Oakland Raiders are wise to splash $125 million extension on quarterback Derek Carr

Statistics and results show the young quarterback merits being the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Steve Brenner
by Steve Brenner
25th June 2017

article:25th June 2017

Keys to the Carr: Derek Carr. Picture: Getty Images.
Keys to the Carr: Derek Carr. Picture: Getty Images.

No wonder Derek Carr was smiling.

The man who, for the time being anyway, is now the best paid player in the NFL was asked what celebrations were in order.


Ferrari? Mansion? Private jet?

“I am going to Chick-Fil-A,” said the 28-year-old Oakland Raiders quarterback. “And I will get my wife something nice.

“She still gets coupons. She gets online and tries to find discounts. None of that’s going to change.”

You can buy a fair few burgers off the back of a $125 million, five- year deal.

In the NFL, unlike the NBA, players announce multi-year contracts but know at the end of year two, nothing is cast iron. Break clauses are inserted. Injury fears rule front office heads.

Carr will make $25m for 2017 ($12.5m signing bonus, his $7.5m roster bonus plus his $5m salary).

The roster bonus is doubled next year and is guaranteed but a $2m increase on his base salary won’t be rubberstamped until after that season’s Super Bowl.

Injury guarantees for 2019 and 2020 don’t come into force until the February of those years. Who knows what state his body will be in by then. The remaining two years of the contract have no guarantees whatsoever.

In such a rough and tumble environment, making long-term plans is fraught with difficulty.

Yet with Oakland switching to Vegas for the 2020 season, this was a move with the future firmly in mind. And as more NFL teams adopt a focused ‘Moneyball’ approach when it comes to drafts and transfers, the overwhelmingly impressive stats from his first three seasons ensured this was a financial gamble well worth taking.

The Raiders see Carr as the face of their soon to be new franchise in the desert. Last season’s performances – with and without him – certainly sealed this particular deal. When his leg broke in Indianapolis last December , the writing was on the wall for the in-form, dangerous-looking Raiders, who were enjoying their best run for well over a decade.

His right fibula snapped when twisted awkwardly on a sack and the Raiders’ best season since 2002 was also broken. The push for the postseason was maintained but ended at the first hurdle.

Carr had terrorised Houston when they met in a regular season clash in Mexico City, though with the 28 year-old stuck on the sidelines, the Raiders were outscored 62-20 through nine quarters.

But when put into context, the sums instantly highlight his worth.

Golden State’s title winning hero Kevin Durant will pocket $27m next season while the last year of Stephen Curry’s current contract costs just $12m.

Tom Brady (left) is one of the best paid in the league – he’s on around $14m a year and has bagged $196m in 17 years –  yet is 39. His days are soon numbered, while Carr is the future. He’s dynamic and determined – Carr pulled his side back from the brink seven times in the fourth quarter, either winning or forcing overtime.

With Matthew Stafford of Detroit and Washington’s Kirk Cousins set to pen new deals soon, Carr’s place at the top of the money tree won’t last long. For the God-fearing father of two, however, it’s all immaterial.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money’s going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands, because it’s going to help people not only in this country but in a lot of countries around the world.”

The Colts’ Andrew Luck is actually the best earner in the NFL once his eye watering guarantees are taken into account.

Luck has an $87m guaranteed for injury, with over half of that sum guaranteed on signing his 2016 extension. Clever thinking from the financial advisors of a player who’s been thumped with 56 sacks in his last 22 games.

Carr was sacked just 16 times in 2016 – an NFL low – making a total of 71 in 47 games. He’s fresh, injury free and raring to show the investment will be worth every penny.

MLS

The net is continuing to be cast wide by Major League Soccer in the attempt to cement its standing in the global game.

Rivalry week is a great concept with the fixture computer ensuring a host of derbies come at you thick and fast.

Last weekend saw Portland and Seattle clash as well as derbies in Dallas and New York.

And it was the match between the Red Bulls and NYCFC which saw a first-ever viewing party overseas.

Hosted in London and with former City midfielder Frank Lampard sat on the sofa as a special guest, fans packed a bar to take in the latest installment of the Hudson River derby which saw Patrick Vieira’s men bag an impressive 2-0 away win.

Even in England where the Premier League rules, MLS are finding devoted fans who are keen to experience something new. Officials I spoke to last week at MLS HQ in Manhattan were delighted to have interest in the league from other countries and will look to stage similar events in other parts of the world.

This was the first MLS event of this kind staged away from the US and I am told it was a real success.

NBA

Michael Jordan v LeBron James.

The NBA’s best-ever debate gets plenty of people hot under the collar, especially when James’ superhero act isn’t good enough to land a championship. Yet one Jordan fan has taken that extra step to make sure everyone knows where his allegiances lie.

It’s unclear whether Kalen Gilleese knows that he’s stuck with it for life but now he’s the owner of a crying LeBron face inked on his calf. Needless to say, it looks utterly ridiculous and clearly the prospect of people laughing at him down by the pool wasn’t enough to spike his plans.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people,” Gilleese said. “I think LeBron is in the top five, but he’s not Jordan. I just get ticked off by everyone saying he is. LeBron is a legend, but he’s the biggest crybaby legend of all time.”

The Salt Lake City native’s pal is a tattoo artist who’s been hearing about his plan for over two months. “After the Warriors won the championship, I convinced him to do it on me,” he added.

Next stop? Brain examination.


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