ALAMEDA -- Dennis Allen seemingly came out of nowhere.He blew past Todd Bowles. Overtook Marty Mornhinweg at the turn. And outlasted seeming clubhouse leader Winston Moss.Raider Nation, introducing the man known in coaching circles simply as "D.A.," the 18th head coach in Raiders history, teaming with new general manager Reggie McKenzie to usher in a new era in Silver and Blackdom.So how exactly did the 39-year-old defensive head-coach-in-waiting known only to a handful of football lifers become more than a blip on McKenzie's radar, and in such short fashion?"I never met him," a smiling McKenzie said after Monday's formal media conference. "Nobody really pushed him on me."You could say McKenzie was smitten with Allen from afar after seeing how improved Denver's defense was in 2011 under him, even if McKenzie's Green Bay Packers beat Allen's Broncos, 49-23, in Week 4. It was how the defense started to jell later in the season, even if Tim Tebow got the credit."Their defense was really keeping them in (the playoff race)," said McKenzie, who knew Denver coach John Fox was a defensive mind, but wanted to know who was actually running the Broncos defense as its coordinator."Then I saw Dennis Allen, so I started researching," McKenzie said. "That's how it started. My research led me to (say), 'Let me put him on this list to make sure I talk to him.' Like I said, the more I talked to the players who played for him, the coaches who coached with him, it was raving reviews."So McKenzie flew to Denver to interview Allen on Jan. 18. Then he secured a second interview in Mobile, Ala., during Senior Bowl Week last Tuesday night that Allen aced, sealing the deal."When (Reggie) called me that night, and it was late, he said, 'Mark, I found my guy,'" said Raiders owner Mark Davis. "And I knew then he had found the guy he was looking for."They struck a handshake deal and spent Wednesday hammering out the details. Some 48 hours later, the Raiders announced a media conference for Monday to introduce Allen."I heard a lot of people talk about what a great tradition that they had here with the Oakland Raiders," Allen said. "At the end of the day, what I was really concerned with was who are the people that are leading the organization now? The people who are leading the organization now are Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie, and when I looked across the table at Reggie McKenzie, I knew that was a man that I believed in and that I trusted in."That was the only thing that was a concern to me, and that was what really drew me to this job."Allen, who turns 40 on Sept. 22, also interviewed for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching vacancy, which eventually went to Jeff Fisher.So how did that first phone call from McKenzie go down?"I really wasn't expecting it," Allen said. "Coach Fox told me that the Raiders had put in a request to speak with me. I was obviously really excited about it. There are only 32 of these jobs available, and anytime you get that opportunity, it's a wonderful opportunity. Especially with this organization. It's a great time to be with this organization. There's a rich history but the future is extremely bright."Almost as bright as the stars in McKenzie's eyes when he interviewed Allen, and got to know him better. Surely, it had to feel strange to feel such an instant connection, yes?"Strange, but it was exciting," McKenzie said. "I was glad that I had that feeling. That's what you go out to interview guys for. You want that connection. I wouldn't say strange but it was good."
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.”
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.”