Two things — 1) Carr’s injury may have actually helped him in negotiations. The team folded without him, and that might have proved his value more than a first or second round loss in the playoffs, even if Carr played well.
2) I was talking about this with my father recently. There really hasn’t been a franchise QB that’s hit the free market in their prime. The closest I can think of are Peyton Manning after his neck injuries, and Drew Brees who had injury questions as well. The main reason seems to be that teams will 1)pay what they have to, and 2) have so much leverage with the franchise tag that it’s hard for any QB to justify waiting it out under one-year deals when they can basically sign a contract that guarantees their financial future for the rest of their life.
But, hypothetically, how much would a Derek Carr/Russell Wilson/Cam Newton make on the open market? What about Aaron Rodgers? I mean, if you’re Cleveland, or Jacksonville, or L.A. (Rams), or Miami, do you throw $30 million at him and see if he’ll sign? What about $35? My guess is it tops out around $40, but you only have to get one team to offer it. Ndomukong Suh’s averaging around 20 million per year, and his cap hit in 2019 is $28 million.
We’ll get a glimpse with Kirk Cousins next year, but I wouldn’t put him in that tier.