Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Derek Carr is now the NFL's highest paid player. The Raiders quarterback agreed on terms of a five-year, $125 million contract extension a source confirmed on Thursday morning, keeping the franchise's public face in silver and black through the 2022 season. 

Carr confirmed the agreement on Twitter early Thursday. 

"Now it's done!" Carr wrote. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

Carr was set to make a $977,515 base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract. Carr's raise is significant, and underscores his value to the franchise. Carr's $125 million extension includes $70 million in guaranteed money and $40 million fully guaranteed at signing -- the portion not fully guaranteed is guaranteed for injury -- a source said. The deal features $25 million in the first year -- there's a $12.5 million signing bonus -- with $67.5 million over the first three years, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.  

Carr's deal resets the quarterback market -- Matthew Stafford may do so again soon -- with an annual value above Andrew Luck's previous record extension. The Colts quarterback signed a five-year, $122.9 million extension last year, which Carr has now exceeded. 

The complete contract structure is not yet known, but a somewhat delayed payout plan is expected due to two key factors. The largest is Carr's desire to see other star Raiders receive extensions, and his deal gives the team some flexibility to keep important players in house. The Raiders will also move to Las Vegas by 2020 at the latest, where there is no state tax. California residents max out at a 13.3-percent tax rate, meaning his money will be worth more later in the deal.  

The 26-year old's ultimate goal was to maximize earnings without handcuffing the organization, and that's setting up well. His deal will help the Raiders that regard, though the team has also budgeted to extend several members of their young core. They have financial flexibility in future seasons and upfront salary cap space, though productive drafts are required to remain competitive as the cash gets gobbled by Carr and others in coming years.

The Raiders were always confident the Carr extension would get done this offseason, and the deal was finalized well before the quarterback's self-imposed training camp deadline. Carr's camp had discussed parameters of an extension months ago, but talks heated up in the last few weeks and ended up with an agreement that locks Carr down. 

The Raiders also hope to extend two more members of a star-studded 2014 draft class. Right guard Gabe Jackson is next in line, and could get a new deal this offseason and edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a massive contract at some point in the near future. Jackson's entering a contract year, but the team exercised a fifth-year option that creates more time to get a Mack deal done. Amari Cooper has some time under his rookie deal -- it could last through the 2019 season -- but the Raiders want to pair him with Carr for several seasons. 

Report: Raiders, Carr close to finalizing massive contract extension

Report: Raiders, Carr close to finalizing massive contract extension

The Raiders want to extend Derek Carr’s contract. The franchise quarterback wants a deal done by training camp. That timeline has always worked for both sides, which are committed to a long-term union.

They might not need the full allotment to complete this pact. The Raiders are close to completing a contract extension with Carr that could make be worth approximately $25 million per year, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday afternoon.

That falls in line with the franchise quarterback market. Andrew Luck’s five-year contract is worth $24.6 million per year, and sources have long indicated that would be a launching point for Carr’s extension.

Carr himself was quick to point out a deal isn’t done. He said so on Twitter moments after the Schefter report, saying “Nothing done yet…trust me you will hear it here first.”

Carr’s right. A deal hasn’t been finalized, but the expectation is that it will happen. Schefter reports a deal could be done by the end of this week.

The start of training camp was Carr’s deadline – he said he’d play out his rookie contract if an extension wasn’t done by then -- but the 26-year old signal caller wants a deal done as soon as possible.

He doesn’t like talking about business. He hates it when teammates get asked about it. Carr wants focus on football, and signing a market-value contract extension will do exactly that.

A hometown discount was never in the cards. It never is in regard to franchise quarterbacks across the league. Their value is immense and they get paid accordingly. A proposed length of the deal remains uncertain and, with all NFL contracts, the devil’s in the details and guaranteed funds. Carr’s guaranteed figure should be high, especially in early portions of the contract.

The Raiders budgeted to pay Carr, right guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack in a relatively compact space. They have $32 million in salary cap space heading into the 2017 season, and could offer massive up-front money to their quarterback.

