Raiders excited that Marshawn Lynch could join 'the dark side'

Raiders excited that Marshawn Lynch could join 'the dark side'

ALAMEDA -- Quarterback Derek Carr is quite the recruiter. He generally meets those considering a Raiders tenure when they visit the team facility, especially offensive players looking to join the attack.

That was certainly the case on April 5, when Marshawn Lynch came to see what the Raiders are all about. The Oakland Tech grad and Cal alum is strongly considering a return to professional football after leaving the game a year, and would like to do so representing his hometown team.

The Seattle Seahawks own his rights but have given the Raiders permission to speak with him, with the end goal of Lynch becoming a Raiders with a reworked contract and a trade.

There’s optimism those things will occur, but Lynch officially remains retired at this point. That hasn’t kept Raiders fans from dreaming. Players are doing some of that, too.

“Marshawn is one of the best running backs I’ve played against in my short career so far,” Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack said Monday, the start of the team’s offseason program. “He’s one hell of a player. It would be a great treat to have him on the dark side. That said, we’re focused on the now. We can’t really control what happens with that. Right now, we’re in the grind.”

Mack played against Lynch in 2015, a 30-24 loss to the Seahawks where he had 143 yard total offense and two touchdowns. Mack met Lynch at his absolute best, during a season when he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and led the league with 17 total touchdowns.

The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year came away impressed by Lynch’s raw physicality as a runner, and would like to play with him on the same side this time around.

“I think he’s the most physical guy I’ve played against,” Mack said. “We played him in the regular season my second year I believe, and he ran power right at me. I knew then he was one of the most physical guys I’ve played against in terms of running backs.

“Just knowing the type of player he is, he would be a good addition for us.”

Carr tried to sway Lynch into signing as a Raider, something player and team are still considering. There’s a long process involved in such a transaction, but it’s one the Raiders hope to complete in coming days.

“I was here talking to him when he was here,” Carr said. “He’s one heck of a football player. I hope to play with him, but I’m focused on the guys who are here today. Do I hope he gets here? Of course. Who wouldn’t want Marshawn Lynch? We have good running backs, but anyone would be open to adding a good player. You always need more.”

The Raiders have an expensive, hulking offensive line ranked among the best in football. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has tweeted about how he would love Lynch in his backfield. Center and team captain Rodney Hudson feels the same way.

“Great player. Ran for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns in the league,” Hudson said. “He’s a great player, but I guess it’s up to other people to figure out if he’s coming or not.”

 

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.