Raiders key matchup No. 3: Raiders vs. eastern time zone

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Raiders key matchup No. 3: Raiders vs. eastern time zone

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Panthers matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS), at Bank of America Stadium

Raiders vs. East Coast woes

Tale of the tape
Raiders Will travel most of any NFL team in 2012
Eastern Time Zone three times zones away

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' troubles of late on the East Coast, specifically, when playing in the Eastern Time Zone, are well documented.

But the numbers are even more starkly depressing when they're right in your face and threaten to become a Mayan-style self-fulfilling prophesy.

"We talked about it, we know it," admitted quarterback Carson Palmer. "All this is an opportunity to change that. Go into a different time zone, playing at 10 a.m. our time. We know what our stats are as far as that's concerned. All this is, is a challenge and we need to change that perception."

When it comes to Oakland's troubles three time zones away, though, perception has become reality heading into Sunday's penultimate game of 2012 at Carolina.

Consider: the Raiders have lost their last nine games in the Eastern Time Zone, getting outscored by a combined 315-155. Meaning they have been thumped by an average score of 35-17. This season alone, Oakland has lost at Miami, 35-13, at Atlanta, 23-20, at Baltimore, 55-20, and at Cincinnati, 34-10.

The last time Oakland won a game on the East Coast? Try the Bruce Gradkowski comeback game at Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 2009.

In fact, the Raiders have had issues back east for more than 10 years now. Since Dec. 15, 2002, when they lost at Miami, 23-17, the Raiders are just 5-26 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone.

“Obviously, the distance that you have to travel, the time of the game, those are factors in the game," said coach Dennis Allen. "But really what it boils down to is really your mindset. You have to be able to block out all those external factors and focus in on the things you have to do in the game to try to win the football game. You can’t allow any of those external factors to influence you."

With 28,700 air miles by the end of this season, according to Grantland.com, the Raiders will have traveled the most of any NFL team in 2012. And per NFL.com, "Teams traveling under 1,000 miles for a game win 43 percent of the team. The number drops to 40.3 percent when teams travel between 1,000 and 1,999 miles, and plummets to 39.8 percent when they travel over 2,000 miles."

So what specifically, if anything, have the Raiders stressed this week in anticipation of playing in Charlotte, North Carolina?

"Coming out fast," Palmer said. "You've got to come out fast. They're a team that scores fast and has struggled late, so we need to match their intensity early. We need to come out of the gates firing. We need to find a way to score early and slow them down early, because that's something that they've been really good at."

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.”