Gabe Jackson

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders

The Chiefs did in fact interview a minority candidate for their general manager position — in compliance with the Rooney Rule — but that individual does not wish to be identified, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. As such, the Fritz Pollard Alliance approved of Kansas City’s GM search. “The Chiefs left it up to the individual candidates and their agents whether they wanted their names out there or not,” chairman John Wooten told Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “But I can assure you that they complied. We are comfortable [with their interview process].”

Aside from Brett Veach, only three other contenders’ interviews were public knowledge: Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, and Chiefs co-director of player personnel Mike Borgonzi. All personnel interview requests must be made to the league office, meaning the unnamed candidate may work in the media, according to to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who speculates ESPN commentator Louis Riddick — who was linked to the Kansas City vacancy — may have been the interviewee.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Nearing age-30 and coming off a down season (by his standards), Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas finally feels healthy after a hip injury nagged him in 2016, and he feels he can continue playing at a high level even as he enters the twilight of his career. “I got longer than 30 [years],” Thomas told Aric DiLalla of DenverBroncos.com. “I think I’ve got a couple good years [left]. Like I’ve been saying before, this is the best I’ve felt my whole career. I haven’t had the problems I usually have with my hip, because that was one of the things that held me back.” Playing without Peyton Manning for the first time since 2011, Thomas posted 90 receptions for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns a season ago.
  • While the full details and structure of Gabe Jackson‘s five-year, $56MM extension with the Raiders aren’t yet know, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) has passed along a few particulars of the deal. Oakland, well-known fans of the pay-as-you-go contract structure, employed that technique with Jackson, per Corry, meaning the club did not use a signing bonus. Such a composition should allow the Raiders to easily exit the pact in future years. Jackson’s 2017 cap charge has now increased from roughly $1.945MM to ~$10.648MM, meaning Oakland utilized about $8.7MM of its available cap space.
  • In case you missed it, PFR’s Sam Robinson reviewed the Broncos‘ offseason earlier this week, recapping and analyzing the major signings, departures, trades, and other notable offseason events for Denver.

QB Notes: Carr, Stafford, Bortles, FAs

During the press conference to announce his new contract, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had said that he wanted to leave some money for the organization to re-sign his teammates.

“The main thing that I could just remember was all along the way, I was like, ‘How do we keep my teammates?’” Carr said (via Raiders.com). “That’s, I don’t know if it’s weird how it sounds, but that was just what I kept telling him. I was like, ‘OK. that’s cool. Yeah, that’s awesome, wow, cool. Is this good for Gabe [Jackson]? Is this good for Khalil [Mack]? Is this good for Amari [Cooper]?’ [Reggie] can tell you himself, these are things that I said to him numerous amounts of times. I didn’t want to hurt our team; that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. So, hopefully we didn’t That’s the last thing that I intended to do and that’s kind of why I was so involved.”

Well, Carr’s brother, former NFL quarterback David Carr, said the Raiders star left money on the table so the team could specifically re-sign offensive guard Gabe Jackson (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). While Carr still became the first player in NFL history to make more than $25MM a season, his contract apparently left enough room for the organization to re-sign Jackson to a five-year, $56MM extension.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL pertaining to the league’s quarterbacks…

  • With all the talk surrounding free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com notes that there are a number of available signal-callers who could justify having a roster spot in the NFL. Besides the former 49ers quarterback, Cummings lists Vince Young, Robert Griffin, Christian Ponder, Johnny Manziel, and Jay Cutler as those who are still awaiting phone calls.
  • Matthew Stafford‘s 2018 franchise tag value will be around $26.4MM, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB.com. The reporter notes that this will give the veteran some leverage during contract negotiations with the Lions, as the “the expected slotted number” was around $22MM. Next season, Stafford will be earning a $16.5MM base salary in the final year of his contract.
  • The Jaguars acquisition of rookie running back Leonard Fournette, rookie lineman Cam Robinson, and veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert should give the organization some clarity on quarterback Blake Bortles, writes Breer. The 25-year-old, who seemingly took a step back last season following a breakout 2015 campaign, had his fifth-year option for 2018 picked up earlier this offseason.

