Davis powerless to stop developing mudslide

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Davis powerless to stop developing mudslide

Mark Davis takes full responsibility for the Raiders advancing regression. He also apologizes to the fans for whats happened, and feels as bad as they do.

And the Raiders are still going to have to do extraordinary work between now and seasons end to be better than 4-12. Feel better anyway?

Davis emerged from a postgame meeting inside Dennis Allens office, where he, the coach and general manager Reggie McKenzie shared their level of torqued-off-i-tude after watching the employees lay inert for a 38-17 beating by the New Orleans Saints. They looked lifeless, overmatched, confused and generally . . . well, generally Raiderrific.

But its the third straight week in which theyve looked that way. Since beating the horrific Jacksonvilles and Kansas Citys, they have given up a laughable 135 points, 56 in the third quarter alone when all the vaunted coaching adjustments are supposed to be distributed and put into action.

And after the usual nonsensical platitudes from Allen about all I know is how to work, and we have to keep grinding and working to get better, the message from the Coliseum was that this was a team that had either seen the future and vomited all over it, was outmatched, or just plain decided to mail in the holiday season.

Thus, when Davis came out of the postgame grouse-a-thon, a starved media corps surrounded him. Most of the players had left or decided not to speak, probably at the behest of the brain trust. Nothing good could be said, so they didnt say it. Lots of more work and continue to try to improve and other empty phrases that clearly mean nothing, given the results.

And Davis, who does not have his fathers gift for scaring people away with a single snarl, a single profanity, or a single bodyguard, decided to interpose his body between the outside world and the beleaguered employees. He sensed, or we suspect he had thrust upon him the sense, that someone had to say something about this developing mudslide.

So he did. Maybe it helped. For a bit, anyway.

As Ive said before, I didnt think we had a Super Bowl team, but you cant blame this on the new front office or the salary cap, he said, rejecting the obvious alibi offerings. You have coaches and you have players, and you have to play. We have to be Raiders.

But it clearly wont be done by Allen, or McKenzie for that matter certainly not in the middle of the slop-storm. And the players who might, most notably Tommy Kelly, are battening down their larynxes.

Not that they are required to do so, mind you. But the audience is already starting to hate the new cast because the team is considerably worse than the last few. Darren McFadden is hurt for the every-yearth-in-a-row time, the passing game is more shambolic every week to the point where the fans are now reflexively booing Carson Palmer, the receivers are clearly worse, and the defense which was momentarily tolerable has now returned to its spider-hole near the earths crust.

In short, the roster is broken, the new coaches havent gotten through to it, injuries seem to be a growing fallback position, and in general this team looks like its ready to take that dive, and start over in 2013.

Now everyone at once, in the key of L: Happy Holidays . . .

Rebuilding? I dont know what the word would be, Davis said when asked what he expected from this team. I know that we didnt have the talent, at the beginning of the year, to be a Super Bowl team. I thought that we had definitely potential to get maybe in the playoffs and beat in our division. Obviously that hasnt happened. Im not happy. But nobody in this room is.

And when he was asked if there was a way to save the season, he chose not to be Johnny Happy Face.

(Were going to) take it game by game, but uh, I dont know. I know theyre gonna fight.

Its just the results of the game. You win or lose. We havent been winning and it hasnt been close the last 3 weeks. I couldnt put (his frustration level) on a 1-to-10. Im not happy, Ill put it that way, but why should I be? Why should we be? Why should anyone in this room be? But theyll fight and fix it.

Or . . .

Like I say, Im patient. Im patient. But I want to see progress. I dont want to see regression. Nobody does. And thats why Im unhappy today. But as far as a pass, I wouldnt call it a pass. Theyve got contracts, theyre gonna be here.

Then he shared the news that hed had back surgery five months earlier to remove a cyst (or a tumor, he wasnt sure which), and in describing it, he really articulated the state of his team in ways that fan apologies and devotion to work ethic and being a Raider never really could.

I had a sciatic nerve problem, a pain in my ass, he said. And I had surgery five months ago, and it didnt fix it. And then so they took pictures again, they found a big cyst-tumor, right on the sciatic nerve. So Im feeling a lot better. Its not totally healed yet, (but) January 1 I can start working out (patting his stomach). The triplets go away then. I deliver. But again, its a sad day today, the last three weeks have been sad, but were gonna fight. Thats what it is. And well see what happens.

If only his other and more chronic gluteal issue was as easy to repair.

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Derek Carr is now the NFL's highest paid player. The Raiders quarterback agreed on terms of a five-year, $125 million contract extension on Thursday morning, keeping the franchise's public face in silver and black through the 2022 season. 

Carr confirmed the agreement on Twitter early Thursday. 

