NAPA -- Free agent Pro Bowl linebackerdefensive end Andre Carter worked out for the Raiders Tuesday and if the team deems him healthy and able to contribute, he could address a need as a pass-rushing specialist.Carter, the No. 7 overall pick of the 2001 draft by the 49ers out of Cal, is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, having finished with 10 sacks in 14 games last year for New England. He declined to comment, though, when approached by reporters after his workout, which was overseen by general manager Reggie McKenzie."I've got to stay low key," Carter said with a laugh. "If it works out, God willing."Carter, 33, missed the final two games of last season with a torn left quadriceps. Before that, though, he set the Patriots' single-game record with four sacks against the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez on Nov. 13.The Raiders are a 4-3 base defense team and while Carter has played primarily in 3-4 schemes in his career, which encompasses five seasons in San Francisco, five more in Washington and one in New England, the Raiders have shown flashes of the 3-4 thus far. Plus, they promise to be more flexible in schemes and, well, they don't have that tried and tested sack-happy player on the roster. Not with Kamerion Wimbley and his 16 sacks the past two years now in TennesseeCarter has 76 sacks in his career; current Raiders career sack leader defensive tackle Richard Seymour has 54 12 career sacksin the same number of seasons as Carter. In fact, Seymour was drafted by New England one spot ahead of Carter."We're going to shake all the bushes and see what falls out," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen, "and if we feel like we've got something that can help us, we're going to do it."
The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.
They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.
Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.
“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”
While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.
The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.
“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.
"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”
Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.
Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.
Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.
“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”
Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.
“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”