In Light of His Play This Year, Derek Carr’s Contract With the Raiders Doesn’t Necessarily Benefit the Team or the Player

Unless he’s been hiding in a hole without internet, Derek Carr has spent the last two years hearing about how the Raiders are trying to trade him. All the while, GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have mostly danced around questions regarding Carr’s future with the team, offering only soft reassurances to the media about Carr’s long-term status with the team.

In February of this year, Mayock talked about how much the team liked Carr’s contract and the flexibility it gave them because their starting quarterback wasn’t guaranteed money moving forward. What he was basically saying is that the Raiders could (and still can) cut or trade Carr with minimal consequences to their salary cap.

Now almost a year since Mayock’s comments about Carr’s deal, no one is asking how Carr fits into the team’s future – and therefore it doesn’t necessarily benefit the Raiders to have a trade-friendly deal with their starting quarterback. Carr is playing as well as any quarterback in the league and that means the Raiders have a new reason to be excited about his contract: $21.5 million per year (roughly) over the next three years is suddenly looking like a huge bargain. At the moment there are 14 quarterbacks in the NFL who are making more than Carr on a per-year basis.

It might be fine with Carr to not be among the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, but will he be fine without the financial guarantees left in his deal?

Will Carr be content with the fact that the Raiders share very little of the financial risk if he were to suffer a serious injury?

As it concerns the organization, the Raiders should actually be ready to make a financial commitment to Carr and convert some of his future earnings into bonus money (which wouldn’t count against the salary cap). This would guarantee Carr’s future with the team while most likely lowering his immediate salary cap figure – just as the Chiefs were able to do with Patrick Mahomes, who has a cap number of $5.3 million this year.

Should Carr decide to push for a new deal, the first negotiating point should be Mayock’s words from a year ago. Everyone knows Carr’s deal strongly favors the team (as mentioned, particularly in terms of it’s friendly trade structure) and if he is the team’s franchise quarterback, both sides would benefit from a contract extension. The Raiders don’t need the dead money flexibility to cut or trade Carr, but they possibly will need the salary cap room next year with the league expected to reduce the overall salary cap for each team.

Whatever direction the team decides to go with Carr’s contract, the leverage is technically no longer with the team. Yes, they have him under contract for two more years, but the option to move on from Carr really isn’t there anymore. If the sides were to dig in on a contract negotiation and Carr somehow missed games, who would take the bigger hit?

At this point, definitely the team.

twitter: @raidersbeat


19 thoughts on “In Light of His Play This Year, Derek Carr’s Contract With the Raiders Doesn’t Necessarily Benefit the Team or the Player

  1. I’d still trade him for a No. 1 pick next year + a No. 2 – then bundle to trade up and go fetch Trevor Lawrence of Clemson. Carr will never take them to the promised land. Playoffs go so far, but Super Bowl wins create dynasties – Carr is great, but not superior

    1. You are an idiot. Carr IS a franchise QB. They never tried to trade him. If they had he would have been taken by a number of teams. If you add the out of game strengths of him there are almost none like him. Think of a younger, taller Brees with half his career ahead of him.

    2. And that is why you are not an NFL GM. That would be an idiotic move on SOOOO many accounts. 1, Carr is an elite QB who isn’t even 30 yet. You know for a fact moving forward that you are getting top tier QB play, which is vital for team success in the NFL.

      2, Lawrence is a longshot to even be half the QB Carr is. If you don’t believe me, look at all the top 5 QB picks that have busted out. Drafting Lawrence does not guarantee you have a QB better than Carr, and that doesn’t even get into the years of development he will need before finding out the answer. Stupid move.

      3, no team is going to be winning to give up the #1 pick it would take to draft him w/o insane draft capital, ESPECIALLY if Raiders make the playoffs. Their pick will likely be in the 20-32 range, meaning no blue chippers left. It would take 3 1st rounders in that range just to get into the top 5, which all but ruins the Raiders ability to build for the future.

      This is seriously the dumbest take I have ever seen. Be grateful Raiders are lucky enough to have found a top 5 QB who actually wants to play for them. There’s 2 dozen other teams who aren’t so lucky, and go decades w/o competent QB play.

  2. I’d still trade him for a No. 1 pick next year + a No. 2 – then bundle to trade up and go fetch Trevor Lawrence of Clemson. Carr will never take them to the promised land. Playoffs go so far, but Super Bowl wins create dynasties – Carr is great, but not superior

  3. Carr will be a career Raider! He deserves it! He’s played exceptionally well for 7 seasons now despite the revolving door of head coaches and offensive coordinators! Finally under the stability of being in the same offense for 3 years , Carr has elevated himself to elite status and that with a myriad of injuries along the offensive line! It would behoove Gruden and Mayock to structure an extension for Carr and continue to pour the savings into the defense! The D is what’s holding back the Raiders from being a good team into being a perennial contender for the Super Bowl like New England did around Brady during their reign of Championships!

  4. I have not been much of a Carr fan, he has had some flashes of being really good but some how comes up short. When I see all the coaching and player changes around him it’s not surprising to see his struggles, it would be really tough for most quarterbacks. And now after a few years of stability he is looking really really good. I think he can take them to the Super Bowl. I am definitely his fan.

  5. I would get rid of Carr in a heart beat. The reason why, he isn’t a closer with 2 minutes left in the game. His 22 or so closing drives over 6 years or so gave this team less than the opportunities he missed on. As a Raider fan of 61 years this guy will NEVER bring us a Super Bowl.

    1. Carr has stepped up his play this year in a way that is every bit as good as it was before he broke his leg a few years back. He led the team to a game leading touchdow against the Chiefs last Sunday night. It was the defense that couldn’t hold the lead that caused the loss. not Carr’s performance at quarterback. Of course im not sure who can stop mahomes in the last 90 seconds of the game ! I like you have been a lifelong Raider fan through the good, bad and the ugly. Carr will do what his offense needs out of him. However, without a top ten defense to hold the other team in the final minutes, it may be difficult to win a super bowl.

  6. Get off Carr’s back and focus on the Raiders real problem and has been for Grudens entire time the Raiders DEFENCE.. The draft guru wasted there 1st round pick on Ferrel. The offence is putting winning numbers on the board, the defence falls short even in the games they win

  7. I don’t know at this point. Derek is playing lights out ball right now. I still think he misses too many open guys and holds the ball too long and doesn’t run when the play breaks down. Despite that I do believe he is playing his best ball now. I think the light has finally come on with him that every time he walks on the field that he believes he is the best player on the field. He was always lacking that. Now he believes he belongs at the table. I think it about time!! We will go as far as he and the defense takes us

  8. Leave my QB and my team alone. You’re not a RAIDER so don’t worry about RAIDER business.

  9. Some people just never learn. Carr has shown to know this offense fully and can make plays with the offensive weapons the team has finally provided. The Carr haters are very dificult to eliminate or make them go away.

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