Is Adrian Peterson a good fit for the Raiders?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit for the Raiders?

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they would not exercise Adrian Peterson’s contract option for the 2017 season.

He’ll be an unrestricted free agent on March 9, giving several fan bases more than a week to salivate over the prospect of Peterson playing in their teams colors.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported later Tuesday morning that, according to someone close to Peterson, the Raiders could be strong a landing spot for the veteran rusher. The aforementioned newspaper spoke to Peterson’s father, who said it would be fair to throw Oakland into the mix along with several other teams.

That brings up a key question: Are the Raiders and Peterson a good match? The answer is complicated by several factors.

The home team could certainly use Peterson’s talent, but…

Peterson will be 32 years old when the 2017 season starts, an age where rushing production typically wanes. Peterson is also coming off a 2016 season ruined by injury. He played just three games due to a knee injury. He has also been hurt in recent seasons.

Even when healthy, Peterson isn't a good pass protector. That's a vital trait for Raiders running backs in an offense frequently operating from shotgun and clear passing formations, and could be an issue in the system. 

Peterson is also used to premium dollars, and it’s hard to imagine his asking price will drop near the end of a storied career. There should be plenty of suitors for Peterson, and competition could keep the price high.

The Raiders have the salary cap space to pay Peterson’s freight. Is that the best use of significant funds during an offseason where extending quarterback Derek Carr’s contract is a top priority?

There’s certainly a need for Peterson or another physical, productive running back in the Raiders rotation with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Latavius Murray occupied that spot in recent seasons, but he’s set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. That has always been expected, even with the prospect Murray could return to the club that drafted him in 2013.

Peterson has been incredible at times, combining speed, physicality and football smarts into his rushing style. The future Hall of Fame runner would be attractive addition to a dynamic Raiders air attack, especially running behind a hulking offensive line.

There are, however, a few more issues to consider. The first is his link to a child abuse, which prompted a season-long suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Peterson reached a plea deal on the case that mandated probation. Raiders owner Mark Davis has no tolerance for domestic violence, and has been against the league employing people with those issues. It’s uncertain how Davis would view the Peterson case.

While Peterson is set for unrestricted free agency, he’ll headline an incredibly deep class.

The Kansas City Chiefs released Jamaal Charles also later Tuesday morning, putting another productive, yet aging rusher out there. Eddie Lacy, LeGarrette Blount, Isaiah Crowell – he’s a restricted free agent – and Murray were already set to hit the open market.

They’ll do so just before a deep class of young running backs become available in the NFL Draft. The Raiders have a history of mining talent from lower rounds – Murray was a sixth round pick, Washington was taken in the fifth and Richard was an unrestricted free agent.

The Raiders have cheaper, younger options when it comes to their backfield. Peterson is a big name and an intriguing talent who will be followed closely as he navigates free agency.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”