The offseason has started but is only barely getting off of the ground. Now that coaching hires/fires have begun to settle down, we can look towards the rest of the offseason. With that in mind, here are three bold predictions for three of the major phases of the offseason:
Within The Team
Â Raiders extend Derek Carr AND Khalil Mack
We already know the Raiders intend on extending Derek Carr this offseason. Though there have not been any reports that negotiations have started or how close the two sides are, itâ€™s believed by most that the team and Carr will get a deal done fairly easily. The fact of the matter is, this team is nothing without Carr and they MUST keep him on the Raiders. It wonâ€™t be cheap and the Raiders wonâ€™t try to short change Carr, but donâ€™t be surprised if the contract is formatted in a way that is beneficial to the team and the salary cap.
But what hasnâ€™t been discussed is Khalil Mackâ€™s contract. Obviously, coming off of a Defensive Player of the Year award means Mack wonâ€™t come cheap. But he wonâ€™t come cheap no matter when the team signs him and despite coming off of a DPOY award, I believe Mackâ€™s best days are still ahead of him. If he has a monster season next year, extending him could become even more expensive so why not get both done now and save some money later?
In Free Agency
Raiders only sign one starter
Over the past few years, weâ€™ve grown accustom to Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders bringing in a number of starters in free agency. Last offseason, they brought in Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, Kelechi Osemele and Reggie Nelson. But this free agency, expect the Raiders to focus more on depth and role players rather than starters. I see the team bringing in one starter. Just a guess, but given the poor quality of offensive linemen in the draft, I could see the Raiders solidifying the right tackle position in free agency. I could also see them bringing in a veteran linebacker or defensive tackle. But I donâ€™t expect them to bring in more than one guy who they expect to win a starting job.
In the Draft
Raiders donâ€™t make a first round pick
Itâ€™s been a LOOOOOOOOONG time since the Raiders were making their draft pick towards the end of each round. Because of that, we donâ€™t really know how McKenzieâ€™s draft strategy may or may not change based on draft position. But one thing is for sure, McKenzie has always and will always value draft picks.
When you draft in the top 15, there is a fairly strong consensus on which players are worthy of those picks. For many, once you get to the mid to late 20â€™s of the first round, the difference in evaluation of various prospects becomes less certain. For some teams, a player is worthy of the number 24 pick but that same player is seen as a high to mid second round pick to other teams. Because of this, Iâ€™m predicting that McKenzie will cash in on that uncertainty by trading back into the top of the second round and grabbing an extra couple of picks in later rounds. Ideally, the Raiders end up with two first round picks while still getting a guy they value as a late first round talent.