Gutierrez: Raiders 2010 Review -- Offensive Line

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Gutierrez: Raiders 2010 Review -- Offensive Line

Jan. 25, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com
They arethe no-name grunts, the guys who get noticed when something goesterribly, horribly wrong. Such is life for an offensive lineman allguts, very little, if any, glory.For the Raiders this past season, their offensive line was theirultimate mood ring. And why not? With deposed coach Tom Cable anoffensive line guru at heart, the O-line more often than not was a goodindicator of the teams fortunes.The line was porous and woeful at times see the pitiful season openerat Tennessee yet dominant and special at others see therecord-setting victory at Denver. It gave up 44 sacks, tied forsixth-most in the league, yet paved the way for the No. 2-rankedrushing offense in the NFL. Just about right for an 8-8 team, right?A look, then, at Oaklands offensive line as we begin our player-by-player analysis of the 2010 RaidersJared Veldheer the surprise third-round draft pick out of tinyDivision-II Hillsdale College paid immediate dividends. The rookie hadhis baptism by fire starting at center in the season opener atTennessee then moved back out to his natural left tackle, taking overfor good in Week 7. He has made numerous all-rookie teams and through14 games he had allowed six sacks while committing six false starts andbeing called for holding four times.RELATED: Raiders stats
Robert Gallery The Raiders once-left tackle of the futurefound a home at left guard and was rounding into Pro Bowl shape in2008. Then injuries struck in 2009, a broken fibula derailing hisascent, and again this past season. A strained hamstring cost him fourof the Raiders first five games. A potential unrestricted free agentand big fan of Cable, Gallery may have played his last game in Oakland.Samson Satele Replaced by a rookie in Veldheer to start theseason, Satele seemingly had his confidence shaken and his tough-loverelationship with Cable seemed to wear thin. He started the last 15games at center and found his groove the last quarter of the season.How will Cables dismissal affect Satele, who fits better in azone-blocking scheme than a power-run game favored by Hue Jackson?RELATED: Raiders roster
Cooper Carlisle Oaklands Mr. Dependable, Carlise was the onlyRaiders offensive lineman to start every game at the same position in2010. He is sure to be pushed next season by Bruce Campbell.Langston Walker A favorite of owner Al Davis, Walker is one ofjust three holdovers from the Raiders Super Bowl team of 2002, minushis two-plus season sabattical in Buffalo. Walker found a home at righttackle. Walker missed a game after suffering a scary-looking concussionat home against Denver.Khalif Barnes Brought in to presumably start at left tackle2009, a broken ankle halted his plans. Instead, hes found a niche as abackup lineman du jour, pass-catching eligible tackle and locker roomcutup.Mario Henderson Lane Kiffins one-time whipping boy, Hendersonseemed to settle in at left tackle by default in 2009. But the arrivalof Veldheer pushed Henderson to the fringes. With Walker an impendingunrestricted free agent, Henderson might move out to right tackle fulltime.RELATED: Raiders 2010 game-by-game results
Daniel Loper Offensive linemen are like referees in a game;the less you notice them, the better their performance. Loper performedadmirably in starting four games for the injured Gallery at left guardearly on. Bruce Campbell The Combines workout warrior with hisoff-the-charts measurables, Campbell saw significant action on the linein just one game in the blowout at Denver. He was mostly used onspecial teams and was inactive the last five games, much to the chagrinof Davis. A left tackle by trade, Campbell was moved to right guard andwill make a push to start there next season.

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 a source confirmed 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 and $40 million fully guaranteed at signing -- the portion not fully guaranteed is guaranteed for injury -- a source said. The deal features $25 million in the first year -- there's a $12.5 million signing bonus -- with $67.5 million over the first three years, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.  

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

The complete contract structure is not yet known, but a somewhat delayed payout plan 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, meaning his money will be worth more later in the deal.  

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 the Raiders that regard, though the team has 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.