Last Thursday, Derek Carr became the highest paid player in league history, according to Ian Rapoport from NFL Network. Carr’s new contract gives him 125 million bucks over the next five years, and it’s a very well-deserved deal.
The Raiders have been a proud franchise to say the least, from their Super Bowl wins in 1976, 1980, and 1983, to their resurgence in the early 2000s. However, after losing 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVIII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team failed to make the playoffs until this past season thanks to the likes of QB Derek Carr and star wideout Amari Cooper leading the way.
This sudden spark didn’t happen overnight though once Carr was drafted going into the 2014 season, Carr went 3 wins and 13 losses in his rookie campaign as a starter for the Raiders. The following year, (2015) the Raiders climbed up to a 7-win season and hit a new high with 12 wins last season.
Carr’s numbers have also dramatically climbed in that time span as well, going from a 76.6 QB Rating during his rookie year, to a 96.7 rating in 2016. Carr’s career has been a pattern of constant improvement the following season, and it’s been a long time since the Raiders have had a stable QB in the starting lineup, so as far as the contract goes, Carr is worth every penny. But there’s still room to grow.
The Raiders lost in the wild card round to the Houston Texans 27-14, a game in which Carr missed because of injury. The insult was made even greater by the fact that the Texans were beaten by Oakland in week 11 by a score of 27-20, WITH Carr in the lineup.
Carr and Cooper, along with Linebacker Khalil Mack, are the three key components to making the Raiders a credible threat in the AFC. I don’t think they could beat the Patriots, but with the potential that’s dripping out of the 4th year Quarterback, it just MIGHT happen.