It may seem hard to believe when a player signs a contract making him the highest paid player in the HISTORY of the sport ($25 million per season), that somehow that player was looking out for his team and its ability to sign other players. But that’s just what Derek Carr says he insisted with his agent in his negotiations for an extension.
“All along the way I was like ‘how do we keep my teammates?’” Carr said of his contract negotiations. “That’s what I kept telling [my agent]. I was like . . . ‘Is this good for Gabe [Jackson]? Is this good for Khalil [Mack]? Is this good for Amari [Cooper]? . . these are things that I said to him numerous amounts of times. I didn’t want to hurt our team.”
“We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization,” Carr continued. “That was really important to me.”Here is that contract structure according to overthecap.com:
5-years, $125 million
2017 - $15.73 million ($5 million base, $3.1 million prorated signing bonus, $7.6 million roster bonus)
2018 - $25 million ($7.4 million base, $2.5 million prorated, $15 million roster bonus)
2019-21 - $22.6 million ($20 million base, $2.5 million prorated)
2022 - $18.2 million (all base)
Signing players to extensions as opposed to re-signing them after their contract expires carries with it the added benefit of spreading out the money and front loading contracts. Because the extension doesn’t kick in until the following season, the team can load up the guaranteed money in the first two years, so structuring it to allow for other players to re-sign was relatively easy.
It also helps that the Raiders still had $32 million in 2017 cap space to play with after not going as big in free agency this year as they had the previous couple years.
Carr mentioned Gabe Jackson, Khalil Mack, and Amari Cooper. Those players are the next few priorities for re-signing and in that order. Carr’s contract is structured perfectly to get each of them extended before their rookie deals are up.
Jackson is first being that he is in the same boat as Carr. With Carr’s relatively friendly cap hit of $15.73 million this year, the Raiders have plenty of cap space available to re-sign Jackson in short order.
“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward to keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Reggie McKenzie said of Carr’s contract structure. “This affords us to do that. We’ll start on that ASAP.”
McKenzie also reiterated extending Jackson is now his top priority.
Khalil Mack was also in the 2014 draft, but as a first round pick, the team was able to use their fifth round option to keep him for two more years. This time next year, the Raiders will be looking to lock him up long term, likely for more than $20 million per season.
Next season is when Carr will represent his largest cap hit of $25 million. But with Mack signing an extension, his large cap hit won’t come down until 2019 – when Carr’s cap figure drops to $22.6 million.
The same thing is planned for Cooper who was the team’s top pick in 2015. They pick up his fifth year option in 2018, give him an extension in 2019, and his largest cap hit will come down in 2020. Carr will still represent a cap hit of $22.6 million at that time – an amount that looks like a bargain right now and will be a considerable bargain three years from now.
That contract structure sets the Raiders to re-sign all their current top priorities for the next three years. There will be others to come up as well, but by then $22.6 million will be middle of the road for a top flight starting QB.