Raiders reward Jack Del Rio with new four-year deal

Raiders reward Jack Del Rio with new four-year deal

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had two years left on his original contract. It was sent through the paper shredder on Friday.

Del Rio was given a new four-year contract that includes a raise over his previous deal and carries through the 2020 season.

“We are excited to continue building on the strong foundation that has been established and this is a significant step in achieving that goal,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.

Del Rio was a major factor in the Raiders’ return to relevance, and changed the culture of a losing franchise that now expects to win. The team has a stable of young talent guided by a head coach well respected in the locker room and around the league.

The Raiders went 7-9 in his first season and 12-4 last year, a record that ended a long playoff drought.

A Del Rio extension was no surprise. It had been in the works a few weeks, with productive talks between both sides. Del Rio was the NFL’s lowest-paid head coach entering this hiring period, and deserved a raise and an extension despite having a few years left on his original deal.

This is another sign Davis believes he has the right people in important positions and wants to give his football product long-term stability. He extended general manager Reggie McKenzie’s contract last summer and Del Rio on Friday.

Franchise quarterback Derek Carr will likely receive a contract extension this offseason, and 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack will get a long-term deal when the time is right.

That should keep the Raiders competitive with strong leadership in the front office, the coaching staff and on both sides of the football.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.