Analyzing the Raiders' 53-man roster

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Analyzing the Raiders' 53-man roster

The Raiders' initial 53-man roster -- believe me, there will be some tweaks before the season opener against San Diego on Sept. 10 -- reveals some interesting trends.For example, new general manager Reggie McKenzie and rookie coach Dennis Allen have just five receivers, and two of them were injured most of training camp in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, but nine offensive lineman.On the other side of the ball, the Raiders kept seven cornerbacks, including recently-signed Coye Francies, who fumbled his lone kickoff return Thursday in Seattle.Also interesting to note that 36 of the current 53 players (67.9 percent) spent time either on the Raiders' active roster, practice squad or IR last year, giving the team some semblance of continuity in a decidedly new era.And five of their six draft picks made the cut. The only draftee shown the door was seventh-round linebacker Nate Stupar.Also, three of the 53 were practice squad guys in defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie, center Alex Parsons and linebacker Carl Ihenacho. And two undrafted-rookie free agents made the squad in receiver Rod Streater and guard Lucas Nix.A look, then, at the Raiders' current 53-man roster:Quarterbacks (3)
Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor
The thinking: And you knew this, maaaaaaaan (Smokey from "Friday" voice).Running backs (5)
Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson, Owen Schmitt
The thinking: Goodson and Schmitt might have been nervous, but we weren't. Well, maybe a little for Goodson.Offensive line (9)
Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Khalif Barnes, Joseph Barksdale, Alex Parsons, Tony Bergstrom, Lucas Nix
The thinking: Nix is somewhat of a surprise, but the Raiders need bodies and he had more positive plays than negative.Tight ends (3)
Brandon Myers, Richard Gordon, David Ausberry
The thinking: Time for Ausberry to step up.Wide receivers (5)
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, Juron Criner
The thinking: The chemistry between Moore and Palmer must get reignited quickly, and Moore's right hamstring and Ford's left foot better be healthy, just as fast.Defensive line (9)
Lamarr Houston, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Matt Shaughnessy, Desmond Bryant, Dave Tollefson, Christo Bilukidi, Jack Crawford, Jamie Cumbie
The thinking: What's the feel-good story here? It's Cumbie, dammit (in Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live voice). The practice squad refugee is tall for an interior D-lineman at 6-feet-6.Linebackers (5)
Miles Burris, Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler, Travis Goethel, Carl Ihenacho (Aaron Curry-PUP)
The thinking: The Raiders will have some serious scrambling to do if McClain gets slapped with a suspension by the NFL. Plus, Curry will miss five games over six weeks -- the Raiders have a bye after Week 4 -- and he cannot begin practice until Oct. 16. And once he starts practicing, he can practice for up to 21 days before being placed on the active roster, should Oakland decide that's the plan. Ihenacho, meanwhile, brings a certain pass-rush element.Cornerbacks (7)
Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Pat Lee, Bryan McCann, Coye Francies
The thinking: Francies is a head-scratcher, so he figures to be the first to go ifwhen the Raiders need a roster spot. McCann earned a spot with his play against the Seahawks, both as a competent returner and on defense.Safeties (4)
Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, Matt Giordano, Mike Mitchell
The thinking: A little thin at safety, no? The last line of defense has to stay healthy.Specialists (3)
PK Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Condo
The thinking: The closest thing to a sure thing the Raiders have had in many a moon. Lechler is entering the final year of his contract and Janikowski is in the penultimate year of his contract.Oh, and one last thing -- I correctly predicted 50 of the 53 players on the team as I did not have Nix, Chekwa or Francies making it, rather I had receiver Travionte Session, linebacker Nate Stupar and safety Brandon Underwood on the team. (Old school WWF-jabroni Barry Horowitz back pat).

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

The Raiders locked up Derek Carr last week, signing their franchise quarterback to a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

He isn’t the only member of the 2014 draft class worthy of a raise. Edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a big one, likely at some point next offseason. The Raiders have some time with Mack after exercising a fifth-year contract option available for first-round picks.

General manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t have that luxury with Carr, and his 2014 second-round pick cashed in before formally entering a contract year.

Right guard Gabe Jackson could do the exact same thing. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward homegrown talent, and the 2014 third-round pick should be next in line to do so.

McKenzie has said back in March that he’d like to extend Jackson’s contract, though there isn’t a deadline to do so.

“There’s no timetable,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “But, I alluded to earlier in the offseason that Gabe is one of the guys I want to get locked up.”

That could happen later this offseason, or further into training camp. Despite paying Carr an NFL-record $25 million in 2017, his contract is structured in such a way that there’s room for another offseason extension. That was important for Carr, that the Raiders can sign other members of this young core.

“We figured out a way to do it,” Carr said, “so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization.”

The Raiders have roughly $18 million in salary cap space after the Carr deal. Some of that is earmarked for the team’s top three draft picks, which remain unsigned to this point. A large sum could go to Jackson as incentive to sign up early, well before he’s eligible to hit the unrestricted free agency.

The offensive guard market is booming, with bigger deals going to a position group generally lower than other spots on the offensive line. The Raiders contributed to that inflation in 2016, signing left guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 deal with $25.4 million in guarantees.

Osemele is one of eight guards with contracts worth $40 million or more, a list that includes two right guards. Jackson played left guard – the more valued position – until Osemele showed up. He moved to the right without complaint.

Jackson thrived there as well. He didn’t allow a sack in 2016, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, with 27 quarterback pressures in 735 pass-blocking snaps. Jackson has been a strong run blocker as a pro, where he has started 44 games in three NFL seasons.

Finding proper value to entice Jackson to sign while remaining on budget is McKenzie’s next task, trying to keep a valuable offensive lineman in place for years to come.

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.”