Derek Carr contract details: QB gets no-trade clause, Saints get exit ramp in 2025

Both sides have to feel happy about this one. We’ve got the details on Derek Carr’s contract with the New Orleans Saints thanks to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, and it’s enlightening. While the new deal is being advertised as a four-year, $150 million commitment (and it does max out at those values), in reality Carr’s per-year earnings will fall to about half of that. Thanks to some creative accounting, the Saints structured this so that Carr’s 2023 salary cap hit is only about $7.2 million, taking up roughly 3.2% of the league spending limit. Carr got a no-trade clause out of the arrangement, which gives him some control in the second half of his career.

Florio reports that Carr received a $28.5 million signing bonus from New Orleans, which will toll over the course of five years (with a void year likely written into 2027 for accounting purposes). Most interesting is the non-guaranteed $50 million base salary written in for 2026. That raises the overall average per-year income from $33.3 million to $37.5 million per year, boosting Carr from ranking 12th among quarterbacks to 9th. That $50 million is funny money, though, and it’ll either be wiped out in an eventual release or else be restructured into a signing bonus on a new deal.

Here’s what you need to know about Carr’s new contract with the Saints, based off Florio’s reporting:

  • 2023: $7,200,000 salary cap hit ($1,500,000 base salary, $5,700,000 signing bonus proration)

  • 2024: $35,700,000 salary cap hit ($30,000,000 base salary, $5,700,000 signing bonus proration)

  • 2025: $45,700,000 salary cap hit ($30,000,000 base salary, $5,700,000 signing bonus proration, $10,000,000 roster bonus)

  • 2026: $55,700,000 salary cap hit ($50,000,000 base salary, $5,700,000 signing bonus proration)

  • 2027: $5,700,000 salary cap hit (Contract voids, leaving $5,700,000 behind in dead money from signing bonus proration)

The Saints can kick the can down the road in each of those future years with more restructures, converting base salary and roster bonuses into new signing bonuses, but that won’t happen if Carr hasn’t earned it. Only his base salaries in 2023 and 2024 are guaranteed at signing, and his 2025 base salary is only guaranteed for injury. A $10 million portion of his 2025 base salary will become guaranteed if he’s still on the roster in 2024 (that’s the roster bonus mentioned earlier).

So the Saints gave themselves an exit ramp here in 2025. If Carr declines and doesn’t perform as hoped, they can release him after two years and be left a dead money salary cap charge of about $27,100,000 between the guaranteed roster bonus and leftover signing bonus prorations (which accelerate to the year he’s released). There are more factors we don’t know about yet, and they could spread out those dead money costs by designating him a post-June 1 cut, but that’s the gist of it. Hopefully Carr continues to play at a Pro Bowl level so he can get this team where they want to go.


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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire