Raiders reward Jack Del Rio with new four-year deal

Raiders reward Jack Del Rio with new four-year deal

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had two years left on his original contract. It was sent through the paper shredder on Friday.

Del Rio was given a new four-year contract that includes a raise over his previous deal and carries through the 2020 season.

“We are excited to continue building on the strong foundation that has been established and this is a significant step in achieving that goal,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.

Del Rio was a major factor in the Raiders’ return to relevance, and changed the culture of a losing franchise that now expects to win. The team has a stable of young talent guided by a head coach well respected in the locker room and around the league.

The Raiders went 7-9 in his first season and 12-4 last year, a record that ended a long playoff drought.

A Del Rio extension was no surprise. It had been in the works a few weeks, with productive talks between both sides. Del Rio was the NFL’s lowest-paid head coach entering this hiring period, and deserved a raise and an extension despite having a few years left on his original deal.

This is another sign Davis believes he has the right people in important positions and wants to give his football product long-term stability. He extended general manager Reggie McKenzie’s contract last summer and Del Rio on Friday.

Franchise quarterback Derek Carr will likely receive a contract extension this offseason, and 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack will get a long-term deal when the time is right.

That should keep the Raiders competitive with strong leadership in the front office, the coaching staff and on both sides of the football.

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

GAREON CONLEY
Position: Cornerback
College: Ohio State
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 195 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 24 overall

ALAMEDA – Ohio State cornerback was widely considered a top-15 talent entering this year’s NFL Draft. His stock took a free-fall this week, after being accused of rape.

Conley called the accusation “completely false,” in a statement issued Wednesday by his agent.

Conley has not been charged or arrested over the allegation, which stems from an interaction on April 9 at a Cleveland hotel.

The Raiders wouldn’t have made this first-round selection without doing extensive research on Conley’s legal status. They must feel confident Conley will be absolved of wrongdoing.

Conley is a quality football player and an excellent cover man. He has the size Raiders covet in cornerbacks, and allowed just 37 percent of his passes to be completed. Conley allowed just 14 catches for 159 yards last season, and an NFL passer rating of 14.0, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. That was the best in college football last season.

Analysts say he’s good at making plays on the football, whether it’s batting down passes or intercepting passes. Conley excels in press-man coverage, but can work well in a zone as well. He diagnoses plays well, which allows him to make plays on the ball.

The Raiders need depth and competition at cornerback after Sean Smith and David Amerson weren’t as solid as expected in 2016.

Conley could be upgrade the secondary in 2017 and beyond if he lives up to his on-field potential.

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks went to Skyline High School in Oakland.

He is not happy that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“When the Raiders leave, I am going on an NFL moratorium for two years," Hanks said on Monday night, according to Peter Hartlaub of The San Franicsco Chronicle. "You cannot take the Silver and Black, put them in an air-conditioned dome in the desert, make them play on artificial turf within a stone’s throw of the fountains of Caesar’s Palace, and call them the Raiders.

“Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand. And I’m not trying to -- this isn’t one of the causes I’m fighting for. I’m just thinking as a fan: It’s a billion-dollar industry, they have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires. And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.

“The only good thing that is going to come out of the Oakland Raiders leaving -- and there is nothing good that will come out of that, by the way -- is that the Oakland A’s might get their own ballpark.

“I must say I hate that frigging D.H. rule. I always have, ever since that bastard Charlie Finley installed it. We’re not proud of that over on the other side of the East Bay.”

The Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to open in 2020.