Derek Carr has established himself as a legitimate franchise quarterback after three years in the NFL, and the Oakland Raiders rewarded him by making Carr the league’s highest-paid player. Carr and the Raiders agreed on a new deal worth $125 million over five years, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Raiders made it official on Friday, locking down Carr through 2022.
The deal also comes with more than $70 million in guarantees, according to Rapoport. Carr’s new contract is a record breaker — eclipsing the five-year, $122.97 million deal received by Andrew Luck — but doesn’t match the $87 million guaranteed given to Luck.
Still, Carr was understandably pleased with his new deal.
Now it's done ! From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) June 22, 2017
Carr was set to be a free agent after his rookie contract expired in 2018, and he made it clear that he wanted a new deal done before training camp started, going so far as to say “I wouldn’t answer my phone” and just playing out the rest of his current contract.
When NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan asked Carr about what he makes of the reports that he’s mad that the contract isn't done, he said, “that’s a tough deal.”
“It’s a business thing. Obviously, all the players want it done. Having to answer questions from teammates, ‘hey, what’s the deal,’ and all this. I have nothing to tell them. There’s nothing done yet. That’s the hardest part for me is just my teammates having to answer the questions.”
Carr said he doesn't want to be a distraction to his team or to anyone in the organization. He said both sides know he wants to be a “Raider for life.” Once training camp starts, Carr said his focus is all on football. He hoped both sides would come to an agreement before training camp, so his teammates can focus on winning and not have to answer questions about his contract situation.
Fortunately, both sides came to an agreement in time, so Carr will be staying in Oakland (and eventually Las Vegas) for the long haul.
Carr gave Raiders much-needed stability under center
The Raiders selected Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, still looking for a long-term answer at quarterback years after JaMarcus Russell flamed out. He managed to win the Week 1 starting job and played all 16 games his rookie year. Carr’s first-year stats weren’t much to write home about — he averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt and completed 58.1 percent of his passes — but he showed enough poise and command of the offense to convince the Raiders he was worth keeping as a starter.
In 2015, the Raiders surrounded Carr with upgraded weapons by drafting Amari Cooper and signing Michael Crabtree. He responded with a huge improvement in his numbers — the YPA jumped up to 7.0, his completion percentage improved to 61.1, and he threw 32 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. The Raiders still missed the playoffs, but Carr proved that he’s the real deal as a franchise quarterback.
Thanks to Carr, Oakland got over the hump in 2016
2016 was Carr’s best season to date, in which he established himself as one of the league’s better quarterbacks. In 15 games, he threw 28 touchdowns to six interceptions, leading one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league and engineering a number of impressive comeback wins. Tied 24-24 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime last season, Carr orchestrated a five-play, 60-yard drive, capping it off with a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
The Raiders went 12-3 during his starts and clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2002. Under Carr’s leadership, the Raiders finished sixth in the league in yards per game and seventh in points scored, averaging 26 points per game. Carr also earned the second Pro Bowl berth of his career.
Unfortunately, Carr was unable to lead his team into the playoffs — he suffered a broken leg in Week 16 and missed the rest of the season. With rookie Connor Cook under center, the Raiders lost their spark on offense and got blown out by the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round.
Sky’s the limit if Carr stays healthy
It was a bitter end to the season, but Carr’s recovery has been right on schedule. He was a full participant in OTAs and should be ready to go for training camp if there are no setbacks. The Raiders also gave him some more weapons to work with, signing tight end Jared Cook and luring running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. With a healthy Carr back under center, Oakland’s offense looks to be one of the best in the league once again.
The Raiders spent over a decade looking for a legitimate quarterback, and they finally found their man in Carr. Still only 26 years old, Carr should help keep Oakland in playoff contention for the foreseeable future.