Becoming the highest paid player at one’s position happens every offseason. Sometimes more than once. Being the highest paid player in the history of the NFL should happen a bit less often, but it really doesn’t.
Derek Carr just became the first player in NFL history to surpass the $25 million per season mark, signing a 5-year $125 million extension with the Raiders.
It is the third time in the past three years the Raiders made a player the highest paid at their position — Rodney Hudson became the highest paid center in 2015 and Kelechi Osemele the highest paid guard in 2016. Both players have since been surpassed. Hudson’s time as highest paid center didn’t last the offseason.
According to Carr, his agent was pushing for him to go bigger and Derek told him “you know what, man, I’m good. I think that’s plenty.’” Yeah, ya think?
“Was it the most important thing to me? Not really,” Carr said of becoming the league’s highest paid player. “The most important thing was to get it done and my family would be taken care of. Am I competitive? Yeah.”
“It’s a weird situation for me because I don’t want it to sound like ‘oh, I have to beat them’ but at the same time it just kind of ends up that way.”
The man Carr surpassed with his new deal was former number one overall pick, Andrew Luck, who set the previous high water mark for the sport this time last year at $24.6 million per season on a 6-year, $139 million deal with the Colts.
Carr’s reign at the top may not last even a month and he’s well aware of that fact.
“I’m sure it will be passed soon, so I’m not too worried about it,” Carr continued.
Waiting to leap frog Carr’s new deal is Matt Stafford and perhaps Kirk Cousins as well. Though most seem to think Cousins will simply play out this season in Washington under the franchise tag and cash in as a free agent in 2018.
Stafford is entering the final year of a 5-year contract he signed with the Lions. The 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he threw for 4327 yards with 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also had his share of heroics, just like Carr did.
It’s likely Stafford and his agent were waiting to see what kind of deal Carr would sign, so that they could jump just ahead of it. Which is just fine with Carr.
“I don’t care if they all [pass me up],” Carr said of other players surpassing him as highest paid. “We got our contract done, that’s all that mattered to me.”
Some agents try to convince teams to put clauses in their client’s contracts that ensure they will remain the highest paid in the event of a situation like Stafford’s camp waiting to take the mantle. Perhaps that what Carr was talking about when he said his agent was trying to “push for things” that would have driven up the contract numbers.
So, while the NFL world stands aghast at what Carr said was “like Monopoly money” and analysts from around the NFL world scramble to write their think pieces about whether he’s worth such a deal, it will all be old news in short order. Next thing you know, Carr’s contract will barely be notable.