Raiders

Raiders hope to execute extension master plan 'in the correct timing'

Raiders hope to execute extension master plan 'in the correct timing'

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and eventually reward homegrown players. After dismantling a disjointed roster, getting right with the salary cap and drafting quality, he’s finally able to do that.

McKenzie didn’t wade into new waters. He jumped right in, with a cannonball. McKenzie allocated up to $181 million on two guys in a week’s time, unafraid to spend big on players he knows and trusts. It was the first phase of a master a master plan designed to keep a talented young core together.

McKenzie gave franchise quarterback Derek Carr a five-year, $125 million contract extension, a massive market-value sum for that position. Gabe Jackson signed a five-year deal worth $56 million seven days later.

The Raiders hope to extend Khalil Mack next offseason, and Amari Cooper a year after that. The team wants them appropriately spaced to optimize cash flow and mix elite deals with middle class contracts, a delicate balance required to remain competitive.

The Raiders wanted Carr and Jackson done right away, to prevent valued talent from entering contract years. The Raiders asked Carr to defer some payments to help keep the Raiders on schedule. The 26-year old complied.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” McKenzie said after Carr signed his contract. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

McKenzie wasn’t kidding. He went right to work on Gabe Jackson, and locked his right guard down posthaste.

The master plan won’t always operate at that pace, even with Mack eligible for an extension despite receiving a fifth-year option that puts his contract two years away from expiration. As McKenzie said, it’s all about “correct timing.”

Carr gave the Raiders financial flexibility to also get Jackson done now. They had $33 million in salary cap space before the Carr deal, and roughly $18 million apple after. It remains uncertain how much of a bite Jackson took, and some will go to yet unsigned draft picks Gareon Conley, Obi Melifonwu and Eddie Vanderdoes.

The Raiders have more financial flexibility next offseason, when Khalil Mack’s massive extension will take center stage. Mario Edwards Jr. might play himself into extension-worth graces if he can produce and stay healthy. Amari Cooper could command big dollars a season later.

Mack would be the third member of the 2014 draft class to get extended. That group helped turn the franchise around after a rough start, a fact that binds the group together.

“Sometimes during the season we’ll reflect on our rookie year, when we were 0-10 and really struggling,” Jackson said. “There’s a real appreciation for where we are. We know what it’s like to lose, and now we know how good it feels to win. It’s great, and we want to keep this good thing going.”

That isn’t all on players and coaches. The front office obviously plays a huge part. They can’t let top homegrown talent walk, and must continue drafting well when tighter budgets prevent McKenzie from keeping everyone.

He will pay big for his own guys, which is a message received by the Raiders locker room.

“I always say that if you live good and live clean outside of football, if you work your butt off and take care of business, people around here appreciate it,” Jackson said. “They may not say it all the time, but people pay attention to how you carry yourself and how you work on the field. That doesn’t go unrecognized.”

Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

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Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

MEXICO CITY – The President of the United States Donald Trump has taken several shots at players who choose to sit during the national anthem.

Raiders running back was in his crosshairs early Monday morning.

Trump was bothered by Lynch’s actions before Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca.

Lynch sat for the United States’ national anthem, as he has in every game this season. Then he stood for Mexico’s anthem, though he spent most of that song getting his equipment adjusted.

The President took exception in a Twitter rant that has become a staple of his presidency.

It is believed that Lynch is sitting in protest of racial inequality, a movement popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, though he has never declared that publicly. He refused to answer questions on that topic this summer.

That hasn’t stopped Trump from demanding he be suspended the rest of the season for his actions. The league won’t do that.

Trump won’t get his way, but with a quick Tweet he brought the issue to the Raiders’ doorstep in what will become a topic in Alameda all week.

Lynch was probably asleep when Trump’s tweet went public at 5:25 a.m. ET, and therefore hasn’t responded in any way.

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

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Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders. With their inconsistency and mistake-prone play, they can lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going Beast Mode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.