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.”

 

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

The Raiders locked up Derek Carr last week, signing their franchise quarterback to a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

He isn’t the only member of the 2014 draft class worthy of a raise. Edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a big one, likely at some point next offseason. The Raiders have some time with Mack after exercising a fifth-year contract option available for first-round picks.

General manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t have that luxury with Carr, and his 2014 second-round pick cashed in before formally entering a contract year.

Right guard Gabe Jackson could do the exact same thing. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward homegrown talent, and the 2014 third-round pick should be next in line to do so.

McKenzie has said back in March that he’d like to extend Jackson’s contract, though there isn’t a deadline to do so.

“There’s no timetable,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “But, I alluded to earlier in the offseason that Gabe is one of the guys I want to get locked up.”

That could happen later this offseason, or further into training camp. Despite paying Carr an NFL-record $25 million in 2017, his contract is structured in such a way that there’s room for another offseason extension. That was important for Carr, that the Raiders can sign other members of this young core.

“We figured out a way to do it,” Carr said, “so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization.”

The Raiders have roughly $18 million in salary cap space after the Carr deal. Some of that is earmarked for the team’s top three draft picks, which remain unsigned to this point. A large sum could go to Jackson as incentive to sign up early, well before he’s eligible to hit the unrestricted free agency.

The offensive guard market is booming, with bigger deals going to a position group generally lower than other spots on the offensive line. The Raiders contributed to that inflation in 2016, signing left guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 deal with $25.4 million in guarantees.

Osemele is one of eight guards with contracts worth $40 million or more, a list that includes two right guards. Jackson played left guard – the more valued position – until Osemele showed up. He moved to the right without complaint.

Jackson thrived there as well. He didn’t allow a sack in 2016, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, with 27 quarterback pressures in 735 pass-blocking snaps. Jackson has been a strong run blocker as a pro, where he has started 44 games in three NFL seasons.

Finding proper value to entice Jackson to sign while remaining on budget is McKenzie’s next task, trying to keep a valuable offensive lineman in place for years to come.

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.”