It was one of the most endearing quotes from new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie after he introduced Dennis Allen as the team's incoming head coach."We've got some contracts," McKenzie said on Jan. 30, "that are kind of out of whack."It was also one of his most enduring quotes.Figures obtained by CSNBayArea.com show exactly where the Raiders sit when it comes to money earmarked for the salary cap -- Oakland has 145,774,984 in player contracts that currently count toward the 2012 cap. Subtract the reported 3.23 million the Raiders can roll over from the 2011 books, and they have 142,514,984 devoted to the 2012 cap.Keep in mind, the cap for 2012 has yet to be established or announced, but it is thought to be similar to last year's cap of 120.375 million, if slightly higher. Which means the Raiders are possibly sitting more than 22 million over the cap.Teams must be in compliance with the new cap -- whatever that figure may be -- by March 13, the start of the new league year, when free agency and trades begin."In my discussions and viewing the cap situation," McKenzie said at the time, "we should be fine."Some reports have the Raiders "expected" to be 11 million over the cap when that figure is announced. Turns out it might actually be double that number. Because simply cutting players might not do the trick by itself, not when released cornerback Stanford Routt still counts 10,785,334 towards the Raiders cap in 2012 as "dead money."So who else is a prime candidate to have their contract re-structured or even find himself on the chopping block? A look at the salary cap figures reveals 16 players that have cap numbers of at least 3.3 million and might want to sit near their phone over the next few weeksPlayer 2012 Salary Cap Number (in millions)TE Kevin Boss 4.75OG Cooper Carlisle 3.3LB Aaron Curry 5.75.75DT John Henderson 4.75WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 8.159FS Michael Huff 9.82.875PK Sebastian Janikowski 4.5CB Chris Johnson 4.5DT Tommy Kelly 8.874.266P Shane Lechler 4.9LB Rolando McClain 3.64RB Darren McFadden 9.478.833QB Carson Palmer 12.5CB Stanford Routt 10.785.334DT Richard Seymour 14.068LB Kamerion Wimbley 11.85
Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.
One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.
Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.
There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.
Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.
“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”
Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.
“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.
“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”
Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.
“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”
Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.
“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is headed to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He became eligible once New England qualified for the Super Bowl and Tom Brady was out of the running for next week’s NFL all-star game in Orlando.
Carr was the next alternate up, and accepted the invitation to represent the Silver and Black. Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn were named to the original roster, though Penn has bowed out with injury.
Carr will join his teammates in Florida for game-week festivities, followed by the inter-conference clash on Sunday at noon at Camping World Stadium. The game can be seen on ABC.
He joins Rich Gannon and Ken Stabler as Raiders quarterbacks with at least three Pro Bowl selections. Carr had a down year relative to his previous two, but still posted standout numbers. He had 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and an 86.4 passer rating.
The Raiders finished a disappointing 6-10, and head coach Jack Del Rio was fired in favor of Jon Gruden.
“It was not the year we wanted, but to still be recognized by you, Raider Nation and fans everywhere, and the players and coaches you go against is an extremely high honor I will always be thankful for!” Carr wrote in a note posted on Twitter. “Although I am extremely blessed to be thought of in such a way by my peers, I understand there is more work to do. There is more to achieve and more to accomplish and I will now ret until we get there, Raider Nation!”