Taking stock of Raiders' free agents

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Taking stock of Raiders' free agents

Culling different sources and reports, it appears the Raiders have 21 contracts expiring, with 16 unrestricted free agents, two restricted free agents and three exclusive rights free agents.The NFL's franchise tag deadline date is Feb. 20, with free agency beginning March 13.A look, then, at the purported 21 contracts expiring for the Raiders

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
SS Tyvon Branch -- A focal point on being retained, especially with new coach Dennis Allen's defensive mindset that could make Branch more of a playmaker in the secondary.RB Michael Bush -- A likely Franchise Tag candidate, what with Darren McFadden's health an issue every season and Bush showing he can carry the load.QB Jason Campbell -- Likely gone to sign elsewhere, even if his skill set is more geared towards a West Coast offense than that of Carson Palmer.LB Quentin Groves -- He predicted he had already played his last game as a Raider, but might he be more useful with a combo of 4-3 and 3-4 packages?OL Stephon Heyer -- Valuable cog on the O-line, but can he play in the zone-blocking scheme coming down the pike?DE Jarvis Moss -- Another 'tweener' at end and linebacker who might be useful in a hybrid defense championed by Allen and new D.C. Jason Tarver.C Samson Satele -- Thought to be too small for last year's power blocking scheme, Satele actually came to Oakland to play in Tom Cable's zone-blocking scheme.WR Chaz Schilens -- Potential can only get you so far before consistent results validate it. Raiders seem set on WR corps sans Schilens.DE Trevor Scott -- Has not been his sack-happy self since blowing out a knee on special teams at Pittsburgh in 2010. Could add depth though, especially since he has played both DE and LB.S Matt Giordano -- The only member of the roster to have actually played for Allen, in New Orleans. What he lacked in speed he made up for in guile.CB Lito Sheppard -- His best days are behind him, as evidenced by the clinic San Diego's receivers gave him in the season finale.RT Khalif Barnes -- Had a better season than expected at RT and might come back if the Raiders don't think Joseph Barksdale is ready.QB Kyle Boller -- Tied too closely to Hue Jackson to bring back in a backup role.WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- See above.RB Rock Cartwright -- Two-time Commitment to Excellence Award winner is a soothing locker room presence that could help with coaching transition.LB Darryl Blackstock -- Tied too closely to former D.C. Chuck Bresnahan to bring back, though he did do work on special teams.RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
DL Desmond Bryant -- Undrafted Ivy Leaguer continues to impress, and could thrive as an end in a 3-4 variation.FB Marcel Reece -- The most dynamic fullback in the league thrived in Jackson's offense. What about in Greg Knapp's?EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
S Jerome Boyd -- Practice squad refugee had a tough season after a good camp.DL Mason Brodine -- Practice squad refugee is young and cheap and might provide depth, or head back to the practice squad.CBKR Bryan McCann -- Made more of a mark as a returner, but is expendable with a healthy Jacoby Ford.

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.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”