If you can't beat them, take their coach

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If you can't beat them, take their coach

After watching the Broncos take their roundabout route to the playoffs, Raiders players knew they had their chance to be the AFC West champion. It didnt play out for the Silver and Black this season, but you know all the ol saying, nothing beats actual playoff experience.

Well then, enter Dennis Allen, who reportedly was hired as Raiders coach Tuesday.

REPORT: Raiders hire Allen as head coach
The Broncos' defensive coordinator is no doubt ready to get back into the mix after Denvers AFC Divisional loss to the Patriots, 45-10. And he probably knows a thing or two about the Raiders, after spending the last season with their division foe.The last time the Raiders hired from within their rivaled Rocky Mountain opponent was back in 1988, when Broncos assistant coach Mike Shanahan joined the Silver and Black.
And after the Raiders' most glaring struggles this season happened on the defense side of the ball, so it seems like a defensive-minded coach may be the way to go. Although new general manager Reggie McKenzie did say offense, defense it doesnt matter, he just wants the right guy.
McKenzie also shared with the media in his introductory press conference on Jan. 10 that he let Hue Jackson go, in favor of bringing in my guy. At that time, McKenzie said there was a short list of candidates he would be focusing on. But as the Packers, Saints, Broncos and others dropped out of the playoff hunt, the short list became seemingly longer and longer with DCs, OCs and former head coaches from coast to coast and all stops in between, surfacing on this rumored short list.And now for the first time, in a long time, the Raiders reportedly are turning to a man with a defensively-sound background to lead their team. It seemed to work out the last time they went this direction -- look back to 1969 when a linebackers coach by the name of John Madden was promoted to head coach. Although, looking back on the Al Davis era with the Silver and Black, the late managing general partner never went to outside the organization to bring in a defensive coordinator or such as head coach, so this would be a new direction for the Raiders.But it could be a step in the right direction. After all, in his inaugural season with the Broncos, Allen helped the team improve from allowing a league-worst in points and yards per game, to climbing the ranks to 20th and 24th, respectively. Throw in an AFC West title, and some impressive number increases when it comes to the Broncos and their individual players stats (ie tackles, sacks, etc) and Allen just might be the guy, McKenzie was looking for. Allen also runs a 4-3 defense, which matches the Raiders' philosophy as of late.As of Tuesday night, the team has yet to confirm the Allen reports. But it appears, as McKenzie and Mark Davis promised last week, a new era is upon the Raider Nation.

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.”