Three and Out: How will Pryor's presence affect McFadden?
Darren McFadden, entering his final year before free agency, is coming off a season in which he averaged 3.3 yards a carry. (AP)
"As long as they want to bring me back and have me here for as long as they want to have me – I love being a Raider, and I’m here." --Darren McFadden
ALAMEDA – Darren McFadden’s contract expires at season’s end. After that, the Raiders' star running back is free to sign with anyone he chooses. If McFadden produces to his capability, that could mean big bucks on the open market.
McFadden isn’t interested in all that. He wants to stay put.
“I love being a Raider,” McFadden said after Tuesday’s practice. “As long as they want to bring me back and have me here for as long as they want to have me – I love being a Raider, and I’m here.”
McFadden wants to be a Raider long-term, but that doesn’t mean he will.
While the Raiders locked up kicker Sebastian Janikowski and long snapper Jon Condo with contract extensions that take advantage of 2014 salary-cap space, McFadden hasn’t been formally contacted about an extension.
“They haven’t reached out to me,” McFadden said.
Working out a deal at this point doesn't make sense for either side, because McFadden’s value is in flux. It’s at a low point –- which might help the team should the side negotiate now –- following a dismal 2012 season where he averaged 3.3 yards per carry in an offense that didn’t fit his rushing style. He also got hurt for the fifth-straight season, which may produce a conservative offer McFadden won't be interested in. If a compromise were reached now, one side wouldn't be happy. If McFadden returns to form and stays healthy, he'd be upset at short-changing himself. If he struggles, the team would have overpaid.
The sides remain on amicable terms, and are ready to talk when the time is right. Both McFadden and the team hope a long-term deal can be reached in time.
Despite an uncertain future, McFadden's isn't stressed about his next contract.
McFadden is excited about a new offensive scheme and his potential within it. He averaged over 5 yards per carry in 2010 and 2011, before last season's zone-blocking scheme knocked him off course. McFadden is healthy, happy and comfortable letting his performance determine his value. In short, he's betting on himself.
"It's all about playing football," McFadden said. "If I take care of my business and do what I'm supposed to do, everything else will fall in line."