After signing Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson to extensions, Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders are just getting started.
Against a looming desert backdrop, filled with muffled echoes of clanging slot machines and bright fluorescent neon, the Oakland Raiders transactional offseason has been marked by undulating success. Though questions still spiral around the improvements of the secondary and linebacker corps, the team has provided a few resounding answers in other areas of need. A one week window in the dog days of June saw the organization dispel two giant offseason narratives of uncertainty.
First and foremost, the Raiders finally tackled the extension of franchise savior, face, and quarterback Derek Carr. While the speed at which pen hit paper left some unsettled, ultimately the two sides arrived at an amicable solution. The resulting contract propelled Carr to king of the hill, garnering the most lucrative per year contract in NFL history… for now at least.
The deal became chum for the headline-starved, news cycle piranhas, who transformed the narrative into the contract somehow being questionable. Attempts to determine just what the quarterback market should be proved unfruitful and detractors cited the signing as a reason for fans to worry about locking up other Raider cornerstones moving forward.
Reggie McKenzie quickly fired back with the long-term extension of Gabe Jackson. A fringe All-Pro guard, Jackson’s signing both further solidifies the Raiders’ commitment to protecting Carr long term, as well as the team’s ability to continue inking deals for other core players.
For Carr, that has always been in the front of his mind, and he made it known to Jackson, Mack, and Cooper.
“I started smiling when I first heard him say it because he always said that to me before, that he wants to make sure everybody else is good,” Jackson said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “So when he said that, it goes to show you about his character, and how he is as a person. He’s one of the most generous people that I know.”
Jackson’s comments reiterate what many around the league already know. Derek Carr expertly juggles the assumptions and expectations about what makes a franchise quarterback. He looks out for the team, his family, and is ever aware of the perception he exhibits as the face of the Silver and Black.
Entering negotiations, Carr made his expectations and intentions clear. “I’m always a team guy, but at the same time, you know, they had 3 or 4 years of the rookie contract too, to build the team and things like that,” Carr said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd back in January. “I just start thinking about my family, thinking about my boys, thinking about all the people in Haiti. […] it’s about helping people.”
The Raiders now employ the highest paid quarterback and third highest paid guard in the league. And McKenzie and co aren’t finished.
With reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper (who just turned 23) still on the docket, the financial gymnastics continue. But if the signings of Carr and Jackson are any indication of how contract discussions will go, fans should rest easy knowing the team’s foundation will stay intact for many years to come.