Nothing urgent, nothing negative in Houston contract talks

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Nothing urgent, nothing negative in Houston contract talks
January 2, 2014, 5:45 pm
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It’s just been a rough season, but guys gave it everything they got. I appreciate them for that.
Lamarr Houston

Defensive end Lamarr Houston said Sunday it’s “very possible” he has played his last game as a Raider. That’s certainly not what he wants.

The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent said the Raiders coaching staff might be interested in a better fit for their system. That’s certainly not how Dennis Allen feels.

Such sentiment suggests that contract talks have gone sour. Sources have indicated that’s not the case.

[BAIR: Raiders sign QB Trent Edwards to reserve-futures contract]

With the start of free agency more than two months away, there is nothing urgent regarding Houston’s status. There is also nothing negative coming from contract talks. Exchanges have been both fair and cordial.

While there’s obviously a gap in value between player and club – a deal would’ve been done if figures matched – Houston is a player the Raiders would like to retain.

All things being equal, Houston wants to remain a Raider.

That belief gained strength after Houston and Allen had a productive meeting on Monday that quashed any issues stemming from Houston’s comments following a season-ending loss to Denver.

“I did see that quote, and that’s not the case,” Allen said Monday in a press conference. “Obviously, I sat down with Lamarr today and had a nice discussion with him. We’d love to have him back. We think he fits our system and what we’re trying to do and we think he’s a guy that we can build with.”

The tough part is finding an appropriate value for a defensive end. Skill sets mean different things to different schemes, with high-end sack men drawing serious coin. Houston is expected to be a attractive commodity after posting career-highs with 63 tackles, six sacks and a whopping 1,049 snaps. That’s a huge count for a defensive lineman who was the only real threat in a four-man pass rush.

There will be transition on a defense where Houston was one of seven starters with an expiring contract, but the defensive end hopes to retain a core of 2013 defenders.

“They did a great job of handpicking all the guys to play and make sure the locker room was a place that was comfortable for players,” Houston said. “…It’s just been a rough season, but guys gave it everything they got. I appreciate them for that.”