Derek Carr’s contract is approaching expiration. As far as the Las Vegas Raiders go, they have some tough choices to make about their franchise quarterback.
There’s heavy debate among Raider Nation whether to extend Carr to a long-term deal. What should the Raiders do? They should offer their veteran signal-caller a contract extension.
Here are four reasons the Raiders should extend their quarterback.
Keep the Raiders QB off the market
The first reason the Raiders should extend ‘4’ is to prevent him from testing the market as a free agent.
Free agency is notoriously expensive. If you want to snag a franchise quarterback in free agency, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. Waiting to extend Carr would launch him into a robust group of passers.
Notable 2023 Free Agent QBs:
- Kirk Cousins
- Josh Allen
- Baker Mayfield
- Tom Brady
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Matthew Stafford
Those are some pretty impressive names. Teams will be itching to get a crack at this pool of quarterbacks, and they’ll pay any amount they need to lock one down.
Carr might not be on the level of a Josh Allen (who isn’t going anywhere) but the money will be flowing in the offseason. Extend Carr before 2022 so you don’t have to contend with inflated free-agent contracts.
Derek Carr would have a cheaper deal
Speaking of inflated contracts.
NFL quarterbacks get more expensive every year. It’s not just the quarterbacks, the NFL salary cap seems to grow each year with lucrative television deals. The longer you wait to sign a player, the more expensive he may become down the road.
Quarterbacks get paid the most.
If the free-agent list above is any indication, contracts are set to explode. The most recent crop of quarterback deals carry some hefty averages:
- Patrick Mahomes – $45M/yr
- Deshaun Watson – $39M/yr
- Dak Prescott – $40M/yr
- Kirk Cousins – $33M/yr
Of course, some of those are for the top guys in the league. The average yearly figure is still higher than Jared Goff’s $33.5M/yr average deal; which at the time was record-breaking itself.
Does Josh Allen get $45M? Does Kirk Cousins finesse $40M from Minnesota? Carr would command a similar deal to Cousins so it’s not outlandish to expect $40 million for ‘4.’
Carr is currently a bargain at an average of $25 million per year. Extend him now to keep the contract closer to a maximum of $35 million.
Jon Gruden trusts Derek Carr
Jon Gruden puts a lot of pressure on quarterbacks. His reputation favoring veterans is rooted in the belief that younger quarterbacks have a hard time mastering his verbose system. So a young gun isn’t always the best idea; especially with the clock ticking on the Raiders’ Super Bowl window.
Gruden believes in Derek Carr. The Raiders should re-sign him to build on that trust.
The last quarterback to have success playing for Gruden was Rich Gannon, and there are some similarities to their progress in this offensive system.
With the Raiders having missed the playoffs in each of Gruden’s seasons since his return, there isn’t much reason to retrain a new quarterback while the team rebuilds again.
Extend Carr and tie his contract to Gruden’s.
The Raiders do not have a backup plan
The last reason why the Raiders should re-sign Carr: there is simply no backup plan available that makes sense for a competing team.
The Raiders feature Marcus Mariota and Nathan Peterman as backup quarterbacks. While Mariota looked good filling in for Carr against the Chargers, it’s unclear whether he can lead the team long-term any better than Derek.
He’s on a team-friendly deal right now. That won’t sustain if he is chosen to replace Carr. So you’ll pay close to Carr’s deal right now without the production.
Peterman is a 3-14 season waiting to happen, so that won’t work. The only way to get a replacement is to draft a rookie or overpay a free agent. Given the Raider’s recent draft record that might not be such a good idea.
Extend Carr and secure your team financially and competitively.
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*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images