The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t wait any time and started the team’s offseason by signing guard Richie Incognito to a 2-year $14 million deal. They did the smart thing.
The Raiders signed Incognito last year after trading guard Kelechi Osemele to the Jets for a ham sandwich. The former Bills player had a tumultuous background to put it mildly and and red flags coming to the team. General manager took a gamble on him and fortunately, it didn’t blow on the team’s face. On the contrary and after a two-game suspension, the wager paid off.
As soon as he was reinstated, Incognito went on to stabilize the offensive line. After being sacked 52 in 2018, Derek Carr was taken down a manageable 28 times in 2018, a noticable improvement from one year to another and Incognito was a big reason why.
It was only fair and necessary the Raiders stroke a new contract with Incognito to have continuity as head coach Jon Gruden put it in his latest media appearance. How they did it was the interesting thing.
Incognito is by no mean a young bird; he’s 36 years old and could see a sudden decline in his performance at any time because if his age. It happened to quarterback Payton Manning, safety Darren Sharper and Raider Nation favorite Donald Penn. The length of the contract is just right as the guard is owed $6.4 in guaranteed money, meaning that the Raiders cut him if he were to decrease his production.
Speaking if Penn, he gave the Raiders the blueprint how not to do things. After a successful 2016 (putting aside Carr’s leg injury), the left tackle wanted a salary bump and held out ahead of the regular season in 2017 and got it. After boycotting training camp, the veteran played four games, got injured and didn’t suit up for the reminder if the season. Later in 2018, Oakland and Penn restructured his contract once again, dropping his salary from $6 million to $3 million and getting $2.75 in guaranteed money in 2019.
To avoid a Penn’s situation kind of thing, the Raiders gave Incognito a fair deal and and save themselves from convoluted contract talks with the guard.
The Raiders wanted continuity and they paid Incognito to provide it ahead of Las Vegas. It’s not hard to say that both the team and the player won by giving the guard a new contract.