When you are clearly the leader of a franchise that hasn’t been to the NFL playoffs in more than a decade and you put together a season that helps your club end that frustration, you are going to warrant a lot of attention one way or another. That is the case for Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. He was right in the middle of the 2016 NFL MVP discussion before going down with a broken leg in a Week 16 home win over the Indianapolis Colts. Still, Jack Del Rio’s club finished with a 12-4 record and the franchise made its first postseason appearance since 2002.

The team would fall to the Houston Texans in the wild card round with Connor Cook at quarterback. Now the topic at hand is Carr as he enters the final year of his original contract.

Stellar 2016 campaign

In three seasons with the Oakland Raiders, Carr has made steady progress as a player. And his third season really proved to be the charm. In 2016, he completed a career-best 63.8 percent of his passes for 3,937 yards in 15 games. The 26-year-old pro connected for 28 scores while being picked off just six times.

Carr fumbled five times and lost three of those miscues. The Raiders’ offensive unit would finish sixth in the NFL in total yards per game and produced an impressive 46 touchdowns – the vast majority of that under their starting quarterback’s command. Oakland averaged a brisk 26.0 points per game – ranking seventh in the league in that category.

What to look for in 2017

In three NFL seasons, the former Fresno State product has completed 60.9 percent of his passes, good for 11,194 yards. He’s thrown more than twice as many touchdown passes (81) as interceptions (31).

He’s certainly lived up to his end of a bargain contract. A second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2014, Carr originally signed a four-year, $5.371 million deal (via Spotrac). Can the organization get the talented signal-caller locked up before he has the opportunity to become a free agent in 2018? “I want Derek Carr to be a Raider for his career,” said team general manager Reggie McKenzie to Jimmy Durkin of the East Bay Times. “We’ll get it done however we need to get it done…I’m not the negotiator but I will make sure that I want Derek here and I want him to be a Raider and he knows that.

We’ve had many discussions leading to that, so that’s all I can say in that regard. We want Derek and Derek wants to be here.” You can expect the Raiders to get a deal done sooner than later with Carr, who has emerged as a two-time Pro Bowler and the clear leader of this current Oakland squad.

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