Derek Carr, Contract, Rumors, NY Jets, Free Agent
Derek Carr, New York Jets, Getty Images

Derek Carr’s $35 million asking price might not be his true cost for the New York Jets

Death, taxes, and another report about the NFL quarterback market.

That’s been the daily and sometimes hourly reality for the start of the 2023 offseason, especially for New York Jets fans.

Recently, Diana Russini of ESPN reported that Derek Carr is seeking $35 million per year or more for his next contract. That seems about in line with what was expected; in fact, $40 million was thrown out quite regularly, so $35 million seemed like somewhat of a bargain.

However, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Carr may not actually command even that $35 million.

Per Breer, the Jets specifically told Carr that they’re exploring all their options on the QB market and will be checking in with Aaron Rodgers. This comes as no surprise, and Carr is surely aware that Rodgers is the Jets’ No. 1 target.

However, they also surprisingly indicated that they’ll be keeping an eye on not only Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill, but also Daniel Jones and Geno Smith.

According to Breer, considering that Carr could not find a team to take on his previous contract with a $38.7 million AAV, it stands to reason that his actual market may be less than $35 million.

Meanwhile, Breer’s summary of the Rodgers situation is pretty much all the information that is known to this point. Rodgers has a steep cap hit for 2022, and the Packers finally think Jordan Love is ready. Therefore, they’d potentially be open to trading him.

However, Rodgers must be all-in for that to happen, including restructuring his contract. This could turn into a Brady-to-Tampa situation with a lower trade price than anticipated (although Breer noted that an owner’s involvement could raise the price, a clear nod to Woody Johnson).

Breer also said that a Rodgers return to Green Bay is in play.

QB market conundrum

Breer addressed the overall issue that teams are finding in the quarterback market: the lack of a middle ground. There are many contracts in the $35 million-plus range, and after that, the market pretty much falls to around $10 million or lower.

With many non-elite quarterbacks potentially hitting the market this offseason, it creates a difficult dilemma: what do teams do with a guy who’s more than a JAG but is not a top-10 QB?

This falls in line with Daniel Jones’s reported asking price of $45 million per year.

According to Breer, one potential solution for this is similar to how teams addressed the problem 10 years ago: contracts that are high in AAV but low in hard guarantees.

The question is if the leverage is truly in the hands of the QBs or the teams. Is there a difference between the money that Carr can command and that of Jones, Smith, Garoppolo, and Tannehill?

How will Lamar Jackson’s contract shake out? That can also impact these other deals, depending on which one goes first. Does Jackson get the full guarantees he wants?

These will be interesting developments to monitor.

Stay tuned for the next episode of The QB Files.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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