The 2017 NFL offseason has turned into a roller coaster of events for the Oakland Raiders franchise. With the Las Vegas events capturing much of the headlines, general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio were left to evaluate impending free agent class and their own roster.
For example, if a free agent is pondering coming to the Raiders, the players on the field also have to present a pitch to joining their team. Quarterback Derek Carr, the captain and leader of this team, has taken a personal responsibility to vocally interact with free agents.
With Carr continuing his long-term contract negotiations, he understands the implications current free agency has on the future of this franchise. McKenzie and the Raiders have attempted to get defensive bargains, but also have opportunities to entertain impact players because of their recent success.
During an interview with Raiders.com, Carr stated that he feels like it is his duty to converse with potential teammates, in order to create an honest bond and get to know each other:
“If I’m in town I’m going to be there and show these guys, if they’re going to be my teammate they need to see the real me. They need to see that I care all that time, not just when they’re catching touchdowns. Not just when they’re maybe going to sign with us.“
Free agency is the player’s chance to have the ball in their court, meeting with many NFL teams to evaluate their personnel and decide if it is the proper fit. During this time, it usually isn’t just the coaching staff that wins players over.
The Raiders have embarked on this return to greatness, turning into one of the legitimate AFC threats. Their 12-4 season had an unfortunate set back with Carr’s leg injury, but Carr is determined to help guide the franchise back towards the Super Bowl.
Carr doesn’t view the recruiting process as just spitting Xs and Os to potential teammates, but as a chance to for a relationship towards the long-term goal. Carr stated that the veteran leadership and professionalism in the Raiders organization is a pillar to why the team has such great success:
“I want to show them that even when I’d rather be at home with my kids, yeah I’ll hang out with you and show you that I really care about you joining this team because I believe that the group of guys that we have and the leadership and all those things is the best place for anybody that wants to come. I really do. Not only for them on the field, but off the field.”
Recent reports suggest that Carr and the Raiders will focus on finalizing a long-term contract once the NFL Draft passes by, which also involves the current free agency class. However, the important takeaway is the fact that Carr is so invested into a franchise that he believes in.