It’s official: Derek Carr is now the highest-paid player in NFL history. The new deal is worth $125 million over five years, includes $40 million fully guaranteed at signing and $69 million in the first three years, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
Carr, a 2014 second-round pick, has been the centerpeice of the Raiders’ turnaround. The team went 3-13 his rookie season, improved to 7-9 in 2015 and was one of the best teams in the league a season ago, finishing 12-4. But Carr suffered a broken leg in Week 16, and the Raiders lost to the Texans in the wild-card game.
The takeaway: Carr is invaluable, reaffirming the theory that an organization is only as good as its franchise quarterback. Not only did Carr complete 64 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions last season, but he ranked seventh among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics, ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck.
Those numbers go a long way in explaining the huge pay bump.
Carr will average $25 million a year, which puts him ahead of Luck, Carson Palmer and Drew Brees, who all average $24 million and change annually. Fun fact: This is a 2,457.5 percent increase over the $977,519 Carr was going to make in 2017, which was the final year of his rookie deal.
Added bonus: Depending on how Carr’s contract is structured, he could end up earning millions more.
The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas in 2020. As SI.com pointed out in January, this is important because while California’s tax rate is 13.3 percent on those who earn more than a $1 million a year, Nevada does not have a state income tax. And this is in addition to the federal income tax, which imposes a 39.6 percent tax rate for single taxpayers with a taxable income of more than $413,650.
Put another way: As ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets, Carr could backload his impending new deal and save millions of dollars. And he wouldn’t be the only Raiders player to benefit.