Raiders, Gabe Jackson Agree To Extension

The Raiders and right guard Gabe Jackson have agreed to a five-year, $56MM extension, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal includes $26MM in guarantees, tweets ESPN’s Josina Anderson, and will keep Jackson with the Raiders through 2022.

Gabe Jackson (Vertical)

Oakland had been prioritizing a Jackson extension since early in the offseason, so it’s no surprise that the two sides have agreed to a contract. Jackson’s now the second core member of the Raiders to accept a long-term deal this month, following quarterback Derek Carr, who landed a five-year, $125MM accord last week.

With the 25-year-old Jackson and Kelechi Osemele under wraps, the Raiders now have two of the NFL’s highest-paid guards. Osemele actually edges out Jackson in total value, having inked a five-year, $58.5MM contract as a free agent in 2016, but his deal includes less in guarantees ($25.4MM). Among guards, Jackson only ranks behind the Bengals’ Kevin Zeitler (five years, $60MM) and Osemele in value, and he’s second to Zeitler’s $31.5MM in guarantees.

Since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2014, Jackson has started in 44 of 45 regular-season appearances. The former Mississippi State standout has back-to-back 16-game seasons under his belt, and he’s coming off a year in which he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 22nd-best guard (72 qualifiers). Led by their two guards, left tackle Donald Penn and center Rodney Hudson, the Raiders had the fourth-best offensive line in the league last year, according to PFF. All four of those players, not to mention primary right tackle Austin Howard, are returning this season, meaning the Raiders should once again have an elite quintet of blockers to make life easier for Carr and their skill players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders, Gabe Jackson Begin Talks

Contracts talks between the Raiders and guard Gabe Jackson are underway, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter links) hears. However, her source cautions that it is “very, very early” in the process. Ultimately, Anderson is told that the deal is almost certain to get done (Twitter link).Gabe Jackson (Vertical)

It has been expected for months now that the Raiders and Jackson would commence contract negotiations this summer. Naturally, a new deal for Derek Carr was No. 1 on the team’s to-do list, but Jackson is next up now that the quarterback has been inked to a five-year, $125MM deal. Extensions for Jackson and linebacker Khalil Mack now stand as the team’s biggest priorities. The Raiders should have the flexibility to get those deals done plus a fresh contract for wide receiver Amari Cooper thanks to the team-friendly structure of Carr’s pact.

The Raiders are eager to lock up Jackson for the foreseeable future, but an extension won’t come cheap. Anderson hears that Jackson’s camp is looking to top Joel Bitonio‘s $10MM annual average salary and may look to approach the AAV of Kelechi Osemele ($11.7MM) and Kevin Zeitler ($12MM).

Jackson, 26 in July, has been a starter since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2014. Last season, Jackson graded as the league’s No. 20 offensive guard among 72 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Rumors: LT, Raiders, San Antonio

LaDainian Tomlinson has joined the Chargers as a “Special Assistant to the owner of the team,” according to a press release. It sounds like Tomlinson will not have a part in front office decisions as his job will focus more on fan relations. His presence could help smooth over tensions with San Diegans who are feeling scorned by the team’s relocation to Los Angeles.

L.T. is one of the most beloved and iconic Chargers of all time,” said Chairman Dean Spanos in the statement. “His active involvement in our fight for Los Angeles is vital, and he represents the very best of what it means to be a Charger on the field and in the community.”

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • It sounds like we won’t see major progress in the Raiders‘ extension talks with Derek Carr until May or later. “He knows what we’re trying to do in free agency, and he’s never saying, ‘I need to know now. It’s not like that,” GM Reggie McKenzie said, according to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “More likely, the serious talks will happen after the draft. The communication has been ongoing, just talking about the philosophy of a contract and the thought process around it. Hopefully when the serious talks start going, then it’s going to be easier.” McKenzie also indicated that an extension could be on the way for right guard Gabe Jackson. The Raiders will also discuss a new deal with Khalil Mack, but they have more time on that front thanks to his option for the 2018 season.
  • Multiple cities have reached out to the Raiders expressing interest in being their temporary home, including San Antonio, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. It’s possible that we could see the Raiders make a pit stop on the way from Oakland to Las Vegas.
  • The Broncos will add a third quarterback, but that player is likely to be a young veteran or a rookie.
  • The Chiefs hosted linebacker Rey Maualuga on a visit this week.

