Prepping for Tuesday's Raiders media conference

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Prepping for Tuesday's Raiders media conference

PROGRAMMINGALERT: Tune into Raiders Press Conference Live on CSN California at 2 p.m..

It's been a wild and rumor-filled week in the streets of Silver and Blackdom, what with the Raiders' season coming to an inglorious end one victory shy of the playoffs, a whole slew of defensive coaches on their way out the door, a new general manager in Reggie McKenzie on his way in and coach Hue Jackson purportedly blowing in the wind.So here's what we do know -- there will be a media conference on Tuesday at the Raiders' Alameda facility where McKenzie will be introduced. Other that that, a lot of speculation. Following then, 10 looming questions, plus a bonus, sure to come up at the presser

1) Will Hue Jackson be in attendance?All indications areyes. Why wouldn't he be? Unless, of course, the reports over the weekend that he could be in jeopardy have legs. Even if he's not formally invited, Jackson should be the dutiful coach and show up.2) If Jackson is there, where will he sit?Hopefully in the back of the room or off to the side. Jackson does not need to be up on the dais. This is McKenzie's day and Jackson sharing the stage would send a decidedly different message. Then again, Jackson has to play this very carefully. Any wrong move could be taken as a power play by the coach and former de facto G.M. on the new G.M. McKenzie.3) What about Mark Davis, will he be there?No word yet and he had no comment in a text message Monday evening, but talk about a guy reporters would love to lob a few questions at, especially since he has yet to make a public statement since he took over the team following the death of his father on Oct. 8. The younger Davis is an intriguing figure and might want to let this be McKenzie's day as well, though it will be interesting to see who introduces the new Raiders G.M.4) What about that whole power structure thing again?With the passing of Al Davis, Jackson essentially became the Raiders' football czar, answering to no one on football matters before getting things green-lighted by Mark Davis. So with McKenzie now in the house, who answers to whom, and who has the final say on personnel matters when it comes to signing and drafting players? What exactly, is McKenzie's job description and where are both men on the team's power flow chart, so to speak?5) Has Jackson lost some of his Hue-bris?Jackson took a lot of heat for the way he handled matters and the confidence with which he did. But really, what was he supposed to do? Fans loved it when the Raiders were 7-4; not so much when they lost four of their final five games. How deferential Jackson acts towards McKenzie will tell the tale.6) Wait, don't Jackson and McKenzie have the same agent, and couldn't that muddy the waters since each would potentially know how much money the other guy makes?Yes, and potentially. Especially if there is a power struggle atop the Raiders' food chain. Then again, they could be fast friends and quick partners in steering the ship to calmer waters. Kennard McGuire might have his hands full keeping these two clients happy.
7) So you're saying Jackson stays on?Well, in my opinion, he deserves to, yes. Because while Tom Cable changed the culture in the Raiders' locker room, Jackson took it to another level. And he is intrinsically linked to quarterback Carson Palmer, in whom the Raiders, ahem, Jackson, have invested so much. Get rid of Jackson and you have to scrap the entire offensive system, and that does not bode well for a 32-year old nine-year NFL veteran QB. Jackson probably has a shorter-than-normal leash, though.8) But wouldn't McKenzie want to start fresh, like with his own coach?Perhaps, but remember, the offense, under Jackson, is light years better than it was the previous three seasons at the very least. And continuity is ultra-important to this team that, minus a key injury here and there and a key defensive stop against Buffalo andor Detroit, would have won the AFC West and played host to Pittsburgh in a playoff game. A quick fixer-upper is what's needed at this juncture, not a total overhaul. Unless we're talking about the defense, of course.9) How much power will McKenzie really have?The last Raiders G.M before the late Al Davis was really Bruce Allen, who departed to join Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay in 2004. So these are fairly untested waters of late for the Raiders. The sense here is that McKenzie will have full final say over personnel matters. Otherwise, why would he want to leave the tranquility of Green Bay for a potential power struggle that would be between a first-year G.M. and a second-year coach? McKenzie, though, needs to rebuild (build?) the Raiders' personnel department.10) Will there be any overhead projectors involved, any coaches getting eviscerated?We can only hope. Because while any Al Davis presser became must-see-TV in his later years thanks to his use of AV equipment and his sharp wit, this gathering is supposed to be a celebration for the Raider Nation, a welcome-home gala for McKenzie, who played for the Raiders from 1985 through 1988, a coming-out party for Mark Davis and a relief, really, for Jackson. It might be a sad day for Hue Jackson the de facto G.M., but it should be a great day for Jackson the playcalling coach, who can now simply worry about what goes down on the field, rather than taking the entire organization on his shoulders. At least, that's how it should play out.BONUS) What questions would you, the fans, ask?

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.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”