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Mail bag 2/10: Potential Carr extension cap hit, most underrated Raider, getting Coop more involved, more

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I finally got around to doing a Q&A session with readers and it’s pretty clear I need to do these more often. Mainly because there were so many questions, I just spent this entire day answering them. If I do it more often, maybe I can spread it out a little.

Here are some of the questions I received which I thought were worthy of a more detailed answer than I wanted to give in the comments.

PantyRaider asks: If the Raiders extend the contact of Carr how does it apply to our 2017 Cap?

Glad you asked. There are a lot of ways it could apply to the cap next year, depending on how the Raiders structure it. It wouldn’t simply be a situation where he starts his new deal next year and thus his yearly figure counts against the cap. But ultimately it could amount to the same thing.

Most likely it will be a case where Carr will play out the final year of his rookie contract which carries a cap figure of $1.7 million plus whatever roster bonus and/or signing bonus the Raiders give him on his extension. So, for instance, if the roster bonus was $20 million, and they structured it to all count immediately, his cap figure would be $21.7 million for 2017. Then his base salary for his new contract would kick in for 2018 and beyond. It’s an extension, so should he sign for five years, that would keep him a Raider for the next six years.

RaiderPride20 asks: Who do you think is the most underrated player on the team?

Well, I guess I can’t say Matt McGloin cuz he’s probably going to leave as a free agent to become a super star elsewhere. (Sorry, PR, I know how much you love the guy). So, I will go with Denico Autry. There are some holes in his game, but as a 3-4 DE, he is one of the better ones you’ll find and yet no one talks about him (Well, except me). The Raiders don’t even start him most of the time, which is strange to me, especially considering Jihad Ward was by no means a better option.

Raider208 asks: What are your thoughts on [new Assistant Head Coach - Defense John] Pagano?

While it seemed to me Wade Phillips as a replacement for Ken Norton Jr would have been ideal, I like the addition of Pagano. I don’t know how the combination of he and Norton on the team will function, but when you can get a guy with the kind of experience Pagano has, you make that move. If in a year the team decides to move on from Ken Norton Jr, they have their guy in place with a year transition. If the combination works, stick with it. The more great minds in the room, the better.

Berkeleyraider90 asks: What are your beliefs in regards to the stadium issue? Any realistic chance of staying in Oakland? What is your prediction on what happens? And what is your stance on the issue?

A day will come when I no longer have to answer these questions. And that will be a great day indeed. I’m not annoyed at you asking, but the fact that on a seemingly week to week basis that the question must be answered, gets tiresome after a wile. Basically a ‘How bout now?’ deal.

There were times last year when it looked like the Raiders were headed to LA. Everything was falling into place in Carson and nothing was coming together in Oakland. Then a deus ex machina happened. It was Jerry Jones riding in on a chariot in the sky to drop an alternative plan onto the owners that would put the Chargers in with the Rams and the Raiders out of the deal.

How does one predict such things? It’s tough. A month ago everyone was talking about what a sweet deal the Raiders had in Las Vegas and how Oakland was not even salvageable. Then Sheldon Adelson bolts, the supposed backup Goldman Sachs follows the money out the door, Adelson (who runs that town) is pissed, and the whole thing looks in danger of blowing up in the Raiders’ faces.

Meanwhile, there’s Oakland. Still there waiting. Still wanting the Raiders to stay. Still hoping their efforts will be enough. There are still many roadblocks to clear. But my thinking is, the more time they’re given, the better chance the A’s have of finding a stadium solution, which clears one major roadblock and then who knows what could be worked out between the parties after that. Gotta get back to the table to know.

Bwblack asks: With such a tough schedule in 2017, is 10 wins going to be enough to win AFCW? With divisional games so crucial are the Chiefs still in the box seat having gone 6-0 last year against AFCW opponents

No, I don’t see 10 wins being enough to win the division. Yes, the Chiefs are the team to beat. Sweeping the division gave them half their wins while three of the Raiders four losses came against division opponents. That being said there is no reason whatsoever the Raiders can’t overtake them. There appear to be some doubts in Kansas City that Alex Smith can take them where they want to be, some of their best defenders are in the twilight of their careers, and the Raiders will not be such a pushover next season. And we all know that had Derek Carr not been injured there was every reason to think they would finish off the season with a win in Denver and secure the division. Even with the Chiefs’ division sweep, in the end, they didn’t control their own destiny. And neither team won a playoff game.

