Both Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr are franchise quarterbacks. Their average annual salaries are top five in the NFL and are within about a million dollars of each other. Cousins’ contract is due to the franchise tag while Carr’s is from a recent long term extension. But if you look at their figures over the first two games this season, there’s a far more considerable difference.
Cousins is 61% on his completions, throwing for 419 yards, two touchdowns and 1 interception for a passer rating of 82.9.
Compare that to Carr’s 75% completions for 492 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 126.5.
But it doesn’t stop there as these Pro Football Focus numbers show.
As you can see, Derek Carr outdoes Cousins in all but one category, significantly in most cases. The only area Cousins outdoes Carr is intermediate throws where Cousins is 15th and Carr is 16th. Overall, Carr is an average of 13.7 spots higher than Cousins. That’s the difference between elite and bottom rung.
That more than a half second difference in throwing time could also explain why Cousins has been sacked six times to Carr’s two.
You can argue, if you like, that Cousins has faced tougher competition. He has faced the Eagles and Rams while the Raiders have faced the Titans and Jets. But even if you isolate Carr’s numbers against only the Titans, he still outshines Cousins in either of his contests this season.
I expect more of the same when their clubs face off Sunday night in Washington.