The contract would certainly set a franchise record and could make Carr the NFLs highest paid player. He’s in line for such status now because he slipped to the 2014 NFL draft’s second round – fifth-year contract options are only available to first-round picks – and his emergence as an MVP candidate last year.

Carr has made giant leaps in each of the last two seasons. Last year was his best. Carr had 3,937 passing yards 28 touchdowns, six interceptions, a 96.7 passer rating and seven-fourth quarter comebacks during a 12-4 campaign that snapped a long Raiders playoff drought. Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 and his absence proved his value. The Raiders struggled mightily without him, and were bounced in the postseason opener. He’s completely healthy and again and has been a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. That stretch ended last week. Carr is expected to start training camp with a long-term contract completed.

Khalil Mack earns respect, surprise visit from all-time NFL great

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USATI

Khalil Mack earns respect, surprise visit from all-time NFL great

Khalil Mack passed a somewhat familiar face while walking to a Raiders team meeting. A moustache caused him to do a double take.

“Was that…Dick Butkus?”

Questions stormed through Mack’s mind. Why would the legendary Chicago Bears linebacker be in Alameda? Was the feared Hall of Famer, one of the best defenders in NFL history, a guest speaker during the offseason program? Head coach Jack Del Rio often used creative tactics this time of year. Maybe that was it.

Then Mack walked into the auditorium. Fellow players were seated, and team cameras were focused on him. Something was clearly up.

Mack was surprised to be the man of the hour, given the professional Dick Butkus award by its namesake, who flew from Los Angeles for the event. It’s given to the best professional and collegiate linebacker, and Mack was runner up for the amateur honor at the University of Buffalo.

“It was a pleasant surprise man,” Mack said Thursday, a day after the presentation. “In college I wanted to win it, and being like I won it now, it’s a surreal thing.”

Whether Mack plays linebacker anymore is debatable, but there’s no doubt he’s an elite defender. He was named a 2015 All-Pro at linebacker and defensive end, and was the NFL’s defensive player of the year last season.

He’s physical, immensely productive and excellent under pressure. Stats bear that out. So does the eye test.

Turn on last year’s tape and be wowed, from his interception returned for a touchdown to four fourth-quarter sacks including a strip that beat Carolina. Then there’s the never-fail run defense, which would make an old school football man proud watching.

Butkus is one of those. Most professionals receive the Butkus award without fanfare, but the legend wanted to do this one in person.

“It was awesome. Dick Butkus had his people call and ask if he could come and present,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I said, ‘If you’re coming, absolutely. Love to have you.’ It was a big honor to have one of the legends in Dick Butkus come himself and acknowledge a great player for us and a guy who was defensive player of the year last year.”

The presentation’s initial focus was on the presenter.

Butkus highlights flashed across a big screen, showing a Monster of the Midway at his ferocious best.

“Dick Butkus highlights are crazy,” Mack said.

They feature intimidation through violence, an acutle aggesssive style that were effective yet wouldn’t fly in today’s NFL.

“If you could grab somebody’s helmet like that now, oh man. That would be lovely,” Mack said with a smile. “That would be lovely, man.”

A reporter also reminded him it’d be a fine. “I know, right?” Mack said. “That’d be a lot of money.”

Mack hasn't ever been fined. He has found a way to intimidate through proficiency, to excel in this era without the bravado typically accompanying such stature. His rarely wavers, but leadership has become more vocal with seasons gone by. Check out the peer pressure he applied to keep players out of trouble during summer break, telling them not to throw away a lottery ticket.

There’s no chance Mack will do so. He doesn’t take true breaks, preferring to stay in work mode during offseason lulls. He typically takes a few days after the season. He won’t go find some place exotic before training camp begins July 28, even when most others will.

“Everybody’s talking about what they might do, but I doubt it," Mack said, laughing. "I’m going to stay away from the beach. I grew up in Florida, I had 18 years to go out and walk on the sand, the beach and stuff. So, I’m over it. I’m going to be working.”