Murray hopes to remain a Raider, but 'nothing concrete' from contract talk

Murray hopes to remain a Raider, but 'nothing concrete' from contract talk

Latavius Murray rose through the ranks to become a featured Raiders running back. The 2013 sixth-round pick spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve with an ankle injury and his second behind inefficient veteran running backs, patiently waiting for his opportunity.

It came late that year against Kansas City, when his 90-yard touchdown run proved he had the speed, vision and agility to excel at this level.

Murray has been a central figure since then. He broke the 1,000-yard barrier, was the AFC’s third-leading rusher and named a Pro Bowl replacement in 2015. Murray was part of a running back rotation this season. He had 788 rushing yards on 195 carries, 71 fewer than a year ago, but still averaged 4.0 yards per carry and had 12 rushing touchdowns in the regular season and another in the playoffs.

The Raiders didn’t win that playoff game in Houston, ending his season and possibly his time in Oakland. Murray will be an unrestricted free agent in this next league year, and should have suitors.

Murray hopes to stay put. He wants to re-sign with the Raiders this offseason and stay with a group that should be a regular playoff contender.

“I don’t think I ever want to be a guy that bounces around or anything like that,” Murray said Sunday. “I would love to finish my career here. I think it says a lot for any player who stays in one place. I would love to finish what I started, but I know how things could go.”

The Raiders could place a lower value on Murray than others, which could prompt him to sign with another club. Murray hopes to reach an accord and stay put. He said the Raiders have spoken to his camp about his next contract.

“There were conversations about it, but obviously nothing concrete or anything at this point,” Murray said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Murray is a popular player in that locker room, and the lead dog in the running back pack. The Raiders prefer a committee rushing approach, one that paid dividends in 2016. The Raiders ranked sixth in the NFL with 120.1 yards per game.

Quarterback Derek Carr, one of Murray’s closest friends, hopes the running back is retained.

“In this business, you don’t know the turnover, you don’t know what upstairs is thinking, you don’t know what they want to do,” Carr said. “We all know that we want him back. We love him. He’s one of my best friends in this whole world. Not just because he can run the ball, but because he can pick up blitzes. That goes unseen and unheard sometimes. I want him back. I know everyone here wants him back so hopefully we can do that.”

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”