ALAMEDA – The Raiders paid Rodney Hudson a hefty sum to don silver and black. That was more than four years ago now, when the team was trying to climb off the AFC West floor.
They did that and ended a prolonged playoff drought, but have fallen back down again and are rebuilding yet again.
Hudson has been a stabilizing force through all of that, easily one of the NFL's elite centers and offensive minds playing the game today.
The life of that $44.5 million deal that lured him from Kansas City will end after the 2019 season.
The Raiders don't want him going anywhere.
Hudson expertly orchestrates this offensive line and has made head coach Jon Gruden a huge fan despite him coming on with a previous regime.
That's why they've opened a line of dialogue with Hudson's camp about an extension.
"I know [general manager] has talked to his agent," Gruden said Tuesday during the Raiders minicamp. "I don't want to get into specifics of those conversations, but we consider him a big piece of this franchise and we're going to do everything we can to keep him here for a long time."
It certainly won't be cheap, but will be worth it in the Raiders eyes as they continue to strengthen their ranks before a scheduled move to Las Vegas in 2020. The center market gives roughly $10.5 million per year, with roughly $20 million in guaranteed for top players at the position. Hudson should command that, if not more.
Hudson is a franchise centerpiece and a respected team captain, someone involved in his sports and interests outside it. He recently graduated with an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.
"He has graduated from Pass Protection U and Run Blocking State, and now he has a master's degree in business," Gruden said with a smile. "That just certifies what kind of guy you're dealing with. He's a great player on the field. He's one of our captains and team leaders, and is as tough a guy as we have. I've seen him play with kidney stones and various ailments. To get a master's degree is a huge accomplishment, and I'll compliment him until the day's end. He's special."