Although not many long-term NFL contracts result in every check being cashed by the player, cornerback Brandon Carr accomplished that feat in Dallas, making all of his five-year, $50.1 million deal. That may not happen with his new four-year deal in Baltimore.
The structure shows that it’s a one-year, $6 million contract with a team-held option for each of the next three years of what could be a four-year, $23 million contract.
The good news for Carr is that the team must make its decision for the next league year by the end of the prior league year, which would put him on the market early. The bad news is that, if the team picks up the option each year, there’s a chance he’s outperforming the contract. If he’s underperforming, the Ravens won’t keep him.
That’s why the better approach would be to just do a one-year deal. Of course, the team has some say in the structure; the Ravens possibly mandated the ability to keep Carr on a year-to-year basis in lieu of signing him to a one-year deal. Still, if enough players and agents pushed hard enough for shorter-term contracts, plenty of teams would have to drop the year-to-year options and do one- or two-year deals that allow the players to get back to the market sooner than later.
With the cap going up by $10 million or more per year — and with the Management Council likely leaning on teams to not pay players based on a percentage of the salary cap — it’s in the best interests of most players to not tie themselves to any team for a long period of time.