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McKenzie: TJ Carrie ‘the glue’ for Raiders secondary in contract year

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Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

With the outstanding 2014 draft the Raiders had, there are a few contracts the Raiders have to think about. First and foremost is the Khalil Mack, who had his fifth year option picked up this offseason and thus will be looking for an extension.

A few months ago Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie already signed 2014 second round pick Derek Carr and third round pick Gabe Jackson to extensions. He expects to do the same with Mack this offseason.

“I anticipate, yes. I do,” McKenzie said Thursday in a roundtable with local media. “Hopefully his agent feels the same.”

Since even before McKenzie made Carr the highest paid player in NFL history, the Raiders big spending GM would be pulling out all the stops to make Mack the highest paid defender in the NFL.

With all those big names getting paid, there’s one player from that draft who’s flying under the radar -- TJ Carrie.

The 7th round cornerback has been the most consistent performer on an otherwise inconsistent Raiders secondary this season. He leads the team with 50 combined tackles (44 solo) and has been solid in coverage as well, starting 8 of the team’s nine games.

"He's been the glue,” said McKenzie. “He's been there. He's been available. He's kind of held it together playing outside and inside. He's done a lot of things for us, and he’s shown up, and definitely played a lot more this year than he’s probably ever played, so that’s different for him, trying to get his body ready for it week to week. He’s been really solid for us.”

When you look at what Carrie has done, especially compared to the other starters. He leads all of the team’s current starting cornerbacks in yards allowed per coverage snap (1.14) and passer rating allowed (96.3). Pro Football Focus ranks him 51 among NFL corners, which doesn’t seem great until you see where the other Raiders corners land.

While may be like the rose sprouting from a pile of manure, you have to wonder where the Raiders would be without Carrie’s presence.

The East Bay native and De La Salle grad will hit free agency in March unless the team keeps him at home. And from the way things are going now, they can’t afford not to.