Free agent linebacker Zach Brown visited the Raiders facility last week and left without a contract. That doesn’t mean the Silver and Black are out of the running.
Brown’s camp remains in talks with the Raiders on a possible contract, Brown’s new agents, Jason and Michael Katz, told CSN California on Tuesday afternoon. The Raiders aren’t the only team vying for Brown’s services. He completed a visit with the Miami Dolphins earlier Tuesday, and NFL Network reports he’ll visit Buffalo next.
He spent last season with the Bills, and had a career year. Brown had 148 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception during his only season in Buffalo. He spent the previous four years with the Tennessee Titans.
Brown stands 6-foot-1, 248 pounds and is a quality coverage linebacker, something the Raiders need even after signing Miami weakside linebacker Jelani Jenkins to a one-year contract on Monday.
Two-year starter Malcolm Smith signed with the 49ers this offseason, and Perry Riley Jr. remains on the open market. The Raiders could re-sign Riley, who brought stability to the middle linebacker spot after joining the Raiders during the 2016 season.
Brown changed representation during his time on the open market. He recently hired Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, a move that was announced on Tuesday morning.
Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.
Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.
That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.
“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.
“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”
The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.
Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.
The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.
On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.
The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.
The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.
There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.
These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.