Carr on contract: ‘I’m either going to be a Raider, or I’m going to be playing golf’
Derek Carr’s extension with the Raiders is for three years and as much as $121 million and includes a no-trade clause.
Updated April 13, 2022 - 1:43 pm
Derek Carr had two priorities as he entered contract negotiations this offseason with the only franchise for which he’s ever played.
Remain the Raiders quarterback — and ensure the franchise has the requisite money to acquire and retain other premium players.
“I went through a heartbreak already last time I signed my contract. My best friend (Khalil Mack) left. And I didn’t want that to ever happen again,” Carr said Wednesday, referencing the 2018 trade that sent Mack to the Chicago Bears.
“This was an opportunity to for me to prove to the team, to the organization, to our fans, the way we’re going to structure this is we’re going to keep everybody together and really have something to build on.”
Carr played his part by signing a three-year contract extension Wednesday that could keep him with the Raiders through the 2025 season. The deal can net Carr as much as $121.5 million, a source said, and includes a no-trade clause that would allow the 31-year-old to decide his destination should the Raiders one day want to trade him.
The contract, per NFL Network, includes a $7.5 million signing bonus, $25 million this season, $33 million in 2023 and $42 million in 2024. The $33 million in 2023 is guaranteed three days after the next Super Bowl, and so is $7.5 million of his 2024 salary.
“I told my agent, ‘I’m either going to be a Raider, or I’m going to be playing golf. I don’t want to play anywhere else,’” he said. “That’s how much this place means to me.”
The longest tenured quarterback in the AFC, Carr passed for a career-high 4,804 yards in 2021 to go with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while leading the Raiders to their first playoff berth since 2016.
The Raiders drafted him in the second round of the 2014 draft. He’s since been selected to three Pro Bowls while starting 127 of a possible 129 games. The former Fresno State standout holds franchise records for passing yards (31,700) and touchdown passes (193) and has a career passer rating of 92.4, which ranks 17th all time.
He was entering the final year of that five-year contract extension he signed in 2017. One he believes played a role in the decision to trade Mack, a six-time Pro Bowl linebacker and former Defensive Player of the Year who at that time was also seeking a new contract.
“This was just different. There was a learning curve about it. Like ‘How do we make that happen where I feel good and where the team feels great?’ Like, ‘Man, we can still build a championship team around you,’” said Carr, indicating his cap hit would lower this season. “That was important to us and hopefully this contract proves that.”
With Carr’s future solidified, the Raiders can shift their attention to extensions or restructured contracts for three key players he specifically mentioned: Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau and Darren Waller.
A fifth-round pick in 2019 nearing the end of his rookie contract, Renfrow has blossomed into one of the NFL’s best slot receivers and posted 103 receptions for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns.
Moreau was a fourth-round pick that year and emerged as a viable contributor in the running and passing games. The fourth-year tight end had 373 receiving yards and three touchdowns catches while displaying improvement as a blocker in running situations.
Waller, a Pro Bowl tight end, has two years remaining on a four-year, $29.8 million-deal he signed in 2019. But the 29-year-old outplayed that contract the last three seasons and is due a significant pay raise as one of the top skill players in the NFL.
The Raiders finished 10-7 last season and qualified for the postseason, losing in the wild-card round to the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
They hired Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler as coach and general manager, respectively, and subsequently retooled the roster — adding Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones and All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, who played with Carr at Fresno State.
“I’m excited. I think it’s OK to be excited for what we’ve done. I’m excited for where we’re going. For who’s locked up and who we can hopefully get locked up also,” Carr said.
“I think we’ve got a special group of guys, but having a special group of guys doesn’t correlate to wins. … I’m going to have that underdog mentality and keep that chip-on-my-shoulder mindset. At the same time, I know what I’m capable of. I know what our team is capable of.”
Contact Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ BySamGordon on Twitter.