Update (5:03 p.m., 6/30/17): The Raiders have officially announced the signing of guard Gabe Jackson to a five-year contract extension.
The Raiders extended quarterback Derek Carr’s contract a week ago Thursday. It was never meant to stand alone. Carr’s massive new deal was the first in a series of pacts designed to keep a talented, young core intact.
Right guard Gabe Jackson was next in line for a new deal. It didn’t take long to get one.
Jackson agreed to a contract extension on Thursday, that will add five years to his tenure, league sources confirmed with NBC Sports California. Jackson can earn $56 million over the life of the contract, according to the NFL Network, which puts him in rare air in his position group. The deal also includes $26 million in guarantees, per ESPN, the largest sum among right guards.
The market for interior offensive linemen has exploded in recent years, launched upwards by the five-year, $58.5 million pact Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele agreed to during the 2016 offseason. Jackson moved from left to right for Osemele, and performed extremely well. The Mississippi State product didn't allow a sack in 2016, and gave up just 27 quarterback pressures in 735 pass-blocking snaps.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has no problem spending big on offensive linemen. He paid Osemele a massive sum in 2016, and gave center Rodney Hudson $44.5 million the year before.
Jackson’s contract structure is not yet known, though Carr’s five-year, $125 million extension might’ve made it possible to properly entice Jackson. Carr split bonus money between two seasons, which gave the Raiders 2017 salary cap space required to go after Jackson right away. They had roughly $18 million remaining after the Carr pact, with just their top three 2017 draft picks left to sign.
The 2014 third-round pick was entering a contract year, and the Raiders didn’t want him anywhere near unrestricted free agency.
Now Carr and Jackson are locked up, leaving one more member of a star-studded 2014 draft class left to extend. First-round edge rusher Khalil Mack will sign a massive contract extension, though there’s no rush to do so at this stage. The Raiders exercised the fifth-year option on 2014’s No. 5 overall pick, meaning his deal won’t expire until after the 2018 season.
That gives the Raiders time to rein in the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. An extension should come during the next offseason, when the Raiders have the financial flexibility required to pull off another blockbuster deal.
The team wanted to get Carr and Jackson done this summer. Carr said his extension talks were “easy.” Jackson’s were fast. The deal came together quickly, as both sides agreed on terms that will keep Jackson well paid for a long time.
The interior offensive line is locked up long term, which should provide stability protecting Derek Carr. Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn also enters a contract year, though it’s uncertain how much longer the 34-year old wants to play despite excellent production in recent seasons. The Raiders have an open competition at the right tackle spot.