The title-starved Las Vegas Raiders chose not to ride this offseason's chaotic quarterback carousel. Instead, they exercised trust and faith in the incumbent starter, signing veteran Derek Carr to a three-year, $121.5 million extension that runs through the 2025 campaign. Under this contract, the 31-year-old will earn $40.5 million annually, which ranks fifth-highest among NFL quarterbacks.
Las Vegas isn't favored to capture its first AFC West title in two-plus decades. The division is currently stacked with playoff-caliber talent, and features stars Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson as fearsome opposition. But the Raiders are counting on Carr to elevate his game in win-now mode for the foreseeable future. And with superstar receiver Davante Adams in the mix for top targets, Las Vegas should remain a top-10 passing offense.
"This last year, when they made the playoffs, they overcame a lot of horrible situations, with the car accident and Jon Gruden's emails. So, Carr definitely deserves a lot of credit for that," Raiders reporter Vic Tafur explained to After Hours with Amy Lawrence on Thursday. "He definitely was one of the big-time leaders on the team, and he got them to the playoffs. I just thought that, with the new regime coming in, it might be time for them to get their own guy.
"But, Josh McDaniels says he likes Carr, and wants to give him a shot. They kind of set up a team-friendly deal, so he's back, and now you've got Adams. It's all on the line for Derek Carr. In most years, we'll say that it's a year of no excuses. Well, this really is a year of no excuses for Carr. He has a chance to be a top-10 quarterback again and go far in the playoffs, if things go right."
Carr, who helped Las Vegas clinch a postseason berth last season, threw for a career-high 4,804 yards in 17 games with 23 touchdowns and a 94.0 passer rating. But his season wasn't mistake-free, as he also logged 14 interceptions and was sacked 40 times -- the second-highest mark of his eight-year career. In the team's 26-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC wild-card round, Carr completed 29 of 54 passes for 310 yards with one score and one pick.
The Raiders' middle-of-the-pack scoring offense should improve drastically with the addition of Adams, who approved a mammoth trade-and-sign with the Green Bay Packers in March and is now the NFL's second-highest paid receiver. Carr spent two years playing with Adams at Fresno State (2012-13), and during that period, Adams led the FBS in receptions, touchdowns, and yards. Las Vegas currently owns the lowest AFC West odds, per Caesars.
The entire NFL conversation between Tafur and Lawrence can be accessed in the audio player above.
You can follow After Hours With Amy Lawrence on Twitter @ALawRadio and @AfterHoursCBS, and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.