"Now it's done!" Carr wrote. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

Carr was set to make a $977,515 base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract. Carr's raise is significant, and underscores his value to the franchise. Carr's $125 million extension includes $70 million in guaranteed money, with $40 million guaranteed at signing, according to USA Today

Carr's deal resets the quarterback market, with an annual value above Andrew Luck's previous record extension. The Colts quarterback signed a five-year, $122.9 million extension, which Carr has now exceeded. 

The extact contract structure is not yet known, but a somewhat non-traditional structure is expected due to two key factors. The largest is Carr's desire to see other star Raiders receive extensions, and his deal gives the team some flexibility to keep important players in house. The Raiders will also move to Las Vegas by 2020 at the latest, where there is no state tax. California residents max out at a 13.3-percent tax rate, and his deal could take advantage of that disparity somewhat down the road.  

The 26-year old's ultimate goal was to maximize earnings without handcuffing the organization, and that's setting up well. His deal will help in that regard, but the Raiders have also budgeted to extend several members of their young core. They have financial flexibility in future seasons and upfront salary cap space, though productive drafts are required to remain competitive as the cash gets gobbled by Carr and others in coming years.

The Raiders were always confident the Carr extension would get done this offseason, and the deal was finalized well before the quarterback's self-imposed training camp deadline. Carr's camp had discussed parameters of an extension months ago, but talks heated up in the last few weeks and ended up with an agreement that locks Carr down. 

The Raiders also hope to extend two more members of a star-studded 2014 draft class. Right guard Gabe Jackson is next in line, and could get a new deal this offseason and edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a massive contract at some point in the near future. Jackson's entering a contract year, but the team exercised a fifth-year option that creates more time to get a Mack deal done. Amari Cooper has some time under his rookie deal -- it could last through the 2019 season -- but the Raiders want to pair him with Carr for several seasons. 

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

If Derek Carr gets his $25 million deal from the Oakland Raiders and becomes the richest quarterback in National Football League history, the Raiders will have gotten a bargain.
 
Unless he gets hurt.
 
Or unless he turns lousy.
 
Or unless the NFL’s defensive coordinators decipher a way to strip him of his powers and render him McCown-tastic.
 
Or unless football happens in a hundred other ways, because of all the sports ever devised by wealthy man to amuse sedentary man, football taught cruelty to the landmine discus.
 
But the same can be said for any football player at any salary. Carr, on the other hand, is a qualified practitioner at a sport that has very few of them – maybe 10 if you’re looking at football, 119 if you’re trying to tot up all the quarterbacks who got contracts so Colin Kaepernick couldn’t.
 
That means he is a rare commodity, and the Raiders did the right thing by tying him up. The alternative, you see, is Kirk Cousins and the Washington Supreme Court-Mandated Native-American Heads.
 
Cousins was not signed when the Washingtons could have gotten him at a high but still reasonable rate, and now he is one year away from being franchised a third time at the hilarious figure of $34.47 million per year.
 
The lesson is clear. Nothing pays like procrastination, and by waiting to give Cousins what they knew they’d have to give him eventually for choosing him over Robert Griffin III, the Battling Snyders will pay through both nostrils, ears, eye sockets and mouth to keep him.
 
By signing Carr now, the Raiders have as much cost certainty as they can have at the position, and all they have to do now is (a) keep him stocked with supporting players and (b) keep him safe from opposing ones.
 
This isn’t easy, of course; most quarterbacks eventually end up in a fiery crash in Turn Two, and their ability to escape the mangled wreckage is the only thing keeping them from becoming part of the mangled wreckage.
 
So yeah, luck. Lots of luck.
 
On the other hand, the Raiders could have guaranteed that they would have had to overpay by a factor of 1.5 or maybe more by not signing him now, or they could have saved millions more by losing him entirely, which would have been just the gift for the discerning Las Vegas ticket holder who wanted an excuse not to buy tickets.
 
Essentially, Carr played the system brilliantly, and good for him since under most circumstances the system plays the players. Football players have a short enough career, and a shorter than average quality of life, so the rule of thumb should always be getting everything available and as much guaranteed as possible.
 
In fact, were I Derek Carr, I’d ask for ALL the money to be guaranteed just to set a standard for those who come behind me.
 
But if he’s happy – and let’s wait to see how much of this deal is actually guaranteed and how much is placed on a rug that will be pulled out from beneath him – and the Raiders are happy – and why wouldn’t they be? – then there’s nobody to complain, now, is there?
 
Now the Raiders of old would have screwed this up, and somehow Carr would have done so as well. But this team hasn’t done anything regally boneheaded since . . . well, trying to go to Los Angeles . . . or maybe hiring Dennis Allen . . . or . . . 
 
Oh, never mind. The point is, Carr was done at the right time, at the right number, for the right reasons, and both sides should be delighted.
 
And in nine or twelve or seventeen days when Matthew Stafford gets a deal that makes him a dollar more than Derek Carr . . . well, we’ll let the amateur accountants who think NFL contracts define players sort out that level of idiocy.