Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Jun 2017

Derek Carr Signs Five-Year, $125 Million Extension

The best-paid player in the NFL is never the best player in the NFL. It's the good quarterback who most recently needed a new contract. That's now Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders, who has signed a five-year, $125 million extension. We have a lot of arguments around here about how good Carr is. He ranked sixth in pass DVOA last year but has the benefit of good receivers and a fantastic offensive line. His 7.0 yards per attempt is not particularly great, and he suffers in ESPN's QBR because he throws so many short passes. But it's hard to argue with the idea that Derek Carr is an above-average NFL starting quarterback, even if you think he's 14th or 15th instead of an MVP candidate. And teams just don't want to let an above-average starting quarterback go because you have no idea what you'll be replacing him with. And so, Derek Carr has now passed Andrew Luck as the best-paid player in the NFL.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 22 Jun 2017

20 comments, Last at 23 Jun 2017, 4:33pm by coboney


by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:25pm

If you use the same cost benefit analysis we did for free agents earlier this offseason and stuck Carr's numbers in, it would imply that he's worth about $22.3 million a season -- so, a slight over-pay.


It doesn't take into account some other things-- this isn't a free agency deal. Maybe you can think of the extra $2.7 million of a "sign now and don't make us have to chase you on the open market after next year" bonus.

So, this isn't exactly a VALUE deal or anything like that, but considering the going rate for young above-average QBs, it's hard for me to argue with the numbers.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:33pm

The price of QBs ain't coming down unless something drastic happens to the passing rules. An extra $2.7 million when the cap is constantly going upwards is peanuts in QB terms. I doubt he even plays out this five year deal before getting a (bigger) contract extension.

by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:36pm

You'd think there'd have to EVENTUALLY be some sort of ceiling, but the deals have shown no signs of stopping so far!

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:54pm

Indeed, there has to be one somewhere because you can't pay 100% of cap to the QB.

But ... while the salary cap is going up, the QBs contracts will go up.

So is the percentage of cap paid to QB increasing or remaining fairly static?

Edit: according to Spotrac ... 2016 - 10.88%, 2015 - 9.08%, 2014 - 8.94%, 2013 - 8.11%.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 3:18pm

Yes, and we're going to have this exact same discussion when Matt Stafford signs an even bigger extension before the end of the summer.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:59pm

Peyton Manning's 2004 extension would be 7 years, $210M, w/ a $72M signing bonus cap adjusted for today.

Michael Vick's 2004 extension would be 10 years, $270M, w/ $76M guaranteed.

Luck got 6 years, $140M, $47M guaranteed.
Carr got 5 years, $125M, $40M guaranteed.

Quarterbacks are getting paid less now, not more.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 1:02pm

Actually, scratch that, Manning would be 7, $223, $79M guaranteed - his was 2003 league year (and $75M cap instead of $81M)

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 3:09pm

It's an interesting point and would be good to see a bigger exploration of this whole topic.

The only counter I can give to that is the longer you make a contract the easier it is to inflate the numbers knowing it'll never be seen out. For example, Peyton restructured after winning the SB in 2006-07.

Certainly contracts used to be backloaded with massive numbers in the final year so that a player got the prestige of being highest paid in the league but was never going to get paid it. I'd imagine that's what happened with Vick and his 10 years!

Seems to have gone the other way round now with lots of guaranteed money in the early years so a team can cut a player earlier if needs be.

by coboney :: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 4:33pm

Another point to consider is that this is an extension - so yes its 5 new years at 125mill - but it overall comes out to 6 years at 127 mill effectively which makes it less big.

And ya Manning's contract from then was huge.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:30pm

Of all the AFC teams last year it seemed to me that Oakland were the only ones that could have challenged New England.

I actually couldn't tell you what his conventional stats were but as an integral part of that offense they moved the ball, I don't believe he did anything to hold it back or raise significant doubts.

So even if he's not worth top dollar they'd have been crazy to get themselves into a situation like Denver or Washington.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 3:17pm

"So even if he's not worth top dollar they'd have been crazy to get themselves into a situation like Denver or Washington."

Exactly. This is why Washington's behavior with Kirk Cousins continues to mystify me.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 5:05pm

Indeed. I happened to read Mike Tanier's article about that yesterday so it was fresh in my mind.


by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 6:11am

Tanier, as usual, cogently lays it out. It's funny how Washington keeps spending more money just so they can put off making the inevitable decision. If they let Cousins hit free agency and end up not being able to afford him, then what? Let's say they replace him with some JAG or Hoyer-type veteran journeyman. It's not like they'll crater like the 2011 Colts and end up with a top 5 pick. They have enough good players on offense that they'll end up on a 7-9 treadmill for several years....not contending, yet not being bad enough to get a good pick and draft one of the top QB prospects.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:05pm

well that was what wrote below. ball was moved eben if lot of ball movement was from dink and sink styek passing. ypa figure not egart for Carr. but if watch Raiders games, you see good quality quaertback play.

demver borncos no idea what they are doignm anymore at quartevback position. Washington squirrels lost in clouids too

by Dave Bernreuther :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:48pm

You'd have liked a pre-McGloin Raiders team over the Chiefs?

I thought KC's defense was probably the only shot at keeping the Patriots out of the Super Bowl last year, which made that injury and the seed-shuffling it led to a godsend for the Pats.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 5:08pm

Good question. Saying "only AFC team" was wrong. But I didn't see much chance for Houston, Pittsburgh, Denver or the other East/South/North teams.

We've seen KC and NE match up before. Those games have gone either way but Pats won the previous year in the playoffs. Certainly KC wouldn't be definitively outclassed but I'd have more confidence that NE's defense would shut down KC's offense and therefore the Pats would be able to score enough points to get past the Chiefs.

Whereas the Raiders represented an unknown quantity against the Patriots. No idea whether the Pats defense could shut down the Oakland offense. Raider defense was leaky all season but their success wasn't built on that. They won shootouts so it would have been fun to see.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 6:19pm

chief swould have lost to Pates 27-17 por something. would have had slow 11 minute dribve end in incomplete p[ass with like 1:41 remaining. Pates would have gotten ball and ran out clock.

If Raiders with hgelthy D. Carr played Pates in layoffs, score would have been Raiders 34, Pates 31. very good offensive battle with Raiders proving better in end.Best thing to happen to 2016 Pates was inju7ry to Carr.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:01pm

D. Carr trmeneouds quarterback. of coruse, ypa low but under currnent nfl rules and stuff it is ok. wish nfl ion general was more about long tossing. tooo much dink and funk. Carr is good at the dink and dink and some can set up the logn ball. some donk and dunk is lamost like running plats anyway when you relaly look at it and think abnotu it and stuff.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:27pm

Don't know how anyone could think this was a bad deal for anyone involved. Carr at this point appears to have a floor of "pretty good", and, in a few years after Stafford, Cousins, Mariota, Ryan, and Winston have been paid, $25 million/year is going to seem like a bargain.

by Dan :: Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:06pm

Seems reasonable.