NFL Free Agency Primer: Derek Carr

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Derek Carr

The Las Vegas Raiders dramatically benched quarterback Derek Carr after 15 starts in 2022, and their inevitable divorce was finalized earlier this week. Carr now enters unrestricted free agency as a four-time Pro Bowler who has yet to turn 32 years old. Carr has never won a playoff game in his career, but that doesn't mean he can't radically change a franchise's fortunes: Matthew Stafford was 0-3 in the postseason before landing with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, and he immediately led them to a Super Bowl.

The Fit:

Carr is an adequate passer who has yet to flirt with elite status; the Raiders never ranked better than seventh in scoring in his nine seasons as their leading passer. It's difficult to separate quarterback play from surrounding talent, so it is possible he could jump a level if surrounded by the right pieces. He should be the top priority for any team who doesn't have a slam-dunk franchise passer in place. The New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers could all convince themselves they'd have a chance at the playoffs by adding him.

The Contract:

Quarterbacks of Carr's age, health, and calibre very seldom hit free agency, so there is little precedent on which to base his contract. Just last year, he signed a three-year pact that was set to pay him approximately $40.5 million per season. So long as he has multiple suitors, he'll likely match or even exceed that. If he inspires an outright bidding war, the ceiling for his services may approach DeShaun Watson's ridiculous, fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.  

Photo Credit: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports