Timing is everything. That’s what they say. Most of the NFL’s highest paid players reached those figures by helping lead their respective teams on playoff runs. Even with a down season in 2015, Andrew Luck had already led the Colts to three trips to the postseason in his first three in the league.
Luck did it while leading a Colts team that had finished 1-15 the season before while Peyton Manning was lost to a neck injury. That was plenty to prove Luck’s worth to the Colts who gave him a 5-year extension, making him the highest paid player in NFL history.
Luck’s deal surpasses that of the previous highest paid player at an average of $23.3 million over 6 years. That’s $139 million, with $87 million of that guaranteed.
Luck is just 26 years of age. The next highest paid quarterback under the age of 30 on long term deals are as follows:
Russell Wilson $21.9M (4th most overall)
Cam Newton $20.7M (8th most overall)
Ryan Tannehill $19.25M (13th most overall)
Colin Kaepernick $19M (14th most overall)
Including Luck, four of these five quarterbacks led their team to the playoffs and three of them led their teams to the Super Bowl – Wilson, Newton, and Kaepernick.
What they all have in common is they were extended by their respective teams a year before their contract was up.
That time will come for Derek Carr after this season. So, can you imagine what kind of payday Carr would receive if he went into next offseason having led the Raiders back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years? That’s some excellent timing. And it would make him a very rich man.
I doubt Carr’s contract would rival the monster deal Luck received, but Luck’s deal only raises the overall market for quarterbacks, meaning another step forward and Carr could make himself a lot of money this season.