You don't get to talk publicly about how important it was to you to help your team be able to sign some other players on your roster when you ink a deal that makes you the highest-paid player in the history of the sport. If that wasn't a known rule before, it should be one now.
Yet that is exactly what Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said at his recent press conference after he signed a new five-year deal with the Raiders for over $125 million. His "new money" average of slightly over $25 million per year makes him the first NFL player to break the $25 million per season threshold.
This isn't about whether Carr is worth the money. He's well worth it. The Raiders went 12-3 in the 15 games Carr started last season before breaking his leg in Week 16 against the Colts, effectively ruining any hopes the team had of a playoff run. He threw 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions in those 15 games, as he led the Raiders to their first playoff berth since 2002.
The crazy thing is Carr's value is even greater than those lofty numbers suggest. Like his counterpart on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders, Khalil Mack, Carr is not just outstanding; he's also clutch. According to NFL.com, his 11 fourth-quarter comebacks over the past two years tie Peyton Manning's stretch in 2008-09 as the best in NFL history.
He's also an unbelievable leader and brand ambassador for the Raiders, seemingly always saying and doing the right thing like any organization would want from their franchise quarterback. But he's not perfect, and his assertion that he wanted to do the deal in a manner to make it easier for the Raiders to sign Mack and others doesn't pass the sniff test.
"We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization," Carr said. "That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could. I hope that that's known. Obviously, the position that I play, it has to be around a certain number. It just is what it is. At the same time, I told [my agent], if we can structure it in a way to help the Raiders get the other guys, give them an opportunity to come in, that that would be really important to me too."
Maybe deep down he truly believes that, but looking at the contract and knowing that he's now the highest-paid player in the history of the league makes that a tough comment to accept. He deserves every penny and more, but you can't sign a contract like that and still lay claim to doing the team a solid at the same time.
So, what could Carr think he did to help the team?
"He spread the bonus money out over two years rather than all up front. That gives them a chance to sign Gabe Jackson," Scott Bair, the Raiders insider for NBC Sports Bay Area, told me on my SiriusXM show.
There may be an inkling of truth to that, but for Carr to act like he was doing the team some kind of solid in that way is a stretch.
Could he have maybe gotten more money than he did? Perhaps, but he was scheduled to make less than $1 million this season and then could've potentially played the franchise tag game with the Raiders a la Kirk Cousins and the Redskins the next few years. For a guy who just broke his leg, that's clearly a risk Carr didn't want to take.
You can't argue that he took below market value like Tom Brady consistently does. Not when it's the richest contract ever doled out in the history of the sport. Brady, it should be noted, also doesn't spend any time talking about the fact that he takes less money for the good of the team. He just does it.
None of this really matters in the big scheme of things moving forward. Carr will be the face of the franchise for years to come and, based on the growth of the salary cap, may even look underpaid by the time the team moves into its new digs in Las Vegas.
Maybe then he can claim he did the Raiders a favor by signing a deal to make him the highest-paid player in league history.
But not now.