The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to have to pony up for Jameis Winston at some point in the next three years. And that’s going to be really expensive: Derek Carr just signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Oakland Raiders—as reported yesterday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
That $25 million per year pricetag makes Carr the most expensive quarterback in the NFL, but that record is likely to be shattered when Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota get their deals done. The number one and number two picks of the 2014 NFL draft have two seasons left on their contracts, plus a third option year which will be picked up—and then it’s $$$ time.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the dollar value of those extensions will soar past $30 million per year, especially if the salary cap keeps rising. Carr’s contract is worth almost 15% of the current leaguewide salary cap, which is set at $167 million. That’s pretty much what the market cap for quarterbacks is: Peyton Manning received as much back in 2011 when he signed his contract with the Indianapolis Colts, getting $18 million per year on a $120 million salary cap.
One interesting factor here will be the new collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season. Winston’s current contract will run through the 2019 season, if we include the fifth-year option that is certain to be picked up. The Bucs could conceivable use the franchise tag on him in 2020, and then see how the prospective new CBA will change things.
It’s more likely that they’ll sign him to a new deal at some point in the next two years, avoiding the franchise tag and a lot of drama. Winston’s going nowhere. He’s just going to force the Bucs to pay him a ton of money.