Oakland Raiders: Carr’s Deal Is Huge, But It Doesn’t Mean He’s Overpaid

Dec 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after passing for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after passing for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr just received a mammoth contract extension making him the highest paid player in the league – which has inevitably, spawned plenty of pieces devaluing his worth.

As they say – that certainly escalated quickly. The ink on Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr‘s massive new contract extension wasn’t even dry yet, when opinion articles started flying almost too fast and too furious to keep up with.

Many, of course, applauded the new deal. But there have been a number of pieces highly critical of the amount of money being lavished upon Carr. With some of those pieces going so far as to say that Carr was overrated before, and is wildly overpaid now.

Five years, $125 million dollars – although he’s the highest paid player in the league right now (something that will likely not be the case for very long, given the market for quarterbacks) – Carr has less in guaranteed money than Andrew Luck who was the previous highest paid player in the NFL.

But still – $25 million dollars a year is a pretty penny, to be sure.

It’s the kind of annual salary that’s impossible for most of us to comprehend. But it’s also the kind of annual salary that, given the social media-driven world we live in – is almost impossible for people to not express some strong opinions about.

We all know what they say about opinions – and everybody is certainly entitled to theirs. But to make the assertion that Carr is A) overrated and B) wildly overpaid is – well – ridiculous beyond measure and ignores the reality of today’s NFL landscape.

First of all, franchise quarterbacks aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. If they were that easy to come by, every team would have one. Teams like Cleveland or Houston or the New York Jets – among others – wouldn’t struggle so badly year in and year out.

To put it simply, franchise quarterbacks are something everybody wants, but very few teams have.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

And when you get your hands on one, if you’re the GM, you do everything in your power to keep that guy in house. And unfortunately, the going rate for a franchise quarterback is, yeah, about $25 million a season right now – though, that’s a figure that will be surpassed very, very soon.

So, the idea that Carr was “overpaid” is foolish. He was paid the market rate for what is arguably, the most critical position on a team.

One such recent article did posit that Carr is in fact, overrated, overpaid, and that getting him for market value is not something worthy of celebration. From said article:

"“Now, if the team had gotten him at a below-market price, then, by all means, celebrate. But simply locking him for the going rate is not something to cheer about. NFL teams don’t get ahead by simply going with the market; they get ahead by finding market inefficiencies.”"

While it would have been nice had Carr been willing to take a home-town discount, you absolutely can’t fault him for not doing so. Given the short shelf life of NFL players, you cannot fault a player for trying to make as much as they can in the short window they have to make it.

Oakland Raiders
Dec 24, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) carries the ball in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

But the writer of this piece apparently doesn’t deal in reality. And the reality of the situation is this – had Reggie McKenzie elected to play hardball and demand Carr take a below market value deal, the Raiders would have been searching for a new franchise quarterback following the season.

And we all see how long it took them to get from Rich Gannon to Derek Carr – it’s not a period of history the organization or its fans care to repeat anytime soon.

As it is, Carr’s team and the organization structured the deal in a way that ensured the Raiders have as much flexibility as they can possibly have to re-sign other pending cornerstone free agents like Gabe Jackson, Khalil Mack, and Amari Cooper.

Carr’s contract, while enormous, was constructed carefully, responsibly, and in a way that means the team will remain competitive for years to come.

Carr has the physical tools, not to mention the mental makeup and other intangibles that go into making a great quarterback. Think Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers – go on down the list. Is he there yet? Of course not. He’s still a work in progress in some respects.

But, he has the potential to be one of the league’s elite quarterbacks. And if you can sit there and say that’s not the case, or still slot him in the third tier of quarterbacks – ahem – then you clearly, have not been paying attention to the body of work he’s put together thus far in his young career.

Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees or bushes. GM’s can’t simply wander out into some magical orchard and pick them at will. When you do find one, keeping a franchise quarterback in your team’s colors is going to cost a pretty penny.

It’s the cost of doing business in today’s NFL. You can excoriate the Raiders for giving Carr such a lucrative deal all you want. You can call him overrated. You can call him wildly overpaid if you want.

All that proves is that you don’t truly understand how the league operates today, and don’t quite grasp the value of a franchise quarterback to a team and an organization.

The bottom line is that had McKenzie not ponied up for Carr, somebody in this league would have. That much is as certain as water being wet, fire being hot, and bears – well – doing their thing in the woods.

Next: Carr Apparently More Fragile Than We Believed

Another certainty is that the Raiders have the franchise quarterback they’ve been searching for since the early 2000’s. It certainly cost to keep him, but that is simply the nature of the beast that is the NFL today.

Unless, of course, you can point us in the direction of that magical franchise quarterback orchard where we can just go pick another one.