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Considering Derek Carr’s contract midst Jimmy Garoppolo negotiations

We’re hearing Carr’s name come up, so it’s time to take a look.

The San Francisco 49ers might be closing in on a contract extension with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and even if it takes a little more time, we’re hearing the same comparison over and over again. NFL Network reporters Ian Rapoport and Mike Garofolo have both mentioned Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s $25 million per year contract as a potential comp.

If and when Garoppolo gets his deal done, the first thing we will hear is how much the APY is, and how much “guaranteed money” is included in the deal. While there will be the potential to earn all that money, in reality, those first figures will usually be somewhat funny money.

NFL contracts are worth however much per year, but given that deals are not fully guaranteed, we know a player will not actually end up earning all the money in that contract. They might end up with more money due to a future contract extension, but a deal will be renegotiated before it ends, or a player will be cut or traded before it ends.

The first guaranteed figure we hear will usually not be the fully guaranteed money. It will be what is guaranteed for injury, with further guarantees for cap and skill somewhat to a lot lower.

Given the Carr mentions, I thought I would put together a full breakdown of what his deal looks like. This is not to say Garoppolo’s deal will look exactly the same, but given the comps, it’s a useful comparison.

Carr signed the contract on June 22, 2017. He was entering the final season of the rookie contract he signed in 2014. The deal was reported as five years, $125.025 million. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported the deal included $70.2 million guaranteed. Of that total, $40 million was fully guaranteed, and an addition $30.2 million was guaranteed for injury.

The fully guaranteed money included a $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus in 2017, his $5 million salary in 2017, and a $15 million roster bonus in 2018. His signing bonus prorates out to $2.5 million per year, but his 2017 prorated bonus money includes the remainder of his rookie contract. Additionally, since it was signed in 2017, the five years of proration are 2017-2021, leaving no signing bonus proration in the final year of the contract.

One figure always worth noting is what the player is due to make over his first three seasons. Carr could earn $69 million over his first three years.

Where it gets interesting with Garoppolo is with the franchise tag. If the 49ers tagged him this year, it would be worth just under $24 million. If they did it again in 2019, it would be worth around $28 million. That brings two years of potentially fully guaranteed money to $52 million. One would have to think you’re looking at that as a bare minimum on this deal.

Does a Carr comp make sense? That’s for Don Yee and Paraag Marathe to decide. Carr had three years as the Raiders starting quarterback. He had shown signs of progression each of his first three seasons. He took a step back this year, but the deal was already signed.

I can’t really think of a realistic comp to Garoppolo. He’s only started seven games, but these past five he looked great. He won’t maintain that pace for the rest of his career, but if the 49ers are going to lock him down now, it will be weighted more heavily than it might otherwise. It makes for a fascinating negotiation.

Here’s a breakdown of Carr’s five year contract, courtesy of Over The Cap/Graziano.


Base salary: $5,000,000
Roster bonus: $7,650,000
Workout bonus: $25,000
Prorated SB: $3,056,691

Cap hit: $15,731,691


Base salary: $7,400,000
Roster bonus: $15,000,000
Workout bonus: $100,000
Prorated SB: $2,500,000

Cap hit: $25,000,000


Base salary: $19,900,000
Workout bonus: $100,000
Prorated SB: $2,500,000

Cap hit: $22,500,000


Base salary: $18,900,000
Workout bonus: $100,000
Prorated SB: $2,500,000

Cap hit: $21,500,000


Base salary: $19,525,000
Workout bonus: $100,000
Prorated SB: $2,500,000

Cap hit: $22,125,000


Base salary: $19,777,519
Workout bonus: $100,000

Cap hit: $19,877,519