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Big money extension for Derek Carr Raiders top offseason priority

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Derek Carr could become the NFL’s highest paid player very soon.

As of today, Derek Carr is eligible to receive an extension with the Raiders. He has one year left on his 4-year rookie contract and in year three he proved without a doubt that he is the Raiders’ franchise player and long term solution at quarterback.

Leading the Raiders to a 7-9 record in 2015, Carr has been on this trajectory for some time. Putting the team on his back for a 12-3 record this season and a leading candidate for the MVP locked up his status as an elite NFL quarterback who will command big money.

Then he broke his fibula late in week 16, ending his season, forcing to the team to face life without him. And, oh man, was his value evident then.

With Matt McGloin and Connor Cook at quarterback in the season finale in Denver, the Raiders were a shell of their former high-powered selves. Losing that game lost them the AFC West and sent them to Houston for the Wild Card playoff opener, where it was more of the same.

As if you needed any more proof of Carr’s worth, the Raiders routed the Broncos and took down the Texans in Mexico City with him at quarterback. Only to get dominated by those same two teams without him. The games were even both played consecutively.

Here are the numbers for Raiders offense vs Broncos and Texans with Derek Carr and without:

With Carr: 2-0, 57 points, 722 yards, 1 turnover
Without: 0-2, 20 points, 424 yards, 6 turnovers

Carr’s season would end with him just shy of 4000 yards passing (3937). Even without playing in the finale, he finished with 28 touchdown passes which was tied for 7th most in the league. And no one in the league had few interceptions (6) on more attempts (560) than Carr.

Last offseason, Andrew Luck became the NFL’s highest paid player, setting a new bar for what Derek Carr looks to receive this offseason.

Luck’s 5-year extension paid him an average of $23.3 million per season over 6 years and an average of $24.6 million over the next five seasons. Carr’s extension figures to top that, likely approaching or even surpassing $25 million per season.

Not only would there be no reason to wait to extend Carr, but it would be unwise to wait. Making him the highest paid player now would be cheaper than trying to do so after next season or even late in this offseason as other players up for new deals’ agents look for the line on their resume of making their client the league’s highest paid player.

Once again this offseason, the Raiders will have a considerable amount of cap space available. They currently have $51.5 million in cap space available, which is tenth most in the league. The only playoff team with more cap space is the Patriots with $68.5 million.

Extending Derek Carr is easily the Raiders’ number one priority. Easily being the key word seeing as there is no logical reason why a blockbuster deal is not be forthcoming.