Derek Carr's Next Contract

Derek Carr's Next Contract

Derek Carr has reportedly exercised his full no-trade clause, disallowing the Raiders to ship him out of Vegas on their terms.

The almost 32-year-old will instead await his release, then test the open market immediately. Carr’s contract famously (now) guarantees him an additional $40.4M of future salary if he’s on the roster February 15th, making this decision a swift one.

So, assuming the release becomes finalized in the next 24 hours, what might Derek Carr be seeking on the open market - and from whom?

Derek Carr’s Next Contract

Carr’s current 3 year extension carried $121.5M of new money through 2025, adding up to $141.3M over 4 years. This $40.5M annual average ranked 7th in the NFL, raising plenty of non-believer eyebrows last April. However, the structure of this deal made it such that only $24,877,519 of the deal was fully guaranteed at signing - all in 2022. The possibility of Carr leaving after last season was always baked into the cake.

So what next? Carr’s extension was a boom or bust deal. If he had played well in 2022, the Raiders would soon be restructuring his massive base salary, freeing up $25M of cap space, and continuing to build the roster around him. He didn’t, and thus he’ll be looking to restart his career elsewhere. This means a chance at a bonafide, clean slate, starting quarterback contract with a franchise that will (blindly) trust him out of the gate - and a much stronger structure.

Carr holds a $37.7M valuation in our system currently, which would be good enough for 10th in the league (until Burrow, Hurts, Jackson, Herbert surpass him). Keeping him a Top 15 average paid QB to start the season should be a priority for Carr & his representation, as the dropoff of talent thereafter is palpable.

If we expand his market value out 2 seasons, this gives us $75M, a very likely guarantee point for Carr’s next contract. Ryan Tannehill’s 4 year extension back in 2020 locked in $62M fully guaranteed at signing over the course of two seasons. In adjusting for the current salary cap, a $75M ask over two seasons is over market, but not by much.

Carr’s looming release will automatically label him with a negative connotation, and his 2022 production (60% completion, 86 Passer Rating) certainly align with that mindset. But when considering the available options for quarterback-needy teams this offseason (especially those not in position to draft one of the best available rookies), Carr’s name sits at or near the top of this list (Rodgers’ future notwithstanding).

So is a 3 year, $114M contract in Derek Carr’s immediate future? Maybe. Carr is better than the average quarterback to hit the open market - but that doesn’t mean free agency is generally nice to these players.

Largest Guarantee at Signings by a Free Agent QB
2016: Brock Osweiler, HOU, $37M
2017: Mike Glennon, CHI, $18.5M
2018: Case Keenum, ARI, $25M
2019: Nick Foles, JAC, $45.125M
2020: Tom Brady, TB, $50M
2021: Andy Dalton, CHI, $10M
2022: Jameis Winston, NO, $15.2M

Of course, many of the QBs moving around in an offseason have been traded…

Largest Guarantee at Signing by a Traded/Extended QB
2016: Sam Bradford, MIN, $18M
2017: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, $41.7M
2018: Alex Smith, WSH, $55M
2019: Ryan Tannehill, TEN, $2M
2020: Nick Foles, CHI, $17M
2021: Teddy Bridgewater, DEN, $4.25M
2022: Deshaun Watson, CLE, $230M

Pretty all over the place set of names, right? Isn’t it fair to place Derek Carr somewhere in between these two lists, as someone who won’t necessarily be competing for the QB1 role upon signing, but also doesn’t carry the leverage, age, or recent production to maximize a contract in any way?

Spotrac’s Projection

With the Jets, Panthers, Saints, Commanders, Buccaneers, all likely at least considering a run at Carr this February, the opportunity for offers shouldn’t be scarce. Based on our above assessment, we believe Derek Carr can lock in a: 


3 year, $110M contract, $75M guaranteed ($50M guaranteed at signing)