Now that Derek Carr’s contract extension has been finalized, the Raiders will likely turn their attention to a new deal for Gabe Jackson.
Jackson, the team’s starting right guard, is one of a trio of gems selected by Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie in the 2014 NFL Draft. Defensive end-linebacker Khalil Mack was taken in the first round, Carr in the second and Jackson in the third.
Already, the Raiders have picked up the extension on Mack’s deal for 2018, which will reportedly be worth about $13.2 million. But with the extension in place, the Raiders have time to work out a longer, richer deal with him.
Jackson, however, is going into the final year of his rookie contract, scheduled to make just under $1.8 million in 2017. McKenzie needs to work out a longer deal this offseason to keep him in the fold, and wants to do so.
As Levi Damien of SB Nation wrote this week, Jackson isn’t likely to get a record-breaking deal such as Carr, who now will become the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at about $25 million. It’s unlikely Jackson will get as much as Kelechi Osemele, the Raiders left guard, who received a deal worth an average of $11.7 million in signing with Oakland as a free agent before last season. Wrote Damien: “A deal at around $9 million per season would put Jackson among the top five right guards. That doesn’t seem out of line for his services.”
Jackson, heading into his fourth season, is still just 25 and has been a starter since the first game of his rookie season. After playing on the left side his first two years, he moved to the right to accommodate Osemele in 2016.
As the analytic website Pro Football Focus noted this week, Jackson has been durable – 3,110 total snaps since 2014 – as well as good. He has graded in the top 30 among guards in each of his three year. In 2015, he ranked 12th.
And, while he came into the league billed as a dominating run blocker, he’s been particularly effective as a pass blocker. Brett Whitefield of Pro Football Focus wrote he has allowed the second fewest sacks among guards (with at least 750 snaps), just two in 1,806 pass-block plays.
With a $25 million quarterback to protect, keeping Jackson would seem a smart long-term investment.