ALAMEDA – Quarterback Derek Carr prefers to focus on football. He understands a long-term contract extension on the agenda, with serious talks starting posthaste.
NFL football, after all, is big business. Top-flight quarterbacks get a decent slice.
The Raiders wanted to wait until after the NFL Draft before cranking up negotiations. Carr has made it clear a deal should be done before Raiders training camp begins this summer.
Players should report July 28, with the first full-squad practice the following day. Carr said he won't talk contract after that, and would be content to play out the final year of his rookie contract.
"I wouldn't even answer my phone," Carr said after Tuesday's OTA practice. "The money isn't the thing that drives me. If it was, I shouldn't be standing here, to be honest. What drives me is making sure I'm getting the best of my abilities, and making sure that we win. I don't want anything distracting from that thought process at all. That's not a jab or anything like that. It's just me saying that I'm not going to deal with anything that's not helping me focus on winning."
Carr doesn't want his contract to become a distraction. An extension should reach nine figures with significant guaranteed money, but he doesn't want to think about it when the season ramps up and winning becomes his only concern.
He doesn't want teammates bothered by it, either. Khalil Mack was asked about Carr's contract talks last week on SportsCenter, which irked the young quarterback to no end.
A roughly eight-week window remains to agree on terms of a huge extension the Raiders have budgeted for and don't mind paying. General manager Reggie McKenzie has said a deal will get done – both sides expect that – and that it's an offseason priority to reward his franchise quarterback financially. The Raiders plan to pay Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack hefty sums in the relatively near future. Carr's deal might be the most pressing.
There's time to iron out a complicated contract that would be the biggest in Raiders history, though Carr said there's "nothing new to report" toward achieving that end.
"I'm hoping things will pick up here real soon, which we're expecting anyway," Carr said. "They've been talking to my agent (Tim Younger), and things like that. Things will get going real soon I would hope because, once training camp hits, I'm all football. I'm not going to distract my teammates. You guys will want to know and things like that.
"Trust me, if it's not done by training camp, we're not going to be talking about it. I'm focused on football. I just want to win. All that other stuff is fun and cool and has to happen because it's a business, but there are so many things I want to work on. And I don't want to distract my teammates.
Carr again said he isn't troubled by the pace of negotiations, but wants them wrapped during a downtime in the football schedule.
"Hopefully it will get done," Carr said. "Both sides keep saying it's going to get done. I'm not worried about it, to let you know that. Once camp starts, I don't want to be a distraction. I've made it very clear I want to be a Raider my entire career. I don't want to play for anybody else. They've told me how bad they want me, so we'll see."