Raiders should hold off on giving Jack Del Rio a contract extension

06 December 2015: Oakland Raiders Derek Carr, Marcel Reece and coach Jack Del Rio ( pictured L-R ) celebrate a Raiders touchdown during action in an NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Coliseum in Oakland, CA. The Chiefs won 34-20. (Photograph by Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire)

According to Bill Williamson, the Oakland Raiders and Jack Del Rio have begun talks on a contract extension for the second year head coach. The decision to do so now comes as a bit of a surprise. The only comparable situation in the Mark Davis era of the Oakland Raiders was the extension given to Reggie McKenzie. In that case, the Raiders and Mark Davis waited until McKenzie was about to enter the final year of his contract before extending him.

By letting the first three years of McKenzie’s contract play out, Davis was able to collect a good sample size of data to make his decision. With Del Rio, Davis does not seem as interested in waiting. Despite the fact that Del Rio only just finished his second year of a four year contract combined with the fact that there are some serious questions surrounding this team, Davis appears ready to extend Del Rio now.

But before I go on, let me be abundantly clear, I believe Jack Del Rio has done a very good job with this team and in no way should Davis be thinking about moving on from him at this point.

But he should be thinking about letting the rest of his contract play out before committing to an extension.

Del Rio has done well in his first two seasons as Raiders head coach. He’s helped this team turn things around and unlike many coaches before him who talked about it, Del Rio actually has changed the culture in Oakland. There’s no denying that he’s done a good job with the Raiders, but that shouldn’t be enough to warrant an extension.

This team cannot think like the team who was the laughing stock of the NFL for a decade. That team would have done anything to have a coach like Jack Del Rio. The team we see before us needs to be able to say “Nice job, Jack. But let’s see if you can keep up this pace for another year or two before we start talking extension.”

It’s not that the Raiders should be considering moving on from Del Rio, it’s that a lot can change in two years. We’ve seen how much the Raiders have improved in two years under Del Rio. And I expect the Raiders will continue to get better. But what if they don’t? What if they take a big step backwards next season? Again, I don’t think they will but we can’t pretend like there’s no way that will happen.

Two years of solid play by the Raiders is great but it’s a small sample size. Before extending Del Rio, Mark Davis and the Raiders should really consider letting at least one more season play out. Especially considering the fact that Del Rio just made a few rather big moves on his coaching staff that could pay huge dividends or backfire.

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james arcellana

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