Why Jordy Nelson compares Raiders' Derek Carr to Alex Smith's 49ers tenure

Why Jordy Nelson compares Raiders' Derek Carr to Alex Smith's 49ers tenure

Jordy Nelson only played one season with the Raiders, but the receiver still is defending their franchise quarterback. 

In what seems like a recurring theme, Derek Carr went through an offseason full of questions and criticism. Despite throwing for a career-high 4,054 yards last season, rumors swirled of the Raiders targeting Tom Brady in free agency or even using one of their two first-round draft picks on a QB. So, is the negative noise fair?

Nelson had a quick answer to that question. 

"No, no it's not," Nelson said on "The Pat McAfee Show." "Guy's extremely smart, very talented, works extremely hard. Can make the throws, does it all." 

Nelson finished his career with Carr as his quarterback in 2018. He played 15 games, caught 63 passes for 739 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Carr clearly made a strong impression on him after Nelson spent the first decade of his NFL career with Aaron Rodgers. 

The former Pro Bowl receiver likens Carr's career to another QB who used to play in the Bay Area, too.

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"I think he's been in a tough situation. I think it's similar to what Alex Smith dealt with on the 49ers of just constantly rotating through coaches and offensive coordinators, which means a whole new scheme," Nelson said. "Yeah, [Carr's] smart enough to pick it all up and be able to run it, but it's getting all the offensive linemen on the same page, getting all the running backs, the receivers, the tight ends." 

The Raiders selected Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Since then, he has played under four head coaches -- Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio and Jon Gruden -- in six seasons, along with multiple offensive coordinators.

Smith was taken with the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and also played under four head coaches -- Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Tomsula and Jim Harbaugh -- in seven seasons with the 49ers. 

Nelson didn't only point to coaching changes, too. He believes the Raiders' constant roster shuffling has put Carr at a disadvantage as well. 

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"It hardly seems like [the Raiders] keep guys for long terms," Nelson said. "They're very short. So he's constantly dealing with new receivers. ... It makes a difference when you're not able to keep that chemistry from Year 1 to Year 8 to 10, and every two years you're constantly swapping guys out to get any sort of rhythm."

Through it all, Carr has been a solid quarterback for the Silver and Black. The front office gave him more weapons in the NFL draft, and he should be primed for a big year as the Raiders begin their next chapter in Las Vegas.

Jadeveon Clowney-Raiders rumors more fantasy than reality at moment

Jadeveon Clowney-Raiders rumors more fantasy than reality at moment

The Raiders made massive improvements to their defense during the offseason, hoping to inject some life into a unit that ranked 31st in DVOA in 2019.

But with one big fish still swimming in the free agency ocean, the Silver and Black might not be done yet.

Jadeveon Clowney has been biding his time during free agency, waiting for an offer that matches what he believes he is worth. That number started at between $20-22 million and reportedly has been lowered to around $18 million. Clowney reportedly has an offer from the Cleveland Browns with the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans also in the mix. On Monday. Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver reported that the Raiders had joined the party and offered Clowney a contract. He also reported that head coach Jon Gruden would like to up the offer to get Clowney. Lammey reports the offer is lower than two or three other teams and owner Mark Davis and general manager Mike Mayock are hesitant to increase it.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

This is where we need to separate fantasy from reality.

Clowney is a talented player and he undoubtedly would help a Silver and Black pass rush that has struggled since Khalil Mack was shipped off to the Chicago Bears. Clowney is a sexy name and it's easy to automatically plug him on the Raiders' defensive line along with Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst and Clelin Ferrell/Maxx Crosby and see an improved unit that can give teams problems in the AFC West.

But that $18-20 million is a massive price tag for a player whose production doesn't match the number he's currently asking for. Clowney notched just three sacks last season for the Seahawks and has yet to record a double-digit sack season since being draft with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Per Spotrac, Clowney's projected open-market is around $17.1 million. So his initial asking price already overshoots his on-field production and it's fair to see a number of teams asking to see more sacks, pressures and QB hits before paying the $17 million.

Clowney's health also is of concern. While the South Carolina product only has missed nine games in five seasons, there are some issues about the core and knee injuries he's sustained during his career. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's difficult for players to travel and get evaluated by a team's medical staff and that makes owners unwilling to open their checkbook.

This brings us to the second hurdle in any Clowney-Raiders marriage. According to the NFL Player's Association public salary cap report, the Raiders currently have $7.9 million in cap space. But that number will shrink once the Raiders have agreed to terms with all of their recent draft picks, including first-round picks Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette. At the moment, the Raiders still need to clear some cap space in order to sign their entire rookie class. They simply lack the cap space, at the moment, to add Clowney at the number he's been demanding.

Of course, there are always to fit a player in. But for the Raiders to add Clowney at the number he wants, it likely would require a large chunk of the cash to come in the form of a signing bonus and the Raiders still would have to clear space by cutting some players. Right guard Gabe Jackson's contract became guaranteed last month. Quarterback Derek Carr's contract is the Raiders' most pliable but he's set for what could be a career year in Las Vegas.

Plain and simple: It's difficult to see the Raiders finding a way to fit Clowney in at his preferred number.

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The Raiders currently are relying on Crosby, Ferrell and free-agent addition Carl Nassib to provide the heat off the edge. Last season, the Raiders recorded just 32 sacks, a number that must improve for them to make way in a tough AFC West.

Increasing pressure on the quarterback is paramount for the Raiders, but Clowney isn't a double-digit sack maven. He's been more of a run-stopper during his NFL career and his production hasn't been equal to the contract he desires. He's a big name who will come with a price tag he hasn't earned.

If the Raiders can find a way to get him at a discount as the season approaches it obviously would be worth it. But right now, any pact between Clowney and the Raiders is more fiction than reality.

Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears


Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears

As the NFL regular season approaches, assuming the rise in COVID-19 cases doesn’t cancel it, the Raiders are having ongoing internal discussions about a number of different options and approaches for a rabid season-ticket base that completely sold out brand new Allegiant Stadium.

As the Raiders continue to sort through the situation, they have indefinitely pushed back the deadline for final payment on 2020 season tickets. Meanwhile, longtime Raiders fans like Kenny King Jr., a Northern California resident and 2020 season-ticket holder, is holding out hope he will be front and center when the Raiders play their first season in Las Vegas.

“I definitely do intend to go to games this year and have already booked for the opener and Chiefs games,” said King, the son of former Raiders running back Kenny King.

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