Why Giving Carr, Waller and Crosby Contract Extensions (Right Now) is a Bad Idea

I've come across a multitude of posts from both Raider fans and "experts" calling for Mark Davis to extend Carr, Waller and Crosby ASAP. While these players may be playing well at the time of this writing, emotional decisions are not part of Mike Mayock's DNA. IF any of these 3 players are extended, it will be this offseason at the earliest. Out of the 3 players mentioned, I am hoping that none of them are extended this offseason and I will explain why.

Let's go with what I would consider the easiest decision at this point in the football season.... Waller should not be extended. You're probably calling me an idiot right now, but hear me out. Biggest reason I wouldn't extend him right now is the fact that he is signed through the 2023 season. The common reasoning I have read regarding extending Waller is that he has outplayed his current contract. As of the beginning of this season, Waller has the 10th highest contract (Total Value) at the TE position according to The TE's with higher contracts are (in order): Kittle, Kelce, Andrews, J. Smith, Ertz, Hooper, Brate, Henry and Pitts.

After seeing this list you might think that Waller is severely underpaid compared to other TE's. Here's the thing....he's 29 years old. Kittle signed his massive contract at his age 26 season. Ertz signed his contract in his age 25 season. If you look at the TE's paid more than Waller, you will notice a common factor. They were all young (throw Kelce out of the equation). Kittle, Brate and Henry were the oldest at the time of their contract signings or extensions (26 years old). To extend a 29 year old TE who will realistically command a contract in the $50 million range is just not good business. If you want to take into consideration Waller's Annual Average Value, he currently ranks 12th amongst TE's in that category. Waller has a cap hit of $6.3 million this year and $6.75 million in 2023 and 2024. Waller will turn 30 5-6 games into next season. My guess is Maycok will wait until next offseason to determine whether or not Waller is worth it.

As for Crosby, he will be a Free Agent after the 2022 season and right now is on a cheap rookie contract. He's had 10 and 7 sacks the last 2 years, and currently has 5 for this season. If Crosby continues this pace, he will be amongst the top 5 or so in sacks this season. That will earn him leverage when attempting to get top 10 DE money, if not higher. The average annual salary for the top 10 highest paid DE's this year is around $17-18 million a year. The highest being Joey Bosa at $27 million a year and the lowest being Stephon Tuitt at $12 million this year. In my opinion, if Crosby continues to play at the level he is right now, he can command top 5 DE money. The top 5 DE's salaries this year are $27, 25, 21, 20 and $18 million respectively. There is a good chance Crosby could demand somewhere in the $20-22 million range a year. For a 3rd year player who hasn't been an elite disruptor on the edge until this year, that is too much money. However, if Crosby plays at his current level through the season, he would be the one player out of the 3 mentioned that should be signed.

Derek Carr.....we love him, or we hate him. The Raider fan base is almost as divided on Derek Carr as the country is on Democrats and Republicans. Some fans will never have faith in him no matter what kind of numbers he puts up. And it is fair. Carr is a losing QB. His win/loss record as a starting QB says so. As of this season Carr has the 12th highest total contract for QB's at $125 million over 5 years. He will be a FA after next season, where his cap hit will be over $19 million. He will also be 31 years old next offseason. He will most likely command a larger annual average contract. If the Raiders are given no choice but to sign him to an annual contract of $20 million or more a year, I think they will pass. Another factor working against Carr is the fact that a new coach will be coming in. That individual will undoubtedly have a large part in keeping Carr or letting him go. In my opinion, I do not see any coach bringing Carr back to the Raiders following the conclusion of next season. Carr will have to take that hometown discount and play for $12-13 million a year to even have a chance at staying in Vegas after the 2022 season. Don't take this as an opinion from a Carr hater, because I am far from it. I'm rooting for him, but the numbers just don't back up another contract extension unless it is for cheap.

So to sum up this post.....priority #1 should be too sign Crosby if he continues to play at the level he is right now. Waller and Carr should only be signed to short, discounted deals based on age and overall team performance over the last 2 1/2 seasons. I for one, would not mind all 3 getting resigned as long as it is within those parameters. The Raiders have been hamstrung with way too many bad contracts over the last 15 years or so. These next couple of years will be pivotal in what this team will look like in 5 years, and whether or not they will be contenders.