AFC West Notes: McKenzie, Chargers, Sanchez

On the heels of his four-year extension, Reggie McKenzie will be ready to discuss extensions for Khalil Mack and Derek Carr after this season, when the 2014 draft choices become eligible to negotiate long-term contracts with the Raiders. The fifth-year Oakland GM said there has been a “constant dialogue” with the two standouts’ representatives, ones who profile as the best players the Raiders have had the opportunity to extend in many years.

The plan is to keep good players,” McKenzie told media, including Jerry McDonald of “Y’all could come beat me across the head if I let a Hall of Fame-type player leave this building. I’ll take [their agents] out to dinner any time I see him. We’ve fostered good relationships.”

McKenzie’s most recent offseason — one that featured the most notable Raiders free agent signings this decade in Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin and others — centered around free agency, but in 2017, Mack, Carr and Gabe Jackson become extension-eligible. Both Carr and Mack could soon be $20MM-per-year players, McDonald estimates.

Here’s more from the Raiders, along with the rest of the AFC West.

  • One of McKenzie’s free agent signings hasn’t worked out on the field, but the GM said the Raiders plan to stick by Aldon Smith despite his pattern of unavailability, Scott Bair of reports. McKenzie did describe the sixth-year player’s situation as an “uphill battle,” though. “We knew his situation,” McKenzie said. “It’s not like we had blinders on. Going into last year, we knew a suspension was probable. It’s going to be an uphill battle for him. He’s going to have to fight the good fight, but we’re not going to bail on him. He has to do his part.” Oakland has now signed the mercurial pass-rusher twice in two seasons and could see the second commitment fail to result in any Smith playing time this season. The former 49ers All-Pro checked himself into rehab earlier this week.
  • McKenzie’s decision to cut bait on disappointing former first-round picks Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rolando McClain, while absorbing a $13.7MM dead-money hit upon releasing Richard Seymour, helped the Raiders’ rebuild in 2013, Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News writes. Those releases comprised part of the reason the Raiders held so much cap space the past two offseasons.
  • The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Chargers‘ downtown stadium initiative, Roger Showley of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. However, the backing might not mean too much since the measure, as of now, needs a two-thirds majority to pass in November.
  • That prospect remains a long-odds proposition, Union-Tribune’s Logan Jenkins points out. Jenkins doesn’t envision the measure passing at 50%. The California Supreme Court’s recent decision to review an appellate court’s ruling requires the measure to receive a two-thirds majority to pass. That 66.6% number is not finalized, however. Jenkins adds that the Chargers’ preferred downtown stadium not being likely to pass opens the door to a compromise in the form of a renovated Qualcomm Stadium. While the team’s efforts are being put into moving downtown, the Chargers will have options of becoming the Rams’ tenants in Los Angeles or making it work at their current Mission Valley site. Jenkins writes the latter choice would work out best for the Chargers’ standing in the community, staying in San Diego and not forcing what seems to be a largely unwanted downtown measure on taxpayers. A move to L.A. could decimate their fanbase as well, with the Rams having already set up shop there and the Chargers having essentially no footprint in the city.
  • Eric Fisher‘s contract extension — one that tacks on four years and $48MM to the left tackle’s deal — doubles as a huge leap of faith by the Chiefs, Adam Teicher of writes. Teicher points out the 6-foot-7 blocker from mid-major Central Michigan has been even more of a project than the franchise thought he’d be and that the team is rewarding Fisher for future performance as opposed to the modest production he’s shown.
  • Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian split first-team reps at Broncos practice Saturday, although the veteran’s command in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage is noticeable, Troy Renck of reports. Paxton Lynch took reps with the third team, per Renck.
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