Should Derek Carr tell Raiders he’s not signing until after the season?

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In the deadline-driven business that is the NFL, sometimes the deadlines are artificial. The current deadline for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is completely artificial, with Carr hinging the closing of the window to the opening to training camp.

This means that the Raiders likely will move to their bottom-line position not long before training camp opens, putting on the table an offer that will change Carr’s financial fortunes for the rest of his life — and that will shift the injury risk for 2017 back to the team. The offer surely will be much less than what Carr could get after the season, if/when he finishes his contract both healthy and effective.

So here’s a thought for Carr: Instead of tying the conclusion of talks to the start of training camp, why not just say right now, “I’m not going to consider a new deal until after the season”?

If Carr makes it through the year in mostly one piece, he’ll be in a position to secure a market-level deal or something very close to it. Alternatively, he can embark on the Kirk Cousins year-at-a-time franchise-tag dance, with an important twist.

Given that another team would surely pony up a gigantic offer to get Carr and gladly give up two first-round picks to make it happen (the Chiefs and Texans each gave up two first-round picks this year to get unproven quarterbacks), the Raiders would have to use the exclusive franchise tag to keep Carr off the market.

Based on 2017 cap numbers, the exclusive franchise tag would be at least $23.66 million. Come 2019, the 20-percent raise would kick the amount to $28.39 million. For 2020, the 44-percent mandatory increase would move to $40.89 million. That’s a bare minimum of $92.94 million over three years, if Carr is willing to go year-to-year, starting with this year.

The strategy entails risk, and Carr knows that well after breaking his leg on Christmas Eve. But the reward is likely much more than whatever the team will offer Carr right now.

That’s the comparison he needs to make: The ability to make at least $92.94 million from 2018 through 2020 against whatever the Raiders offer him on a long-term deal that will have only so much truly guaranteed money. If he thinks of it in those terms, Carr could be emboldened to drive a hard bargain, including at a minimum an effort to become the first player to tie his compensation in the out years of the deal to the ongoing increase of the salary cap by ensuring that he receives a predetermined percentage of the total cap each year as his overall compensation.

Before Marshawn Lynch joined the Raiders, I argued that the Raiders need Lynch more than Lynch needs the Raiders. That reality applies with even greater force to Carr, a budding franchise quarterback who will carry the franchise to Nevada, where it’s getting $750 million in free money to build a stadium. Carr should treat this business like the business it is and consider the value of waiting when faced with the lure of grabbing something far less than what he’d get if he opts for the year-to-year approach under the franchise tag, or for a shot at the truly open market.

27 responses to “Should Derek Carr tell Raiders he’s not signing until after the season?

  1. Yikes!

    Then he’d really have even more leverage, almost assuring full blown cap hell for years!

    Think Joe Flacco and the Ravens since 2014.

  2. Conner Cook is a better QB than Carr, and Cook only slipped to the 4th round because of scouting errors (similar to Dak Prescott). Cook, like Prescott has plenty of college tape that shows what he can do. Once he gets on the field, he’s probably not coming off. The Raiders might let Carr test free agency. They certainly don’t need to get into a bidding war.

  3. I hate it when you and others always say “this team gave up 2 first round picks” or similar because it’s very misleading. They gave up 2 firsts and received one back…which is a lot different than actually giving up 2 firsts and a giant contract for Carr

  4. Raider Nation, even casual Raider fans know that this is not an issue. Reggie has built this team intelligently and methodically with long term success as the ultimate goal.
    And the reason you don’t hear a denial is because Carr has better things to do than satisfy the curiosity of the media.

  5. This is not an issue. He knows the Raiders will pay him. Its a timing thing. They are probably trying to wait and see when the team will officially move their business operations to Nevada. Or Carr gets residence in Nevada. California state tax of almost 8% vs Nevada 0%. Losing 8 million on a 100 million contract if he signs now in California.

  6. Barring a career ending injury, he will be getting paid no matter what. Even if he ripped his knee up, every team in the division would get his number up fast if the Raiders screwed this up.

    He should reject all offers and bet on himself. It worked out for both Flacco and Cousins. He might want the most, and they may have to give it to him.

  7. The Raiders have wasted Carr the same way the Colts wasted Luck when both teams had them signed on low-paying rookie contracts. Though maybe it’s a bit unfair to compare the two given that Luck actually made the playoffs three years, including one AFC Championship game.

  8. I saw his interview yesterday and I can’t believe what I’ve been reading here.

    He said he wants to be a Raider forever and that if the deal is done soon soon then they’ll deal with it later, because he doesn’t want it to be a distraction.

  9. What part of “I want to be a Raider for life” and Reggie saying “we’ll do what we need to in order to get a deal done”, does PFT NOT understand?

    Constantly drawing out something that isn’t even there to begin with.

  10. Yeah, Carr could hold out for $92.94 million by going year to year. Or he could think about Teddy Bridgewater dropping back to pass in a non-contact drill and having his leg nearly severed at the knee. There’s a reason why it makes sense to take less money in exchange for security.

  11. Seems like a guy coming off of a busted leg would want to sign a contract before the season began.

    Most NFL players have very little leverage in contract negotiations.

  12. The problem with the ‘3-year franchise as basis for guaranteed money’ argument is that it leaves less for the other players. If Oakland weren’t spending to the cap then fair enough but does it really build team spirit so see a QB taking up almost 20% of the cap?

  13. The Raiders have wasted Carr the same way the Colts wasted Luck when both teams had them signed on low-paying rookie contracts. Though maybe it’s a bit unfair to compare the two given that Luck actually made the playoffs three years, including one AFC Championship game.
    —————————————————-

    Yeah, maybe Carr should go dominate one of the weakest divisions in football. Pretty tough having to battle the Titans and Jags 4 times a year.

  14. This is a complete non-issue.! There is no doubt whatsoever his deal is going to done.

    It is not as simple as, here is 6 years and $130 million dollars. You have to figure out what you are going to give and when you are going to give it. Reggie is smart enough to structure the deal to keep the salary cap in mind along with the fact he has to do deals for Mack and Cooper in the next two years. Add to that the pending move to Vegas and the tax implications that go along with it.

    It’s like looking at a draft board and instead of which player to take in which round you are trying to decide which amount to pay in which year.

  15. well let just say he does….Raiders would only pay him his 1 million this year. They could then tag him for approx 20 million the following season.(no need to use the exclusive tag, just match another offer)…two seasons at an avg of 10.5 million per….benefits the raiders…..then you could tag him again and add the 20% for approx 24 million- now you get 3 seasons for 44 million at an avg of 14.6 for those three years, which still benefits the raiders…..the entire time it’s the raiders in the driver seat, and nothing Carr can do about it if he wants to do as you suggest. That same year then in 2020 Carr could be a free agent along with Aaron Rogers, Big Ben, Eli, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and your own Connor Cook. (Plus you can what Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, etc got paid in 2019 when they were UFA)…

    As I have stated Carr would be smart to sign a 6 year deal for approx 120 million.

    Go Raiders!!!!!

  16. well let just say he does….Raiders would only pay him his 1 million this year. They could then tag him for approx 20 million the following season.(no need to use the exclusive tag, just match another offer)…two seasons at an avg of 10.5 million per….benefits the raiders…..then you could tag him again and add the 20% for approx 24 million- now you get 3 seasons for 44 million at an avg of 14.6 for those three years, which still benefits the raiders…..the entire time it’s the raiders in the driver seat, and nothing Carr can do about it if he wants to do as you suggest.
    __________________________________
    Pull this crap on the face of your team and we will sit out!

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