NAPA -- So how did Dennis Allen's first training camp as a head coach go for the Raiders' rookie head man?"I thought it was good work," Allen said after breaking camp with Thursday's practice. "I thought it was good work. I thought we had a chance to get better. Our guys worked extremely hard. We still have a long way to go and a lot of things we have to continue to improve on, but I thought it was a good foundation to build on."Mere coach-speak? Maybe, but what would you expect Allen to say?After all, incomingreturning offensive coordinator Greg Knaap compared the task at hand to a "start-up" company. And, with a new coach, new general manager, new schemes on both offense and defense and, well, a fresh philosophy trickling throughout the organization, you could make a good argument that the Raiders are the equivalent of an expansion franchise...with quality front-line players.And besides, the Raiders had a fairly uneventful camp in Wine Country -- transactions-wise, they only waived nose tackle Travis Ivey, signed linebacker Korey Bosworth and placed linebacker Mario Kurn and receiver Duke Calhoun on injured reserve. And the depth chart chart essentially stayed the same.Of course, there was the scary sight of Mike Goodson being strapped to a gurney, his facemask removed, and being loaded into an ambulance, but in 19 practices the Raiders simply worked. And worked some more."Grueling but fair," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said of Allen's first camp. "It's been tough, probably the hardest camp I ever did, but I'm in good shape so I don't have no complaints."Especially not with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which did away with two-a-day practices. Allen and his staff still maximized the time available."He found time to make us bust the whole time," Kelly said."It is different. Everything is detailed. Everything's got a plan to it. It ain't just, wait a minute and we'll find out. You know everything. You know what you've got to do, down to the second."And for a team known as being as undisciplined as the Raiders were last year in setting league records for penalties (163) and penalty yards (1,358), accountability in camp is huge."If you want to be a good football team, theres got to be attention to detail," said 12th-year veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour. "The coaching staff, theyve made it fun, but I...kind of relay it back to the safety belt. Its one of the things that you need (even if) you might not always want to do it. But its one of the things that you have to do if you want to be safe in a car, or take care of business and at the end of the day, winning football games."Seymour said Wednesday night's rookie talent show was the best he's seen since arriving in Oakland in 2009, "which isn't saying a whole lot," he said with a laugh.Details are sparse, though video cameras and a yellow security jacket were utilized...with smiles, of course."I'm excited about where we're headed as a team," Seymour said. "We had some good work, we bonded well."I look at training camp as one of the necessary evils. It's one of those things you have to go through, but at the end of the day, you'll be better for it."Now, we'll see if Oakland can carry that forward as the Raiders prepare for Saturday's preseason gameregular season dress rehearsal against Detroit."I enjoyed it," Allen said. "I think we have a great situation here in Napa. This is, as far as the setup, is the best training camp Ive ever been a part of from that standpoint. The weathers been great, the hotel has been outstanding. Thats been good. I think our work has been good. I was pleased with what we did here in training camp."
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.”
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.”