Raiders Eyeing Gabe Jackson Extension

The Raiders hope to secure long-term agreements with quarterback Derek Carr and edge rusher Khalil Mack, and a third member of the club’s 2014 draft class is also up for a new deal. Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie mentioned right guard Gabe Jackson‘s name in regards to possible extension, tweets Scott Bair of CSNCalifornia.com, who adds the Raiders “love” Jackson.Gabe Jackson (Vertical)

[RELATED: NFL Approves Raiders’ Move To Vegas]

Without extensions in place, the Raiders can still hold onto Carr and Mack for several more seasons via the fifth-year option (Mack in 2018) and the franchise tag (Carr in 2018 and Mack in 2019). No such fifth-year option exists for Jackson given he was a third-round pick, and the franchise tender isn’t usually palatable for an interior lineman. As such, a long-term deal with Jackson would not only allow Oakland to keep its excellent offensive line in place, but enable the club to focus on deals for Carr and Mack.

Jackson, 25, has been a full-time starter since entering the league of out Mississippi State, and has appeared in 45 games during his three-year stint in Oakland. Last season, Jackson graded as the league’s No. 20 offensive guard among 72 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. The Raiders’ offensive line, which also includes stars Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, and Donald Penn, ranked first in pass protection in 2016, allowing an adjusted sack rate of just 3.4%, according to Football Outsiders.

The Raiders have ample cap space in which to fit long-term pacts for Carr, Mack, and Jackson, as the the team has $33MM in 2017 space and $76MM in 2018 (both amounts are among the league’s top five). Jackson, meanwhile, will earn $1.797MM in 2017 under the terms of the proven performance escalator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Vegas, Jackson, CBs

Mark Davis would need 24 votes from his fellow owners to green-light a Las Vegas move, but Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register notes motivation exists within the NFL to agree to this move thanks to myriad circumstances.

The Rams preferring to keep the Los Angeles market for themselves and this week’s California State Supreme Court ruling making a Chargers’ long-term stadium hopes much less likely provide clarity on multiple fronts for a Raiders-to-Vegas venture. It would give the Chargers, who loom as a fringe Vegas option, a clear choice between San Diego or Los Angeles and allow for precise negotiations between the team and its current city without the Raiders complicating their push for L.A. by remaining in that mix. Although Vegas is now Davis’ front-burner option, his team still sits behind the Chargers in the Los Angeles pecking order.

Sources also informed Bonsignore the prospect of a second Los Angeles franchise remains preferable to the league, if only for the purposes of it forcing action on other cities to build stadiums, mentioning the Bills, Jaguars and Saints as those who could use Los Angeles as leverage.

Here’s more on Las Vegas, as well as the latest from around the league.

  • While the Raiders and the prospective developers did not like what came out of the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee’s meeting last week — one that calls for $550MM in public funds to be raised for the proposed $1.45 billion stadium — all parties are optimistic a deal will be reached by the time a financing plan needs to be submitted to Nevada governor Brian Sandoval later this month, Bonsignore reports. “We are nearing the end of this process, but we certainly have [four] more weeks in order to resolve any differences we have,” said SNTIC chairman Steve Hill, via Bonsignore. “And it’s my sense, and most will agree, that everyone involved in this conversation is trying to work to make [the stadium project] happen.” The SNTIC will meet again on July 11 and later on July 28 to attempt to wrap up this plan.
  • Kelechi Osemele‘s arrival will slide Gabe Jackson from left to right guard, a position the promising third-year performer hasn’t played since college, Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com notes. On the strength of his pass-blocking, Jackson rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 13 overall guard last season.
  • D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie are the primary competitors for Oakland’s slot cornerback job, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com writes. Sean Smith and David Amerson are expected to start. Hayden spent the most time working there during offseason workouts, but the Raiders did not pick up the 2013 first-rounder’s fifth-year option after a thus-far-underwhelming career. Carrie, who started 14 games last season, possesses more physicality for the role in Bair’s mind, however. After the team moved Keith McGill to safety, Neiko Thorpe resides as the most experienced challenger for slot duty.
  • Raiders third-round rookie Shilique Calhoun is also learning a new position.

