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Are big contracts coming for Raiders’ star players?

Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby and Darren Waller are making cases for large raises

Miami Dolphins v Las Vegas Raiders
Darren Waller, Derek Carr
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has to be thrilled to see his team start 4-2 after all the drama of the early season.

However, Davis may want to keep his checkbook handy. He is going to need it.

The Raiders’ solid start to the 2021 has been highlighted by strong starts to the season by key members of the team. Players like quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Darren Waller and defensive end Maxx Crosby are all off to hot starts to the season.

Of course, all three players are getting close to the end of their contracts or will be seeking new deals in the not-so-distant future. Carr and Crosby are both currently set to be free agents after the 2022 season. Waller won’t be a free agent until the following year, but he could ask for a new deal because he’s outproducing his current contract. The trio will be considered individually, but there’s no doubt that the Raiders will try to keep them all.

There were reports in the offseason that the Raiders could try to extend Carr then, but it never materialized. After Carr’s hot start, Las Vegas will likely try to get a deal done before the start of next season. But, of course, Davis will have to make sure whoever he hires to be the full-time replacement for Jon Gruden is on board with Carr.

There is no way the Raiders will want Carr’s contract situation to linger if he continues to play like he is — and yes, the offseason’s “replace Carr” talk may finally be in the rearview mirror. Carr will turn 31 next March, so Las Vegas could try to make a deal that will keep him with the franchise virtually his entire career. Of course, he won’t come cheap.

The Buffalo Bills recently secured quarterback Josh Allen for six years and $258 million. Carr may not get that much because of his age, but Carr’s numbers may not be too far off.

Miami Dolphins v Las Vegas Raiders
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Crosby has been all over the field and is an NFL pressure leader and he has five sacks. Young players who do that get paid at the top of the market. So, Crosby, who was a fourth-round pick in 2019, is going to get paid. The only question is when and by who. Certainly, the Raiders will do all they can to keep him. The timeline may be up to Crosby. Agents of players in his situation may want to go to the open market and see what they can get. But perhaps Crosby will want to get paid sooner rather than later as he is currently playing on a four-year, $3.3 million deal. Either way, he’s likely getting paid a ton at some point.

Remember, there was a lot of talk during the Khalil Mack saga that a team couldn’t pay a quarterback and pass rusher massive contracts. Well, that situation may be on the horizon. Yes, the salary-cap is going to rise, but it won’t be super easy getting multiple big deals done, although it is certainly attainable.

On paper, Waller’s contract situation would appear to be the least urgent of the three. But that may not be the reality. He recently secured new agents and when players do that, it is often a sign they may want a new contract.

Waller has definitely earned it. Since signing a four-year, $29 million deal two years ago, he has developed into an elite tight end and is extremely underpaid. So, at some point, Waller may ask for a new deal and if he doesn’t get it, it has potential to get messy as it has with several players around the league over the years.

The Raiders have some great players doing great things. It’s paying off in the win column, and, at some point, Davis and the Raiders’ brass will have to start rewarding their high-producing stars.