Raiders key matchup No. 1: Wheeler vs. Lewis


Raiders key matchup No. 1: Wheeler vs. Lewis

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Jaguars matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the Coliseum.

Matchup No. 3: Rolando McClain vs. Maurice Jones-Drew
Matchup No. 2: Darren McFadden vs. Russell Allen
Raiders LB Philip Wheeler vs. Jaguars TE Marcedes LewisTale of the tape
Wheeler (52): 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, fifth season, Georgia Tech
Lewis (89): 6-foot-6, 272 pounds, seventh season, UCLAALAMEDA -- No doubt Jacksonville is a run-first team that will go as far as tailback Maurice Jones-Drew can carry it. But if the Jaguars decide to get a little froggy with the Raiders on Sunday, might they jump on the passing game with their Pro Bowl tight end?If so, expect Marcedes Lewis to be the focal point of such an attack. And for Philip Wheeler, the Raiders' strongside linebacker, to be there to meet him.Lewis' 14 receptions are tied for the Jacksonville team lead, as are his two touchdown receptions, while his 116 yards receiving rank fourth. He is also considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL.Last week, Wheeler found himself covering Atlanta's Hall of Fame-bound Tony Gonzalez for much of the afternoon. So is Lewis a similar tight end?"As far as a good tight end, yeah, (Lewis is) definitely a good tight end," Wheeler said. "Hes a little bit different in terms of his length and speed, so Im looking for high throws and trying to get my hands on some balls try and not let him catch the ball."Two years ago, in the Jaguars' come-from-behind 38-31 defeat of the Raiders in Jacksonville, Lewis caught four passes for 57 yards, including a one-yard TD.Wheeler was not with Oakland then, rather, he was in the same division as the Jaguars with the Indianapolis Colts, the AFC South. So yeah, Wheeler, who has a team-high 44 tackles and two forced fumbles for the Raiders, has an inkling what to expect.Even if he has an added role with the Raiders in that he now wears the communication device in his helmet to speak to the sidelines, as noted by the green dot on his helmet. Wheeler, who last wore the mic in college, has taken over the duties from middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was taken off the field in the nickel defense last week while Wheeler and rookie Miles Burris stayed on the field for every defensive snap against Atlanta."It gives me a lot of responsibilities and it makes me work harder," Wheeler said of wearing the mic."Its forced me to get in the film room more, so I can make better calls and do whats right for the defense, and Im up to the job."Check in with Lewis later on that count. Even as Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey wants quarterback Blaine Gabbert to run more and make more plays outside of the pocket. Which would call upon the tight end to bail out his QB.

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.”