It’s only a matter of days before the Las Vegas Raiders have to make a final decision on Derek Carr. $40.4 million of contract guarantees kick in on February 15 and the team has not allowed the quarterback to speak to other teams about a trade quite yet. Carr has said he will not be extending the deadline for his contract guarantees so things are trending toward him getting released outright.
Carr doesn’t seem to have any problem with that as going to free agency would allow him to pick any team he’d like. However, there is risk involved. He has a very good contract right now and he might not get the same contract in free agency. The Athletic’s Mike Sando spoke to executives around the NFL who aren’t convinced that Carr will get the payday he wants. In fact, one executive Sando spoke to believes that Carr’s contract could be a “tipping point” for mid-tier quarterbacks getting paid.
“I am fascinated by Carr because I think he may be the first person who suffers from, ‘I am not paying a mediocre QB,’ ” an exec from a team with an established quarterback told Sando. “I think Carr is more likely to be Nick Foles than Kirk Cousins. Foles got an OK deal with the Jags, but nothing earth-shattering even at the time. When you look at the landing spots, who is going to go pay Derek Carr $30 million?”
Could Carr Lose Money Not Allowing a Trade?
Carr holds a no-trade clause and isn’t willing to extend his deadline. He has all the power to force the Raiders to cut him without a trade happening. He’s likely jaded by the way the team benched him with two games left in the season. He has no reason to help them out.
However, he could be hurting himself in the process. By the Raiders not allowing him to speak to other teams, he’s not able to know if there are teams willing to pay him the $40.5 million a year Las Vegas was going to. Once he hits free agency, teams will be bidding against each other to sign him but the starting price might not be very high. It’s possible he comes out of free agency making significantly less than he was supposed to. The Raiders aren’t moving on from him for no reason. He didn’t play well in 2022. If what the executives that Sando has spoken to are correct, Carr might be better off being more flexible with the Raiders.
Carr’s Contract Could Have NFL-Wide Ramifications
If Carr becomes a free agent and isn’t able to land a big contract, that would signal a dramatic shift in the NFL. Quarterbacks have been getting paid big money for years regardless of if they’re elite. Teams are so desperate for average to above-average quarterback play that they are willing to risk money on them. One executive believes that what Carr and fellow free agent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo end up getting could have ramifications all over the NFL.
“What happens with Carr and Garoppolo is going to be instructive to what Kirk Cousins should expect on the open market,” this exec said. “It’s going to either scare Minnesota into doing another deal, like they did last year, or Kirk Cousins is finally going to fail in the business of football.”