Raiders face multiple tough road stretches in 2017 schedule

Raiders face multiple tough road stretches in 2017 schedule

The Raiders gave up a home game to play in Mexico City and will take seven road trips into the Central Time Zone and beyond, including four along the eastern seaboard.

Head coach Jack Del Rio just hoped NFL schedule makers would give his Raiders a “fair shake.” The Silver and Black were put in some tough spots last year, including three road games in the first four weeks, a trip to Mexico and a Thursday night affair two times zones away in Kansas City where the Raiders looked flat.

The Raiders' 2017 schedule, which was released on Thursday evening, has more difficulties associated with travel. When giving away a home game, a travel inbalance will always exist. They start the season with three road games in four weeks, and will do so again from Weeks 8-11.

Oakland plays at Buffalo and then Miami, with a bye week separating a home game against New England to be played in Mexico City.

Del Rio requested back-to-back long road trips so the team could stay on the road as they did last season, when they won consecutive games at Jacksonville and at Tampa Bay.

There isn’t something as convenient as that Florida two-step, but it looks like they’ll stay out east between contests at Buffalo and then Miami. If that’s the case, they could use the same Central Florida facilities used a year ago. That travel decision has not been announced.

There's one clear improvement over last season, with a Thursday Night game played at home against Kansas City.

The bye should help prepare for the Patriots, and a home stretch could help them get right before finishing the season with two holiday road games. They play in Philadelphia on Christmas night and the L.A. Chargers on New Year’s Eve to close the season.

Despite some tough stretches, this schedule certainly puts the Raiders in the spotlight.

They’ll be featured in five primetime games, including a Sunday Night home game against Dallas that should be a great matchup and a Thursday Night home against rival Kansas City. They also play Sunday Night games at Washington and Miami and will spend their Christmas on Monday Night Football.

NFL rumors: Derek Carr has 'fractured relationship' with Raiders teammates


NFL rumors: Derek Carr has 'fractured relationship' with Raiders teammates

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said goodbye to longtime teammate Amari Cooper on Monday. He reportedly has work to do to repair his relationship with the players who still are in Oakland.

Carr has "a factured relationship" with his Raiders teammates, according to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson. Citing team sources, Thompson wrote Monday that Raiders players no longer have confidence in Carr, partly because of how he reacted to an injury. 

"It certainly didn’t help when film showed what looked like him crying after being sacked and injuring his arm," Thompson wrote. "They saw his face. They heard his whimper. They witnessed him explain on the sidelines. They assuredly watched it again in film session. It’s hard to see how Carr can lead this team again."

Carr was sacked six times and hit 10 times in the Raiders' Week 6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Carr appeared to injure his left arm, but Gruden told reporters in London that he believed the QB would be fine. 

Carr is in the second year of a five-year contract that he signed with the Raiders a year ago. As NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair noted Monday, the Raiders can get out of Carr's contract for $7.5 million in dead money next year if they choose to cut him. 

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie sent mixed messages about whether or not anyone else is available ahead of the Oct. 30 NFL trade deadline. If Carr's not traded, that could make for an awkward Halloween.

NFL trade deadline: Five Raiders who could be attractive to other teams

NFL trade deadline: Five Raiders who could be attractive to other teams

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders are stockpiling draft picks, with five first-rounders over the next two seasons, thanks to the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, plus their own selections.

Coach Jon Gruden told ESPN the Raiders aren’t trading anyone else before next week's deadline, but there’s always a price for doing business. The Raiders are planning for a better future, armed with commodities to aid that goal.

Even with Mack in Chicago and Cooper in Dallas, the Raiders still have roster value that could be attractive to other teams.

Given how freely the Raiders have parted with vital members of a young foundation, it leaves some fans wondering if Derek Carr is available as well. After all, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie did say no player is untouchable.

Carr might be at this stage. It seems highly unlikely he'll be moved during the season, anyway, unless it’s an overwhelming offer that the Raiders simply can’t refuse.

Gruden has publicly supported Carr throughout his first year working with him, but this should be considered a prove-it season for the Fresno State product. He has all the physical tools to be a quality NFL quarterback. He also has a relatively tolerable contract, with guarantees already paid out. That could make him a tradable option this offseason or beyond.

The Raiders also could get out of Carr’s deal for $7.5 million in dead money next year -- a total that drops by $2.5 million in each of the two years after that.

The Raiders have some other options for trades before the Oct. 30 trade deadline. Let’s look at five of them:

S Karl Joseph

The Raiders reportedly have been shopping the 2016 first-round pick, though they’re looking for a relatively high payout for someone who has underwhelmed since leaving West Virginia University. He has a hamstring injury, but even when healthy, Joseph was the Raiders’ No. 4 safety behind Marcus Gilchrist, Reggie Nelson and Erik Harris.

Joseph has talent and big-hit ability, but it’s possible the Raiders will take an offer for him before the deadline. He actually might be the most likely player to be dealt, especially if he’s healthy enough to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

CB Rashaan Melvin

The veteran voiced his frustrations after being benched in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and he has struggled to master techniques preferred by Raiders defensive coaches. Gruden responded critically in public.

Melvin is on a one-year deal, could be down on the depth chart and isn’t likely part of a long-term Raiders plan. A cornerback-hungry team might want someone who was solid as a Colt in 2017, and the Raiders could give younger players experience using snaps previously earmarked for Melvin.

DE Bruce Irvin

The veteran edge rusher is scheduled to make $8 million this year and $9 million the next, and his role has been reduced as the season has worn on. He’s primarily a situational pass rusher at this stage, and could find a home on a team needing someone who can get after the quarterback.

Irvin also could fit in quickly elsewhere, given the nature of his position. He might not fetch much, but he could work as a rental for a team that easily can cut him in the offseason.

CB Gareon Conley

The Ohio State product was benched last week for Daryl Worley, but he has great talent with some fixable flaws in his game. He’s under control for up to three more seasons, and could fetch a decent pick if the Raiders are ready to part with him.

NFL Network reported the Raiders would like to continue working with him for another year at least, but anything’s possible for the right price.