Rewind six months ago, Derek Carr was all the rage in the NFL. He had just become the richest player in the NFL and he was the quarterback of a legit Super Bowl contender. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Carr’s fellow 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo toiled in anonymity behind the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Today, Carr faces a critical 2018 season after being the toast of the league. Garoppolo is the new NFL flavor of the moment, and he is now the richest player in the NFL, leapfrogging Carr and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who bypassed Carr in August.
Oh, and it’s a legitimate question, is Carr now not only the poorest starting quarterback in the Bay Area but is he the second-best quarterback in GoogleLand as well?
Common sense lends us to say, of course, not; Carr is the superior player to Garoppolo, who was traded from New England to the San Francisco 49ers at the trade deadline. Garoppolo, who looked good as a suspension replacement for Tom Brady at the start of the 2016 season, was unreal for the 49ers, going 5-0 as the starter and he looked brilliant in the process.
Yeah, yeah, back to common sense. Carr is still better, right?
I’m not sure common sense always applies to the NFL. I know there are some folks in the NFL who would rather have Jimmy G. than Carr. That wasn’t the case on the draft night. Carr was the No. 36 pick in 2014, while Bill Belichick nabbed Garoppolo 26 picks later.
Carr certainly has a more proven NFL track record than his Bay Area counterpart. Carr has been a starter since Day 1. Garoppolo? Well, the pretty boy only has seven NFL starts under his belt. But it’s an explosive small sample size.
Here is why Garoppolo is now the richest player in the league (until Kirk Cousins signs somewhere in about five weeks): He is 7-0 as a starter. Winning is a drug in NFL front offices. The 49ers were high as shit on the Jimmy G. smoke.
Carr cashed in on getting Reggie McKenzie high, too. He signed his five-year, $125 million deal (Garoppolo’s reported deal is five years, $137.5 million), after leading the Raiders to a 12-4 record, the team’s first winning record in 14 years.
Carr deserved the market deal. However, he floundered for much of last season after signing the deal. Jon Gruden’s (a virtual steal at 10 years, $100 million) biggest task is getting Carr right and making the Raiders a winner again.
He has flaws Gruden must fix. Now, Garoppolo appears to be flawless (the last name is a pain to remember how to spell, but I digress). Of course, no QB is flawless. Jimmy G. will show some warts, but the truth is he looks good. He looks worth the money.
There are now questions about Carr’s worth when it comes to his deal. If Carr struggles this season, there will be talk about the Raiders walking away from him when they can.
The same thing can happen to Jimmy G.
For now, both are rich 26-year-olds with a lot to prove. Which one is better, the seasoned starter guy on the East Bay or the undefeated whiz in the South Bay?
Time will tell, but I tell you what, I can’t wait to these guys share the same field in Santa Clara this fall.