ALAMEDA (CBS SF & AP) — Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had a $125 million smile on his face Friday morning as he signed a contract extension that made him the highest paid player in the NFL.
“This is a big day for Raiders nation,” said Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. “We are very excited to have Derek be a part of this organization officially for many more years…We know Derek is a big part of what we are trying to do around here.”
The Raiders 2014 second round draft pick has evolved into one of the NFL’s best young quarterback and had Oakland streamrolling into the post season until a broken leg sidelined him in late December.
“I’m blessed and honored to be sitting here today,” Carr told reporters Friday. “I dreamed about this day as a little kid and it’s here…You can’t pay me a bigger compliment to tell me you trust me with the keys (to the franchise).”
With their leader sidelined, the Raiders stumbled badly and lost in the AFC wildcard game.
The Raiders are counting on Carr to be the face of the franchise when it moves to Las Vegas for the 2020 season and are paying him that way. The 5-year, $125 million deal is one of the richest contract ever in the NFL, beating out the $24.8 million a year Andrew Luck got from Indianapolis.
The pact is even backloaded to allow Carr to avoid Nevada state taxes when the team moves.
But Carr said he wanted to make sure the Raiders were not cash-strapped by his new deal.
“We figured out a way to do it so we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that are important to this organization,” Carr said. “That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could and I hope that that is known. Obviously, the position I play it has to be a certain number. That is just what it is but at the same time I told Tim (his agent) if we can structure it in a way to help the Raiders…That’s important to me.”
“For the kids out there it’s important for them to know that I never chase the money in this whole process. It’s something that I am every passionate about. I try to be the best version of myself every single day and give my teammates and this organization everything that I have. It’s never going to be about the money to me.”
Both sides had expressed a strong interest in signing a long-term deal with Carr, who was scheduled to enter the final year of his rookie contract. Carr had imposed a deadline of the start of training camp in late July.
Carr has transformed the Raiders from a perennial loser into a contender after being drafted in the second round in 2014. He was part of a stellar draft class led by AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack and third-round guard Gabe Jackson, who have been key to Oakland’s turnaround.
He lost his first 10 starts as a rookie before winning seven games his second year and taking the Raiders to the playoffs in 2016 with a 12-4 record. Carr missed the final game of that season and the playoff loss to Houston with a broken leg.
But he’s healed now and a major reason why the Raiders are the preseason favorites to win the AFC West and contenders to dethrone the New England Patriots as the top team in the conference.
Carr has thrown for 11,194 yards in his first three seasons and ranks fourth all-time with 81 touchdown passes through three years, trailing only Dan Marino, Luck and Peyton Manning. He has shown dramatic improvement each season in his career after an up-and-down rookie campaign when he threw 21 TD passes, but averaged only 5.5 yards per attempt.
Carr’s best season came in 2016 when he led seven fourth-quarter comebacks while completing a career-high 63.8 percent of his passes. He threw for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions in just 15 games.
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