in the offense on the receiving side of it."
There were times last season that Forte wondered what his role was under former coordinator Chan Gailey. He ran for a career-low 813 yards in his first year with the Jets, but also had just 30 receptions.
While Forte played through a torn meniscus in his right knee that eventually ended his season after 14 games, the dip in his production was also due in large part to Gailey's deployment of personnel.
Forte was mostly used on first and second downs, and then often replaced by Bilal Powell on third downs -- which is typically a passing situation. Forte told NJ Advance Media that the decision by Gailey, who retired after the season, to not use him more on third downs was "odd."
"Last year, I don't think I played really on third downs, which is, like I said, `odd,'" he said. "I went from catching like 100 balls to like 60 and last year, I caught like 30."