Derek Carr Explains How Renfrow & Waller Affected Contract Decision

hunter renfrow

Getty Hunter Renfrow with Darren Waller and Derek Carr.

It’s been a rocky road since Derek Carr signed his first contract extension with the Raiders after the 2016 season. Since then, the team has made the playoffs once and Carr is going to have his fourth head coach. The losing ways aren’t all his fault as the team has mostly been a mess. The Raiders finally showed some real grit last season and made the playoffs.

General manager Dave Ziegler knew that Carr was going to need a new contract when he took the job and though the team took care of defensive end Maxx Crosby first, the quarterback finally landed on a three-year extension worth $121.5 million. The deal makes him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Carr is only set to make $25 million in 2022 and $33 million in 2023, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. That will give the Raiders plenty of money to sign players like Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to new contracts. A year after Carr signed his first extension with the team, they traded away Khalil Mack, who was his closest friend on the team. He wanted to make sure he wouldn’t have to see more close friends go because of his contract.

“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 at his post-signing press conference. “The way we structured it, I went through a heartbreak already the last time I signed my contract. My best friend [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.”

Carr also mentioned that Waller was a player he kept in mind.

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Raiders in Better Position to Extend Renfrow & Restructure Waller

With Carr, Crosby and Davante Adams all happy with their contracts, the focus now turns to Renfrow and Waller. The Pro Bowl slot receiver is entering the final year of his contract. The Raiders might wait until after the season and hit him the franchise tag. There’s no way they’re going to let him walk in free agency. If he puts together another Pro Bowl season, Renfrow could command something in the $14 to $20 million a year range.

Waller is locked under contract through 2023 but he signed that deal before he broke out. Last year, he hired Klutch Sports to represent him. They can’t be thrilled that he’s making just $7.45 million a year. It looked like it would be difficult to pay Waller, Renfrow, Carr and Adams big money but the quarterback’s willingness to sign a team-friendly deal will make it more possible.

Carr Receives Low Signing Bonus

With the Raiders signing Carr, they could’ve opened up some more cap space to use on free agents now. However, he’s only receiving a $7.5 million signing bonus, which won’t give the team much money to work with, per Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

The Raiders are likely tight on cash after giving big money to Adams, Jones and Crosby in recent months. The point of signing Carr wasn’t to open up a bunch of money now so this is a sign that the team isn’t looking to make any more splashes in free agency.

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