Future contract negotiations on the mind

The 2016/2017 season was brilliant for the Raiders in multiple ways, and it’s key that supporters and fans alike don’t forget that. The emergence of three world class players means this Raiders roster finally has talent in crucial places for years to come. The problem with that? Contract negotiations.

On offense, Derek Carr firmly stepped into the spotlight as one of the best quarterbacks in the league in only his second professional season. Before a late season leg break spelt heartbreak for the Raiders, Carr was on pace to be in the MVP conversation along with eventual winner Matt Ryan and superbowl champion Tom Brady. He improved his quarterback rating by five points and halved the number of interceptions from his rookie year. This all amounts to one thing- he should get paid like one of the premier quarterbacks in this league. The Raiders have waited so long for a quarterback of this calibre and they simply cannot let him walk away to another team, so re-signing Carr will be step number one this offseason or next.

Still on offense, you can’t forget about Amari Cooper. The AC-DC connection has been potent since day one, and you can see how good their chemistry is on the field. As with Carr, the Raiders have waited so long for a top tier wide receiver that they will almost certainly re-sign both of these two at the same time. Cooper may not be paid in the same tier as Julio Jones, AJ Green or Antonio Brown, but for sure he will be up around that top-tier. These two together will take up a large portion of cap space that may see some other cap causalities in people like Latavius Murray, Michael Crabtree or Mychal Rivera.

The Raiders defense starts and ends with Khalil Mack. There is nothing the newly crowned NFL Defensive player of the year cant do on that side of the ball as a one man wrecking ball. To what level Mack gets paid will be interesting though. Mack has a doppelganger in Von Miller, who in turn just got the biggest non-QB contract ever. Now its important to note that Miller has accomplished much more than Mack at this stage of his career, but that’s not to say Mack wont eventually get there. There are very few players that can do what these two do, and there is no doubt that Millers contract will come up when the negotiations begin.

The situation with Mack differs slightly over Carr and Cooper as he enters the final guaranteed year of his rookie deal, so if he is to stay long term they would want to get a contract worked out this offseason. There is an option in the contract for an extra year, which would be a no-brainer should the two parties not be able to work something out this offseason.

The Raiders come into this offseason projected to have the 11th highest cap room in the league. Normally that would mean a big free agency, but in this case it’s more crucial to solidify the team for years to come and take some talent to Vegas.

Double Boost for the Defence

The Raiders welcomed a double boost to their defence on Superbowl day.

First of all, sack-machine Kahlil Mack was voted Defensive Player Of The Year by the Associated Press at the Sixth Annual NFL Honours.  Mack becomes only the second Raider in history to receive the award after corner Lester Hayes way back in 1980.  This also comes off the back of being proclaimed the defensive player of the year by the Pro football Writers earlier in the month.

Khalil Mack finished the 2016 season with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and 56 solo tackles. Of the fumbles, Mack recovered three of them and managed to take his sole interception all the way to the house.

Then, later in the day, the Raider’s D learned that pass rusher Aldon Smith is expected to be re-instated in March.  Smith is a former first-round pick who had 33.5 sacks in his first two seasons (in a less than competitive team) before succumbing to off-the-field issues.

Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack crashing the edges on a custom blitz anyone?

Raiders are Back

The Raiders are Back according to coach Del Rio.  “The Raiders are back,” he told the locker room minutes after The Silver and Black’s loss to the Houston Texans at the NRG stadium in their first playoff game since 2002, “just not back where we want to be just yet.”

He went on to praise the team for their 12 wins in the regular season and on the sacrifices they’d all made.  “Your can hold your heads high,” he told the players.

Given what the team have achieved on the field this season, and the progress the team is making off the field toward a move to Las Vegas, there’s few fans who would disagree, The Raiders are well and truly back.  At the start of the season, we’d have all taken a first playoff-game in 14 years.

Vocalising what many believe and all of us hope, Del Rio announced that the future of the franchise is bright. “We are heading where we need to be heading,” he said urging the group to stick together, “This is just the beginning. We are not ready to stop”.

Derek Carr, MVP 2016

Derek Carr MVP 2016
Derek Carr proved his MVP status to The Raiders simply by being absent.

Derek Carr has cemented his MVP status within the Raiders organisation simply by being injured. And despite not being in anyone’s predictions as NFL Most Valuable Player of the year for the 2016 season, he has to be considered.

When assessing MVP, the NFL needs to look a little further than straight out team success.  We are talking individual’s worth. Just how valuable is the player to the team?

Well, without a doubt, a Derek Carr-less raiders have struggled enormously.

First, when he dislocated his finger, the Silver and Black’s struggled to make much headway with McGloin under centre. Fortunately, Carr had done enough in that game for the Raiders to hang on to the win. But when Carr broke his fibula late into the Colts game on Christmas Eve, many people feared that was the end of The Raiders chances in the playoffs. That fear, in itself, was an indicator of just how valuable Derek is to the Raiders.

Sure enough, we all saw what happened. The wheels came off the team, losing out to the Chiefs, thus losing home advantage (if indeed, it would have been an advantage) and more importantly a week off in which the third-string QB could have got some valuable first team practice time, and then putting in a depressing effort against the Texans.

In Houston, Conner Cook threw 18 of 45 for 161yds. It’s a tough ask against one of the NFLs best defences, but compare that to Carr’s figures throwing 21 of 31 for 295yds when he took on the Texans in Mexico City.

When Prescott is missing from the Cowboys line-up, they don’t fall apart. Same with Rodgers at Green Bay. Tom Brady’s pedigree isn’t in doubt and a 28-2, TD to interception ratio is record breaking, but the Pats are an overall quality team.

So vegas-raiders.net presents you with the Most Valuable Player of 2016: Derek Carr.

Derek Carr 2016 statistics

Games played: 15
Completed passes: 357
Attempted Passes: 560
Completion percentage: 63.7%
Yards Passing: 3,937
Number of Touchdowns: 28
Interceptions: 6
Rushing Yards: 70
Fumbles: 5
QB rating 96.7

Jack Del Rio Joins Twitter

After a bit of pushing from his players, Jack Del Rio has joined Twitter.


Not bad acquiring 14,000 followers in under 24 hours.  Why don’t you follow him as well for any pointers on the move to Vegas.  Search twitter for @coachdelrio.