Three years into his NFL career, Derek Carr has emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. The Oakland Raiders have benefited from Carr’s rise and rewarded the passer with a contract that set records.
The Raiders gave Carr a five-year, $125 million extension, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. That eclipses the five-year, $122.97 million deal Andrew Luck received from the Indianapolis Colts a year ago.
Luck’s contract smashed records with an average of $24.594 million per year — more than Carson Palmer’s $24.35 million per year — and $87 million in guarantees — well ahead of the $70 million guaranteed received to Von Miller.
Carr has already made two Pro Bowls, improved in each of his three NFL seasons, and led the Raiders to a 12-3 record before a broken leg cost him a chance to lead Oakland in the playoffs.
But Carr’s record-breaking deal is bound to be topped soon.
Washington has until July to negotiate a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins — if they don’t pay him, another team will in free agency next spring — and the Detroit Lions have said that a new contract with Matthew Stafford is a top priority.
"It's going to be whatever it takes, I think, to make it happen from both sides, and whether he becomes the highest-paid or not, it'll be a short-lived designation,” Lions president Ron Wood told ESPN on Tuesday. “As [general manager] Bob [Quinn] said, and I think it's true, if you're in the top whatever of quarterbacks, when your time comes up, your time comes up and then somebody else's time comes up, and they become the highest-[paid player].”
The time has come Carr, and soon it will be Stafford and Cousins. Then it’ll be Marcus Mariota and/or Jameis Winston next year, and the NFL machine will just keep pumping out record contracts for quarterbacks.