AFC Links: Raiders, Dolphins, Green

The stadium proposal that didn’t exactly receive rave reviews leaves some unanswered questions regarding the feasibility of its completion and, naturally, the Raiders‘ future in Oakland, writes Matthew Artz of the Bay Area News Group.

Chief among them, writes Artz, is whether the stadium can be built for the $900MM budgeted, and if not, what’s the plan if additional funds are required? Artz points out how Levi’s Stadium was slated to cost $937MM but ended up running a $1.3 billion tab.

The project would have to be financed entirely by the NFL and the Raiders, and the proposed 55,000-seat stadium would be smaller and is projected to generate less revenue than what’s being discussed in Carson, Calif. But before seeing a cost breakdown, which the Raiders have not released, determining the project’s viability is difficult, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC’s School of Business David Carter told Artz.

Here are some more details from around the league on Independence Day eve.

  • The Raiders upgraded at backup quarterback in Christian Ponder, a veteran of new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave‘s offense from the duo’s time in Minnesota from 2011-13, writes Steve Corkran of RaiderBeat.com. Corkran doesn’t doubt starter Derek Carr‘s ability to make a “precipitous” leap this season and believes new weapons Amari Cooper and Clive Walford will help in this effort. Concluding his analysis of the Oakland quarterback spot, the veteran Raiders reporter predicts Matt McGloin will beat out rookie Cody Fajardo.
  • New Raiders offensive coordinator Mike Tice has taken to second-year guard Gabe Jackson, referring to the 2014 third-round pick as a “rising star,” offers CSNBayArea.com. Jackson was the 27th-best guard, per Pro Football Focus, last season and now has the benefit of working next to key free agent acquisition Rodney Hudson in Year 2.
  • In his series on who’s bound for the Dolphins‘ 53-man roster, James Walker of ESPN.com gives running back Mike Gillislee a 25% chance at making the team in what could be his final training camp in Miami. Currently fifth on the depth chart behind Lamar Miller, rookie Jay Ajayi, LaMichael James and Damien Williams, Gillislee has just six carries for 21 yards in his two-year career.
  • Even before Antonio Gates‘ suspension, the Chargers were planning to allot more time to Ladarius Green, writes Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune. With the Chargers viewing Green as a superior run-blocker to the 35-year-old Gates, the veteran’s early absence could expedite Melvin Gordon‘s development.

AFC West Notes: Hillman, Allen, Jackson

Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman ended last season fourth on the depth chart, but he’s rebounded with an impressive, encouraging offseason, reports NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. Hillman’s position coach Eric Studesville praised the third-year back, saying, “From when we started this spring in April forward, he has been unbelievable. He’s a completely different guy in the best possible way and I’m just excited about what he’s doing, how he’s approaching it, how he’s making plays on the field.”

Here’s a few more AFC West links:

      • The Broncos need to improve in the punt return game, writes the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, who takes a look at the players vying for the role, including Isaiah Burse and Jordan Norwood. The team can also use veteran Wes Welker if the “safe” option is the best option.
      • Donnie Avery had just 40 catches and two touchdowns in his first season with the Chiefs last year, but he remains the team’s best option to be the No. 2 receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe, says ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
      • The Chiefs’ offensive line is the focus of team reporter BJ Kissel, who writes about the impressive camp third-year blocker Jeff Allen is having. Allen is proving versatile and effective, and his teammates are noticing. Says Pro-Bowl pass rusher Tamba Hali: “I’m very impressed with [Allen]. He’s able to play guard and he’s able to play tackle and I’m going against him and he’s stoned me a couple times. I’m very impressed with him.”
      • There’s no more ambiguity about the type of offensive line the Raiders want to field, writes InsideBayArea.com’s Jerry McDonald, who says rookie guard Gabe Jacksonrepresents a changing of the guard for the Raiders in ways that go beyond inserting the rookie third-round draft pick into the starting lineup.” Jackson has work to do in pass protection, but the Raiders envision the third-rounder as a powerful road grader with long-term starter potential.
      • The Chargers’ depth chart for their first preseason game looks like this. Notre Dame rookie Chris Watt will start at right guard, while free-agent acquisition Donald Brown is listed as the primary kick returner.