The 2017 NFL offseason has steadily progressed into a big turning page for the Oakland Raiders franchise. Not only did the Raiders find out their fate in regards to the Las Vegas relocation, but the front office also has faced a difficult slate of free agent decisions with long-term and short-term implications on the franchise.
Perhaps at the top of that list was the oncoming contract negotiations with quarterback Derek Carr. The 26-year-old has turned into the oil that runs the engine known as the Raiders, posting Pro-Bowl numbers in each of his last two seasons. Alongside head coach Jack Del Rio, Carr and the Raiders have displayed a certain professionalism and successful demeanor that fans are now slowly being accustomed to.
The Raiders understood that inking a long-term contract with Carr would solidify their return to greatness, with a young leader ready to help his team take the next step. While fans would think of Carr as the top and urgent priority for this team, the situation actually has played out in a different manner.
Carr appeared on an interview with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on Monday, discussing the drama regarding Marshawn Lynch, his contract situation and some other topics. When asked about how the situation has played out this offseason, Carr confirmed to fans that he and Reggie McKenzie understood the contract situations would be pushed back, with a reaffirming response from their franchise quarterback:
Reggie said himself ‘Wait till after the draft.’ He told us that. And I said, ‘Yea man take care of the team first. I’m the least of your worries. I’m a Raider for life.’ That’s going to be easy when the time comes. But yea the talks have been great. I anticipate something getting done hopefully even before training camp cause once training camp comes I’m focused on football.”
The NFL draft is a three-day event, beginning on April 27. As the previously discussed deadline continues to gain steam, it only seems like a matter of time before Carr and the Raiders come to an agreement. This contract agreement is the first in many big-time upcoming contracts for the Raiders, setting the way to create room for the likes of Khalil Mack.
Carr also commented on his leg during the interview, stating that he feels great after recovering from his broken leg. The Fresno State alumnus threw for 3937 yards and 28 touchdowns last season, leading the Raiders to a 12-3 record (not counting the final game he didn’t play).
McKenzie originally stated that he wasn’t going to be that active during the NFL offseason, while also trying to find some bargains on the defensive side. To his point, he signed former Miami Dolphins Jelani Jenkins, a linebacker that provides some depth.
With two franchise players to worry about, McKenzie will need to work some magic with the approachable Carr in order to set their franchise steady for the upcoming seasons and impending cap increase. The franchise quarterback has been willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the Raiders, with a selfless attitude that has paved the way for such respect from his teammates.