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Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr’s new deal subdues trade noise, allows flexibility

Moe Moton

NFL fanbases, including the Las Vegas Raiders faithful, usually fit into two categories when it comes down to discussions about player contracts. Some people shrug their shoulders and say, “it’s not my money.” While others want to know the details because they’re aware of how that impacts the team’s ability to field a Super Bowl-contending roster.

When NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo broke the news about Derek Carr’s three-year, $121.5 million extension, many fans wanted to know if he took a team-friendly deal.

Based on the available details, Carr gets a $5.2 million raise this year, $65.5 million in guarantees for injury and a no-trade clause (h/t the MMQB’s Albert Breer).

Even though a no-trade clause doesn’t completely eliminate the annual offseason trade chatter around Carr (see an unhappy Russell Wilson over the past two years), the Raiders signal-caller will have control over his whereabouts in the league if he wants to move on elsewhere.

Related: Derek Carr signs team-friendly deal with the Las Vegas Raiders

However, Carr has made it clear that he would retire rather than suit up for any other team in the NFL and stood by that statement Wednesday:

Carr has said this so many times that we have to take his word for it. So unless the Las Vegas Raiders release him, he’s going to wear the silver and black uniform for as long as his heart desires.

Even if Carr’s relationship with the team goes sour for whatever reason, nothing happens without his consent in terms of a trade. For him, that’s an important stipulation in the contract because of all the trade chatter around his name over the past few years under former head coach Jon Gruden.

Though the previous regime didn’t bring in a quarterback to legitimately challenge Carr for the starting spot, Gruden’s unpredictable nature left the position open for discussion.

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Derek Carr contract extension leads to flexibility for the Las Vegas Raiders

derek carr contract, las vegas raiders
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

As long as Carr doesn’t go on a sharp decline, he can simply go to the podium and tell the media that he’s not willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team. Of course, the Raiders can cut him after the 2022 campaign and only owe $5.6 million in dead money, but that’s highly unlikely with a strong pass-catching group that features wideouts Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller.

If you look beyond the headline numbers of Carr’s deal, three years, $121.5 million, you’ll notice that the front office didn’t break the bank for him. As previously mentioned, the Las Vegas Raiders have a one-year out that would allow them to pivot without a punitive amount of dead money tied to the remaining three years of his deal.

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Assuming Carr remains the starter going into the 2023 season, his cap hit ($34.9 million) currently ranks eighth among quarterbacks for that year. He could drop a couple of spots if Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray sign extensions in the coming months.

At its current number for 2023, Carr’s contract isn’t a huge financial burden on the team, especially when you consider the probable rise in salary cap for consecutive years. His base salary won’t exceed $40 million until the 2024 season, and at that point, quarterbacks will be chasing deals that average $60 million annually. Keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers already tops the market at $50.2 million.

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Though Carr will receive a relatively modest raise this year, he could’ve pushed for more because of the quarterback market. Baker Mayfield is the best option available right now. On top of that, the Raiders don’t have a first- or second-round pick because of the Adams trade. If Carr decided to walk away and play golf, the front office wouldn’t have the financial or draft resources to find a comparable quarterback.

Yet Carr showed his commitment to the Raiders and allowed the team short- and long-term flexibility while protecting himself with guarantees for injury. By the time he’s due $40-plus million annually, his contract will look like a bargain when compared to the likes of Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and any other quarterback up for a new deal within the next two years.

Maurice Moton covers the Raiders for Sportsnaut. You can follow him on Twitter at @MoeMoton.