Raiders

Source: Raiders pick up Khalil Mack's fifth-year option

Source: Raiders pick up Khalil Mack's fifth-year option

The Raiders have formally picked up Khalil Mack's fifth-year option, a source said on Thursday morning. It was a given considering Mack's performance and leadership since being selected No. 5 overall in the 2014 draft. 

Teams are afforded a fifth-year team option on first-round draft picks, and this one binds Mack to the team through 2018. As a top 10 pick, Mack is scheduled to make the average of the top 10 players at his position in that option year. That will be a pretty penny.

General manager Reggie McKenzie wants to lock Mack into a long-term contract at some point soon, but the option affords more flexibility to get a deal done. He doesn't have that luxury with 2014 second-round quarterback Derek Carr and third-round guard Gabe Jackson, who have contracts expiring after the 2017 season. McKenzie has budgeted extensions for all three guys, and will start executing deals after the NFL Draft. Carr's extension is expected to come first. 

None of them will be cheap, and Mack could become one of, if not the NFL's highest paid defender. 

Mack is the NFL reigning defensive player of year after a 2016 season where he had 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. 

The news was first reported by Fox Sports' Peter Shrager.

Raiders takeaways: What we learned in 23-21 road win over Cardinals

raidercelebrationap.jpg
AP

Raiders takeaways: What we learned in 23-21 road win over Cardinals

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Raiders held a fourth-quarter lead Sunday, then saw it vanish. But this time, Derek Carr and Co. led a comeback for a thrilling victory on the road.

The game against the Arizona Cardinals was a close one, a meeting of two poor yet evenly matched teams. The Raiders had a lead, lost it and couldn’t get it back until their third attempt.

[RELATED: Derek Carr, Jon Gruden argue on Raiders' sideline vs. Cardinals]

The third time, it seemed, was the charm.

Carr threw a 32-yard pass to Marcell Ateman, then found Seth Roberts for 20 more as time ticked away, setting up Daniel Carlson’s game-winning 35-yard field goal as time expired.

And just like that, the Raiders had won their second game of the season. They beat the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 at State Farm Stadium with a dramatic comeback, when the game felt like it was headed for yet another Raiders loss.

Here are three quick takeaways from the Raiders' comeback win:

Big plays allowed are a killer (again)

The Raiders' defense played pretty well Sunday, but two big plays kept the Cardinals in the game and helped them establish a lead.

Poor tackling and angles allowed Christian Kirk to take a short pass and go 59 yards for a touchdown to put Arizona ahead 14-7 in the first half. Oakland's defense held strong for two and a half quarters, and then the levees broke again.

David Johnson ran through the Raiders' front seven late in the fourth quarter for a 53-yard gain that put the Cardinals in the red zone. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen found veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald a few plays later for a go-ahead touchdown with five minutes left.

Ground game running strong

The Raiders found a way to gain steady yards on the ground against the NFL’s 29th-ranked run defense, which helped balance the offense and provide a key source of production.

The Silver and Black averaged 4.6 yards per carry in this contest, with Doug Martin and Jalen Richard especially productive. Martin had 52 yards on 10 carries, and Richard had 61 on his 11 attempts. Even DeAndre Washington got in on the act late in this result.

That took pressure off a struggling Oakland air attack, an option allowed because the game was close and the Raiders often had a lead. That has been unusual in the last five games, where the Raiders have lost by at least 14 points.

It’s a positive sign that the run game is making strides, though the opponent must be considered in that evaluation. If the Raiders can keep running strong, that will be something to build on as the season progresses and the calendar turns to 2019.

Takeaways play a big part

The Silver and Black have struggled taking the ball away, but Rosen’s errant throws made life a little easier in that effort.

Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph had interceptions, setting up excellent field position that the Raiders' offense rarely gets. Derek Carr turned both takeaways into touchdowns.

Conley picked off Rosen’s first pass, and Carr found Jared Cook with a long throw a few plays later for a TD. Joseph corralled another off Rashaan Melvin’s tip in the second quarter, setting up Carr’s touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.

That provided most of the Raiders' offense in a game where points were at a premium.

Raiders' Brandon LaFell leaves vs. Cardinals with Achilles injury

lafellap.jpg
AP

Raiders' Brandon LaFell leaves vs. Cardinals with Achilles injury

The Raiders' receiving corps took another hit Sunday. 

Brandon LaFell left the game with an Achilles injury and was ruled out of the game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

[MORE RAIDERS: Derek Carr, Jon Gruden argue on Raiders' sideline vs. Cardinals]

Raiders receivers Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson both have knee injuries, and did not play Sunday. Seth Roberts and Marcell Ateman were the other two wide receivers remaining on the 53-man roster following LaFell's injury, and only Roberts had caught a pass this season entering Week 10.

Saeed Blacknall, like Ateman, is a rookie and was active for the first time Sunday. Should Bryant and Nelson's injuries linger, the Raiders might need to hit the free-agent market to avoid entering Week 11 with just three healthy receivers.

LaFell caught two passes (on three targets) for 29 yards and one touchdown Sunday. He has 15 catches for 135 yards overall this season.