Report: Derek Carr wants $35 million per year

Free-agent quarterback Derek Carr got a one-month head start on the open market. Nearly two weeks into it, he still hasn’t signed.

When he does, he’s got a specific financial goal in mind.

Dianna Russini of ESPN recently said that Carr wants a contract with an average value of $35 million per year. Russini also said that Carr “doesn’t need to be the first quarterback to sign.”

If true, that contradicts the prior vibe from Camp Carr. He wanted to join a new team so that he could help the team recruit other free agents.

The fact that Carr doesn’t have a deal doesn’t mean he won’t get the financial package he’s looking for. It just means interested teams may want to see whether other specific quarterbacks are available before committing to Carr.

And $35 million per year isn’t unreasonable. It’s Kirk Cousins money, and Carr is basically on par with Cousins — good enough to win games, not great enough to win a championship absent plenty of help.

As always, the truth will be in the details of any deal Carr signs. If it’s important to him to get to an average of $35 million, the back end can be inflated to get there. The far more important factors will be the signing bonus, the other full guarantees at signing, and the guarantees that flip from injury-only to full guarantees after one year, and after two years.

Carr has visited the Jets and Saints. The Panthers were installed as the betting favorites to land Carr. He has yet to visit them. And coach Frank Reich was coy was when asked recently about the possibility.

Under Carr’s contract with the Raiders, he had a salary of $32.9 million for 2023. Carr was released the day before the payment would have become fully guaranteed, along with $7.5 million in 2024 base salary.

Carr’s brother, David, has said that Derek’s search for a new team will be a long process. In the end, it could make sense for Derek to see how the first wave of free agency plays out. Although there’s a risk that budgets will be largely exhausted by then, there’s also a chance that a quarterback-needy team will be feeling desperate if other options don’t pan out.

That raises the question of whether a team that doesn’t acquire a new quarterback early in free agency will wait to see what happens in the draft, which could delay Carr’s signing into late April or early May.

However it plays out, there’s surely a landing spot for Carr. In today’s NFL, there aren’t nearly enough just-good-enough quarterbacks to good around.

Report: Derek Carr wants $35 million per year originally appeared on Pro Football Talk