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Derek Carr drops deadline on Raiders

The Oakland Raiders had their first winning season since 2002 last year, albeit with an ending that was more disappointing than The Sopranos’ ending. Oakland is returning all of its key players for 2017, including quarterback Derek Carr, who entering his fourth season is one of the league’s rising stars at its most important position.

However, not everything looms sunny for the Raiders. After watching Carr blossom for three years, the youngster out of Fresno State has just one year remaining on his rookie deal. Should the team and player not agree to a contract extension before the end of the season, Oakland faces the prospect of either signing Carr with no leverage should he have another quality campaign.

With that in mind, Carr is pushing the tempo on talks. Following an OTA session on Tuesday, the 26-year-old told local media that the Raiders have until the beginning of training camp to lock in an extension. Otherwise, he’s moving on until after the season. Per ESPN:

“I wouldn’t even answer my phone,” Carr said Tuesday, following the Raiders’ open-to-the-media OTA practice. “The money isn’t the thing that drives me. … What drives me is making sure I’m giving everything that I have with my abilities, and making sure that we win. And I don’t want anything distracting my thought process at all.

“Now, that’s not a jab, or anything like that. That’s just me saying I’m not going to deal with anything that’s not helping me just focus on winning.”

Before the hand-wringing sets in, there are a few points to clarify. If the Raiders come in heavy with an offer in August, Carr’s representation is going to listen. Additionally, Oakland better be ready to open the checkbook, because anything less than $75 million guaranteed and a total value south of $120 million won’t get the job done. In recent years, we have seen the quarterback market set by Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, all whom are making more than $100 million on their current deals.

Ultimately, Carr won’t leave unless the Raiders bungle this negotiation in epic fashion. The NFL’s current CBA is set up to help teams retain their best players. If talks break down, Oakland can always use the franchise tag for at least two years to keep negotiations alive, much like Kirk Cousins and the Redskins have done. It’s not ideal, and this situation shouldn’t come to that, but it’s a failsafe.

General manager Reggie McKenzie has to make sure he locks up Carr. Without him, the Raiders are a bad team in a lame duck city, waiting for them to move to Las Vegas.

Advantage, Carr.

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