According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal in which Carr will make roughly $25 million per season. While the details are still unofficial, this extension is all but signed already. Throughout the 2016-17 season, there was speculation that Carr would be the first quarterback to ever make $25 million on an annual basis, but now that the time has come, are the Raiders jumping the gun too quickly?
Last season, the five highest quarterbacks in the NFL happened to be Andrew Luck ($24.594 mill), Carson Palmer ($24.35 mill), Drew Brees ($24.25 mill), Kirk Cousins ($23.943 mill), and Joe Flacco ($22.133 mill). Combined, the aforementioned quarterbacks lead their franchises to a regular season of 38-40-2 in 2016. On top of this, no quarterback ranked within the top five in terms of salary made the playoffs last season, questioning whether or not the front offices overpaid for their current men under center.
In terms of Derek Carr, he was unlike most quarterbacks last season, as he showed consistent flashes throughout the regular season. In 2016, Carr finished with 3,937 passing yards (14th in the NFL), 28 TDs (7th), and 6 INTs (4th among qualified starters). Carr went on to lead the franchise to a 12-4 regular season record, clinching their first playoff birth since 2002. This was all of course before Carr broke his right fibula against the Indianapolis Colts late in December, ending the Raiders chances at potential postseason success.
Of course, Derek Carr is viewed as the franchise quarterback for a team that is scheduled to leave the city of Oakland, and onto Las Vegas in the near future. Is this solely about the numbers that Carr has put up over the last three seasons, or is a sense of security for the fans playing a role in this situation?
There is no hiding the fact that running back Marshawn Lynch will likely retire once again after his two-year deal expires, but how can a franchise in Las Vegas reel in fans if Derek Carr leaves as well? The Raiders are essentially forced to overpay for Carr, simply because he is viewed as the centerpiece of a franchise that is within a transition stage.
Carr has been elected to two Pro-Bowls in his three years in the NFL, so he is worth roughly $15+ million annually in my eyes. Last season, Carr was scheduled to make $977,519 in 2017, but wished to complete an extension before training camp began in order to avoid any further distractions.
All in all, I have a hard time believing that Carr is worth $25 million per season. He has proven himself to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but coming off of an injury such as his, the Raiders have put all of their eggs into a 26-year old basket.
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