From the first time Gabe Jackson played a game for the Raiders, the offensive lineman has been a huge contributor.
As the team’s starting left guard in 2014 and 2015 and No. 1 right guard in 2016, Jackson has been close to Pro Bowl caliber. And, at age 25, the 6-foot-3, 336-pounder from Mississippi State is just coming into his prime. Jackson is signed through the 2017 season, with Oakland set to pay him just over $1.9 million.
The Raiders are determined to keep Jackson much longer, however. General manager Reggie McKenzie loves Jackson and wants him to be a part of the offensive line for seasons to come.
A new deal for Jackson has been overshadowed by a couple of other necessary contract extensions this offseason, for NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr. McKenzie has some flexibility under the salary cap for additions, but keeping Mack, Carr and Jackson is a priority.
The fact he must get those deals done has meant the Raiders haven’t been as active in free agency this season.
“We’re going to try and get our quarterback signed,” McKenzie told the media at the recent NFL owners meeting. “We want to get Khalil signed, and at the same time we’re tying to get Gabe. You have to allot some money for those guys. With that being said, we didn’t have the opportunity to go after guys like we did last year (in free agency), at those numbers.”
Jackson has grown to become an integral part of the offensive line, one of the NFL’s best. The line allowed the fewest sacks in the league (18) during the regular season and also blocked well enough to produce the NFL’s No. 6 rushing game (120.1 yards per game).
It’s been reported, however, that keeping Jackson will require a mega deal, perhaps as much as $32 million for four years.