If the offseason quotes weren’t enough already, the Raiders just delivered a definitive statement on the future of Derek Carr.
Carr and the Raiders have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension worth $121.5 million, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday. Carr’s extension runs through the 2025 season and includes a no-trade clause, per Rapoport and Garafolo. The team later announced the extension.
“I’ve only wanted to be a Raider,” Derek Carr said in a press conference. “And I told my agent, I said ‘I’m either going to be a Raider or I’m going to be playing golf, like I don’t want to be playing anywhere else.’ That’s how much this place means to me.”
Derek Carr is set to earn an average of $40.5 million per year under his new extension, ranking fifth among all quarterbacks in average annual salary. It’s a number that might surprise those who don’t view Derek Carr as an elite quarterback, but it’s money well spent for the Raiders, who watched Derek Carr set the franchise’s single-season record for passing yards (4,804) in 2021, breaking the previous mark set by Rich Gannon in his NFL MVP-winning 2002 season.
Still, it’s a contract that should allow the Raiders to maintain salary cap flexibility going forward, which was not lost on new head coach Josh McDaniels.
“What he did, and what we were willing to come to terms on, I think shows you he is significantly invested in this place, this organization, and helping us in anyway that he can to try to win,” McDaniels said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore.
The price of good-but-not-elite quarterback play has risen in accordance with the most lucrative deals handed to the league’s top signal-callers. In the pass-first NFL, the rise in compensation makes logical sense, and those who watched Carr in 2021 will agree that it was wise for Las Vegas to secure Carr’s services beyond the final year of his existing contract.
Those who disagree might want to take some time to review the quarterback’s recent performance. Carr finished in the top eight in completion percentage (64.8), passing yards per game (282.6) and passing yards per attempt (7.7). His passer rating of 94 fell below previous marks set in 2020 (101.4) and 2019 (100.8), but when considering the circumstances under which Carr operated — including the in-season departures of his head coach and top receiver — Carr’s play was, in fact, excellent.
Las Vegas overcame such adversity to reach the playoffs thanks to a frantic, late-season push that included last-second wins over Cleveland, Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Chargers in the season’s final month. The Raiders simply do not reach Super Wild Card Weekend without Carr, a quarterback who has proven to be significantly more efficient as a passer over the last four seasons, increasing his combined completion percentage, passing yards per game, yards per attempt and passer rating in 2018-2021 in comparison to 2014-2017.
Derek Carr has the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL since 2018
ranking behind only Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, and even outperforming the 2020 and 2021 NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers. And Carr has been consistently available, standing as one of only seven quarterbacks to start 115 or more games since he was drafted in 2014.
Carr might not be elite, but he’s certainly playing at a level near that class of quarterbacks.
After multiple offseasons spent wondering about the quarterback’s future with the Silver and Black, the new Las Vegas leadership duo of Dave Ziegler and McDaniels made sure to eliminate any uncertainty regarding Carr by locking him up well beyond 2022.
We can retire such speculation on Carr’s long-term outlook with the Raiders for now. All that’s left is for the quarterback to begin rekindling his rapport with his former Fresno State running mate, star receiver Davante Adams. If they can pick up where they left off in college, the duo might finally lead the Raiders to their first playoff win since the 2002 AFC Championship Game.
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“My agent, myself, and the team, we made sure guys like Chandler (Jones), guys like Davante, guys like hopefully Hunter (Renfrow), and Foster (Moreau), all those guys can stay here,” Carr said. “The way we structured it, I went through a heartbreak already the last time I signed my contract. My best friend (Khalil Mack) left, and I didn’t want that to happen ever again.
“So this was an opportunity for me to prove to the team, to the organization, to our fans, that the way we’re going to structure this is so that we can keep everybody together and really have continuity, have something to build on.”