That’s why Carr, weeks ahead of finalizing a five-year, $125 million extension - $40 million fully guaranteed ($70 million total guarantees), was comfortable taking time out of a busy off-season schedule to talk about what a new contract would mean to him.
Yes, he is the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback, at least for now. Washington’s Kirk Cousins and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions) still could sign even bigger contracts in the coming days. And, yes, he is one step closer toward his desire to be a “Raider for life.”
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But back in May, in an interview with The Bee, it was family and his on-the-field passions that were forefront in Carr’s mind.
“It is humbling to know I will be able to provide for my family in ways, I know, most people cannot,” Carr said. “I look forward to supporting charities and organizations that I am passionate about and that (wife) Heather and I care for deeply.”
On the football side? Carr – as he has long insisted through his promotion to the starting role as a rookie and 3,000-yard passing seasons through a breakthrough postseason berth and individual awards – says fans, media and most importantly his family, teammates and friends will see the same guy.
“A bit surreal,” he said, weighing the potential dollar figures in his head, “but it does not change how I feel about the game and how I will prepare and compete.
“I don’t want to play for anybody else. That’s how I am, and growing up being a Raiders fan, that just seems right. I’m blessed to be on a team that I actually like.”
Carr, 26, had faith that agent Tim Younger and Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie would hammer out the extension and avoid the fourth-year pro’s self-imposed training camp deadline.
“You don’t have to worry for the next couple of years if someone wants you or if you’re going to have a job or anything like that,” Carr said. “Once they commit to you, that’s a good feeling. It’s just one less thing that can ever cross your mind.”
Sure, it took awhile, but it was worth the wait both for the Carr camp and the Raiders, as the team focused first on bolstering the team through free agency and the NFL Draft.
The big payoff was set up in part by Indianapolis’ move to lock up Andrew Luck to a five-year, $123 million deal that included a $32 million signing bonus and $87 million is guaranteed. With teams willing to throw that kind of money at franchise quarterbacks, there was no way the Raiders wanted him to hit the open market or to be forced into applying the franchise tag.
Carr was on a four-year, $5.37 million deal that he signed after being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, – chicken feed on the salary scale for NFL quarterbacks, as The Bee’s Marek Warszawski wrote in February
That deal included a $2.2 million signing bonus and $3.3 million guaranteed.
“I’m human,” Carr said. “Anyone that can get a raise in their job and their profession is going to be thinking about it … working hard for it. That’s just normal, and that’s America. To be honest, (my skill) happens to be me throwing a football. I figured out that I can do that pretty well and worked really hard at it. That’s just like anyone with a dream. They get a dream job that they like and want to work hard and continue to do well, so you got to think of those things, but at the same time I don’t talk about it or throw around numbers or this and that.
“I let Tim and Reggie handle that. They’re professionals at that. That’s why I hired Tim to work with us and work with me because he knows that stuff really well. I have to trust him, which I do 100 percent to get the best deal done for my family. Right now I, and the rest of the team, we’re focused on a division championship, AFC championship, and of course, to bring a Super Bowl win to Oakland.”
The Carr file
- Age: 26
- Height/weight: 6-3, 214
- College/high school: Fresno State /Bakersfield Christian
- NFL experience: Fourth season; selected in second round (36th overall) in 2014 NFL Draft
- Career stats: 1,054 of 1,731 (61 percent) for 11,194 yards and 81 TDs against 31 interceptions
- Rally time: 12 career fourth quarter/overtime comebacks
NFL’s highest-paid QBs
Derek Carr, Raiders
Andrew Luck, Colts
Drew Brees, Saints
Kirk Cousins, Redskins
Joe Flacco, Ravens
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
Eli Manning, Giants