Through a season of turmoil, Derek Carr performed at his best. So the Las Vegas Raiders have given the veteran quarterback a three-year contract extension.
The extension is worth US$121.5-million, a person with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press, speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
Despite all of the issues with the Raiders last season, including the resignation of coach Jon Gruden, Carr helped them to the playoffs as a wild card in the tough AFC West. He threw for a career-high 4,804 yards and 23 touchdowns as Las Vegas went 10-7 before losing at Cincinnati in the postseason.
“I’ve only wanted to be a Raider again and I told my agent [Tim Younger], I said, ‘I’m either gonna be a Raider or I’m gonna be playing golf.’ I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Carr said during Wednesday’s news conference. “That’s how much this place means to me.”
Carr said it also meant a lot for him to structure the contract so the team could keep key components around him for a long time while building “a championship team.”
“We made sure guys like Chandler [Jones], guys like Davante [Adams], guys like hopefully Hunter [Renfrow], and Foster [Moreau] and those guys can stay here,” said Carr, the longest-tenured quarterback in the AFC. “I went through a heartbreak already the last time I signed my contract, my best friend [Khalil Mack] left. And I didn’t want that to ever happen again.
“This was an opportunity for me to prove to the team, to the organization, to our fans, that the way we’re gonna structure this is so we can keep everyone together and really have real continuity, really have something to build on.”
An eight-year veteran, Carr, 31, was entering the final year of his deal, worth nearly $19.8-million in base salary. That contract was for five years at $125-million, the richest in the NFL at the time he signed it in 2017.
He said he told his agent he was willing to play out his contract if it wasn’t extended.
“At the end of the day I want to be a Raider and I am crazy enough to go out there on one year, especially with the guys that’ll be around me. I said I’ll take that chance,” he said. “Thankfully, it’ll be four more. Hopefully, we can build on that and I can finish and just do what I set out to do nine years ago, and that is to win a championship.”
The new deal puts him more in line with what veteran starting quarterbacks make throughout the league.
When healthy, Carr has been a starter for nearly all of his time with the Raiders and has made three Pro Bowls.
Carr had a career-high and franchise-record 4,804 passing yards in 2021 and was the only quarterback in the league to finish among the top five in both passing yards and completion percentage (68.4).
Carr holds franchise records for passing yards (31,700), passing touchdowns (193), games with multiple-touchdown passes (59), games with a passer rating of at least 100 points (44), and 300-yard passing contests (31).
Last month at the owners meetings, new Raiders coach Josh McDaniels seemed to stress the importance of finding the money for Carr. Wednesday he reaffirmed that in a prepared statement
“Derek Carr has been the leader of this franchise for a long time and we are thrilled to continue that relationship moving forward,” McDaniels said. “He has been a great example of someone who always puts the team first, and we appreciate his desire to keep doing that while leading on and off the field. It is clear how much Derek cares about this organization, his teammates and winning. I look forward to the opportunity to work with him this season and beyond.”
Extending Carr is the latest move in a busy off-season. Carr will have All-Pro Adams added to his receiving group in a trade with Green Bay, and standout pass rusher Jones as a free agent.