In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Philadelphia Eagles just gave a massive contract extension to their quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz will be making 32-million dollars a year once the extension kicks in, which will make him the fourth-highest paid quarterback in the league on an annual basis behind Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr held the title of highest-paid quarterback in the league for a brief time in what seems like an eternity ago. His reign was very short lived as the Detroit Lions gave their quarterback Matthew Stafford an even bigger contract a couple of months later. Now, just two years later, Carr has fallen to ninth on the list. Russell Wilson sits atop the list with the absurd contract extension the Seahawks gave him earlier this offseason.
Carson Wentz and Derek Carr share some similarities. Both quarterbacks got injured during MVP campaigns that would’ve seen them lead their teams into the playoffs. Also, both suffered down years after their injuries. Regardless of injury concerns, both teams rewarded their quarterbacks with massive contracts, but in hindsight, the Carr contract isn’t all too tantalizing. However, unlikely as it might be, if Carr were to flop in 2019, the Raiders could cut him with very little repercussions. For all of his faults, former general manager Reggie McKenzie did a good job structuring Carr’s contract. At best, the Raiders have a top quarterback locked in at a discount until 2023. At worst, they cut Carr and take a small cap hit. Indications in Oakland are that Carr is poised for a return to form in 2019, but the Raiders are unpredictable. If Carr struggles even just slightly, it’s hard to know what head coach Jon Gruden will want to do with him at season’s end.
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Return to MVP Form?
Notions of Derek Carr’s decline are exaggerated to say the least. Pro Football Focus rated him the best deep ball thrower in the NFL for 2018 and his numbers improved as the season wore on, despite the fact that the Raiders were littered with injuries and Gruden traded away his top wideout Amari Cooper. Another year in Gruden’s notoriously difficult offense should make things much easier for the quarterback.
The Raiders also spent much of the season giving Carr all the weapons he could ever need to thrive. With Antonio Brown in town, expect Carr’s numbers to look a lot more like they did in 2016. Don’t count out Tyrell Williams as he is an excellent deep threat and will give Carr an opportunity to show off that deep ball accuracy.
The offensive line also got a facelift with the additions of Trent Brown and Richie Incognito. A safe Carr is a happy Carr as he’s shown in years past. All signs are pointing to Carr’s contract being a steal for years to come as quarterback contract records will likely keep getting broken for years to come.