Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins have made it clear that they are in no rush to strike a deal with their respective teams, hoping to hold out for their big pay day. Both have proven that they are Franchise-quarterbacks and have each led their teams to recent playoff runs. Cousins has made some big plays with his young core of receiving talent, while Carr is making just as many plays with his personnel.
While the similarities between the two quarterbacks are apparent, their current contract situations are different. Kirk is coming off his best season as a member of the Washington Redskins, surpassing his previous passing yards’ totals from the 2015 season, and was once again tagged as the team’s exclusive franchise player. Carr on the other hand had a career year in 2016 with the Oakland Raiders but ended the season on the IR with an incredibly untimely injury that fractured his fibula.
The way the Redskins handled Kirk’s contract situation is quite interesting, with some reports of them once having the opportunity to sign him for as little as $20 million a year before his breakout 2015 season. Kirk currently has all the leverage in negotiating a long-term deal with the Redskins, knowing that the team has no other viable option at the most sought after position in football.
Kirk’s contract situation will play out in one of three ways:
1) Kirk signs a long-term deal with the Redskins in the range of his current annual salary ($23.94 million) for approximately 4 years,
2) The Redskins can’t negotiate a fair deal for each party and Kirk plays on the tag, with the possibility of being tagged a third time in 2018 (at a steep $34.47 million price),
3) Kirk makes it known that unless he gets a long-term deal this year, he is basically a “rental” for the Redskins this year and then he would likely test free agency in 2018. The most likely scenario is option #3, as I doubt Kirk’s agent will let his man sign for anything other than a Joe Flacco-like deal that pushes the Redskins financially.
Carr’s contract situation is much more promising as he is coming off a great 2016 season and had the potential to make deep playoff run with the Raiders if he could stay on the field. The Raiders are also incredibly happy with their young QB and willing to cater more to his contract demands knowing that he thrives in their system. Recently Carr made it known that he would prefer to wait until the start of training camp, but not far after before negotiating any type of extension.
However, let’s just say something catastrophic happens for the Raiders during the OTAs (similar to last year’s Teddy Bridgewater injury) and Oakland is left with another year of wondering what could have been. If that is the case, here are their options:
1) Sign Carr now, with specific clauses for the event of a major injury.
2) Cater to Carr and wait until the beginning of training camp before negotiating, while praying nothing happens to him in the meantime.
3) Take a Cousins-esque approach and wait until the end of the season to start negotiating future plans. Likely, option #2 happens and everyone is happy and they move forward towards a bright future.
Ultimately, these deals are going to come down to just how much money these teams are willing to shell out for these young Franchise-caliber quarterbacks. The Redskins, currently operating without a formal GM, look much more likely than the Raiders to botch their QB contract situation. If the Redskins truly can’t pull off a deal, their fans will be stuck shaking their heads wondering what could have been. The Raiders on the other hand will learn from other teams’ mistakes and will likely take care of their own.
It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.