Gutierrez: Hagan has intangibles Raiders need

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Gutierrez: Hagan has intangibles Raiders need

Aug. 28, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comOAKLAND -- Derek Hagan is anything but an X-box kind of guy. We learned this in training camp, when coach Hue Jackson praised the journeyman receiver for his work ethic and well, thumbing through the Raiders' playbook on most nights rather than fiddling with a video game controller.Hagan is a throwback, an Atari 2600 in a Wii world. And against New Orleans in the Raiders' eventual 40-20 exhibition loss, he was as dominant as the pixelated Larry Csonka on Sega.More impressive, though, he solidified his spot on the Raiders' 53-man roster. At least, if the Raiders were paying attention, he did.Hagan was everything Chaz Schilens was supposed to be, a rangy target with sure hands and nifty moves in the open field.RECAP: Saints double up Raiders at the O.co 40-20
He caught all six balls thrown his way for a game-high 121 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown."He (was) always telling me in training camp, 'J, all I need is an opportunity. The Giants, I was with them and I didn't really get a chance to get in there and get that real opportunity. I'll make plays and I feel like I can make this team,'" recalled quarterback Jason Campbell. "So with that being said, he went out today and did what he had to do, personally, to make plays and show his ability and show his experience."He did a great job in a great opportunity of putting himself in the best position possible. But I think he's a great guy. He's a great teammate and we'll see what happens. But he definitely made a statement."Perhaps none louder than his catch and run for a touchdown.It was a straight hitch pass to the left side from Campbell and after cradling the ball, Hagan juked Saints cornerback Tracy Porter out of his own skin before a straight-arm to Porter's facemask set Hagan free. And he was gone for the score, tying the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.And yet, coach Hue Jackson was not quite gushing over Hagan, a third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins out of Arizona State in 2006.If anything, Jackson sort of downplayed Hagan's bright spot on a night of defensive dark blemishes. And that's too bad."Until we get everybody back, this young man has a chance to play," Jackson said. "We're down still a couple of guys, an until that unfolds as we continue forward and shape this team to our vision, he's going to have an opportunity."Meaning the oft-injured Schilens, the recuperating-from-a-broken-left-hand Jacoby Ford and the sounds-like-a-sports-hernia-hobbled Louis Murphy are all technically ahead of Hagan.In fact, you could say Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore are ahead of Hagan on Jackson's depth chart, despite Hagan outperforming the two in this game. Even with Hagan also making a tackle on special teams.RELATED: Raiders In-Game notes -- Van Dyke's baptism by fire
He didn't join the Raiders as a free agent until Aug. 6, when fans were clamoring for Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress and the like. And there's always that thought on the streets of Silver and Blackdom that a certain higher power would prefer a draft choice have the spotlight.But if Hagan's game and his switching jersey numbers last week from No. 6 to No. 80 weren't tell-tale enough signs, Hagan also has the Raiders pedigree. Sort of.He lived in Los Angeles when the Raiders called the Southland home. He was three days old when the defending Super Bowl champs beat San Diego to start the 1984 season 4-0. And he was 10 years old when they played their final season in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.In between, he went to a game or two with his family. One particular game stood out from the rest."They played Denver and John Elway came in and," Hagan paused and giggled, "he ripped them up."Um, from 1988 through 1994 the Raiders were 8-0 in L.A. against the Broncos, including a playoff game.Meh, semantics. You get the point. The guy grew up swaddled in Silver and Black and now, he's rocking the colors and making a case for him to not only stick, but start. He paid particular mind to an up-and-coming Tim Brown.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I've always been a Raiders fan," Hagan said. "I played for Miami and I played for the Giants and I've always been a Raiders fan. So I always tuned in and checked in to see what was going on. Nothing wrong with that."Even less wrong with proclaiming him a sure thing to make the team. Then again, what's his Madden '11 rating?

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.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

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.”