JoshuaMcDaniel20 asks Could a speedster open up Amari’s Game? and Adds99 asks “What would you do to get Amari Cooper more involved?

Dual questions about Amari Cooper. One kind of answers the other. First of all, no one is more responsible for getting Amari Cooper involved than Amari Cooper himself. It’s his job to get open and when he’s not, to win battles with defensive backs to get the ball. But, what I would do, is what Josh said; add a speedster. The best teams have savvy, speedy slot guys who take pressure off the outside receivers. Seth Roberts is a decent enough receiver, but he’s not that. He is a relief valve when teams take away the outside guys. What the Raiders need is a serious threat inside who demands attention.

JoshEboy1 asks: Aldon, Khalil, Bruce 1. How do they use all 3 in the lineup? For instance does Edwards get bumped? 2. Who’s the best Bballer out of the 3?

The use of all three in the lineup was one I pondered when it was thought Aldon might be back midseason. The beauty of it is there are many options. Mack spent more time at DE last season and Aldon could too once he returns. Irvin could play more outside linebacker in a 4-3 set, offering 5-2 looks. It’s a good problem to have. Edwards wouldn’t be the player bumped. He plays a different position entirely. He is an interior lineman either as a 3-4 DE or a 3-tech DT in a 4-3.

Aldon can ball on the court. He can throw it down too.

Baman asks: On one of my posts on bpa draft you responded with bpa is a fallacy or something to that affect, can you explain your stance to me? Are you talking just about RM or about anyone’s draft?

I am talking in general, but very much including McKenzie. He always preaches Best Player Available, but always drafts for need. That doesn’t mean, he is out there reaching for need. It’s both. It’s the Best Player Available at a position of need.

Last year, the Raiders top needs were safety (by a wide margin), defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and running back. They got the first two with the first two picks, neglected middle linebacker altogether, and got the running back they wanted in the fifth round. Once you get into the mid/late rounds, yes, there is definitely room for looking at BPA. Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook, and Vadal Alexander were examples of that. But early in the draft, you want guys who can start now, so you draft at positions where they can step right in. You can also go back to the selections of Amari Cooper and Mario Edwards Jr in 2015 as clear need picks as everyone knew WR and DE were their biggest needs.

angloraider asks: After his rookie season, you published an article on how Carr was overrated And you were clearly skeptical about whether he could be a key player for us moving forward. 1. What is your view of Carr now? 2. Have you had any personal interaction with him? 3. If yes, how did he come across to you?

I assume you’re talking about this article: Study suggest Derek Carr not Raiders long term answer at QB

That wasn’t my opinion on Carr, but one of a statistical analysis by Numberfire which put Carr’s rookie numbers up against other rookie QB’s over the years and the results didn’t put him in good company. Those figures aren’t wrong. They’re just figures. The fact that Carr appears at this point to be an outlier actually speaks very highly of him.

I was critical of Carr early on. To say I thought he was ‘overrated’ depends on who’s rating him. Pro Football Focus graded him as the second worst QB in the league his rookie season. My findings weren’t positive either. Anyone watching could tell he was struggling with the same issues for which he was criticized coming out of college, and the reason he fell out of the first round. Most notably, fleeing clean pockets and forcing balls to well covered receivers. That was cause for great concern.

That being said, I didn’t make any predictions on his future. He had a lot to prove. And that’s what he’s done each of the past two seasons, improving leaps and bounds, and more and more rarely showing signs of the issues he had as a rookie. He is a rare commodity. Many quarterbacks aren’t capable of doing what he’s done.

My personal interactions have only been in a work setting. Early on, he seemed a little guarded and a lot of ‘Golly gee’. By his second season, and especially last season, he has opened up more. I’ve long said it’s a sign of intelligence when a player can give the media substance because it means he innately knows how much he can say and how to say it. One thing he has always been is giving and gracious. Every. Single. Practice, he’s the last player to leave from signing autographs with the fans. For some, that is just a PR move. I don’t think it is with him.

Editor’s note: Thanks to everyone for their great questions. I will try and do this more often. And for the sarcasm impaired and lingering TP fans out there; I was not being serious with the bit about Matt McGloin.