The Oakland Raiders and GM Reggie McKenzie is not playing with the team’s future. A week after making Derek Carr the highest paid player, the Raiders signed Gabe Jackson to a five-year, $56 million contract.
Signing Jackson is a great move to protect Carr and open running lanes for Marshawn Lynch. Jackson did not allow a single sack last season, and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 22 overall guard with an 81.1 accumulative grade.
The 2014 third round pick earned his payday by being a starter on the Raiders offensive line from Day One. Carr and Khalil Mack get a lot of credit for turning the franchise around, but Jackson was an equal contributor to the culture change. He hast started 44 games through three seasons. Jackson also dominated SEC play for four seasons before he even came into the NFL. Oakland got a steal by drafting him in the middle rounds.
Jackson is now one of the top-five paid guards in the NFL. However, the locking up the 25-year-old guard allows the Raiders to turn their focuse towards re-signing Khalil Mack after 2018 and Amari Cooper in 2019. Further, the Carr and Jackson extensions prove that the Raiders are willing to pay and keep their talent. This is something McKenzie learned from his tenure with the Green Bay Packers.
The Silver and Black successfully drafted and developed talent like Jackson. It is nice to see that the organization is rewarding the players’ hard work and loyalty.