Are these Lechler's last days with the Raiders?

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Are these Lechler's last days with the Raiders?

Shane Lechler admitted this week that this, his 13th season with the Raiders, might be his final year in Oakland. And yes, the seven-time Pro Bowl and six-time All-Pro punter said the same thought crossed his mind before.

Once.

"Four years ago, I think," Lechler told reporters. "Signed the contract two days before free agency. I didn't hear anything from Oakland until then…and that was kind of a frustrating situation to be in."

Being made the richest punter in NFL history by Al Davis, courtesy of that four-year, $16-million deal in 2009, probably soothed any sore feelings. But that deal is expiring at the end of this season and Lechler will become an unrestricted free agent.

And with the new regime of Reggie McKenzie already showing it is not afraid to shed high salaries, how much would the Raiders be willing to pay a 37-year-old (next August) punter coming off a relatively so-so season? Even if Lechler and placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, both of whom were part of the same 2000 draft class, are favorites of owner Mark Davis.

Lechler, who underwent surgery on his left (non-kicking) leg this offseason and was slowed early, has only recently shown flashes of his booming punts that have made him the NFL's all-time leader in gross punting average as he entered the season with a career mark of 47.6 yards.

But his current gross average of 47.3 yards per punt is just 11th in the NFL and his net average of 38.3 is 23rd and his lowest since 2006.

Then there's the specter of the Raiders keeping highly-touted but raw undrafted rookie punter Marquette King on injured reserve after a weight-room accident
resulted in his left foot being placed in a boot late in camp. If Oakland is truly changing the culture, what makes more sense going forward -- a $4-million a year all-world punter who would probably not make much difference on a rebuilding team, or a malleable punter making basically minimum wage, which would free up money for other signings, who could grow with said rebuilding team?

"It was frustrating for a little while because this is my job, and it has been mine for 13 years," Lechler told the Oakland Tribune, referring to King's presence. "I took it a little bit personal early, but after that I was like, 'You know what? I can only worry about so many things around here.'

"That was one of them I needed to stop worrying about."

Besides, the first time he punts Sunday against Kansas City in the Raiders' home finale will be the 1000th punt of his career. And after playing in the AFC title game as a rookie, the Tuck Rule game his season season and in the Super Bowl his third year, Lechler has not experienced a winning season since. He has, though, seen his share of head coaches, from Jon Gruden to Bill Callahan to Norv Turner to Art Shell to Lane Kiffin to Tom Cable to Hue Jackson to Dennis Allen.

And yes, Lechler thinks his old recruiting host at Texas A&M, Allen, deserves to return, even with the 3-10 Raiders in a six-game tailspin.

"Yeah, I do," Lechler said. "I think D.A. is good for this job. He's got my full support. I think somewhere in here we're going to have to let that guy coach for a few years to figure it out. You know, I mean it's not much different than college football.

"You give a guy four years, you let him recruit players, let him develop his players and see how they are, instead of change and change and change. But this is Oakland, so…"

So, should the Raiders retain Lechler, or is King the future in Oakland?

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Adrian Peterson played defense on Friday night.

Hours after a report suggesting that the four-time All-Pro running back was still a free agent due to salary demands, the former Viking posted a lengthy statement on Instagram along with a video of his running an agility drill.

"YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD"

Early in the free agency period, the Raiders were linked to Peterson, but nothing came of those rumors.

The Raiders, in need of a feature back after Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings, are reportedly pursuing the possibility of luring Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement.

Peterson was scheduled to make $18 million in 2017, but the Vikings declined to exercise his contract, making him a free agent. The 2012 NFL MVP turned 32 on March 21 and played in just three games in 2016 due to a major knee injury.

According to the ESPN report, Peterson was looking for a contract that paid him over $8 million in the first year of the deal.

YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD

A post shared by Adrian L Peterson (@adrianpeterson) on

 

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Through the office of mayor Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland issued the following statement on Friday, revealing a letter they sent to the NFL a day earlier highlighting the viability and appeal of keeping the Raiders in Oakland.

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OAKLAND, CA — Today, the City of Oakland, Alameda County, the Lott Group and Fortress, who have been working in concert to develop a fully-financed local stadium proposal for the Oakland Raiders, shared publicly documents detailing the strength of the Oakland plan.

Specifically, they made public for the first time, their most recent correspondence to the NFL. The letters and accompanying documents were sent in follow-up to a March 6, 2017 presentation Mayor Libby Schaaf and former NFL player and real estate investor Ronnie Lott made to the NFL’s Joint Stadium and Finance Committee that outlined the economic advantages to the league and the team of staying in Oakland.

[RELATED: Letter to NFL from Libby Schaaf, Lott Group]

“We’re not giving up in the fourth quarter,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Since I took office two years ago, I have been focused on taking a team-centered approach that is responsible to the Raiders, the NFL, the fans and the taxpayers of Oakland. We’ve been successful in doing the environmental clearance, aligning the City and the County which jointly own the land, engaging the league and bringing partners to the table in the Lott Group and Fortress who have the financial backing, compassion for this community and intimate knowledge of the game -- on and off the field -- to get a deal done. All that’s missing is the Raiders.”

“I know how passionate the Bay Area is about the Raiders,” said NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. “To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table that keeps them here and helps this community and the team grow. We have a sophisticated financial partner in Fortress. We have done the due diligence, and it is clear that the only fully-financed, ready-to-roll option for the Raiders is in Oakland.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council President Larry Reid, whose district is home to the existing Coliseum and the proposed new stadium site, Lott Group partner and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and Fortress Managing Director Drew McKnight plan to gather with fans, local business leaders, nearby residents and other community members to demonstrate support for the Oakland stadium plan at events planned for Saturday, March 25. This is the day before NFL owners begin a series of meetings during which they are expected to discuss, and possibly vote on Raiders’ owner Mark Davis’ request to move the team to Las Vegas.

City of Oakland media services