With the Oakland Raiders coming into one of the most important seasons in franchise history, now is the time to look at who has the most to lose. From players, coaches, fans to owners everyone stands to either capitalize or fail.
After completing his attack on the Raiders passing records, Derek Carr received a king’s ransom of a new contract. Now boasting the second highest average salary per year in the league, Carr can no longer afford the stinkers against the Kansas City Chiefs. While this year is far from a make or break year for the still young signal caller, it will likely frame the national narrative for the duration of the contract. If Carr can elevate his team and at least make another playoff run, one where he actually participates, then he has a chance to cement himself as a part of the NFL’s brand. If he falters, he could slip towards the dreaded “overrated” category with no one to blame but himself.
After his retirement at the end of the 2015-16 season Marshawn Lynch had nothing to hang his head about. Though he didn’t finish with the best season of his career, Lynch retired with a stellar postseason reputation. None of that mattered to Raiders fans when he announced that he has returned to finish his career in the silver and black. Sitting 888 rushing yards away from ten thousand should matter. Combined with arguably the best offensive line he has ever played behind, Lynch lives in a dream scenario. Should he break that barrier and help the Raiders to a deep post-season run he could cement himself as a Hall-of-Fame back. However, if the season goes awry ,much of the luster could wear off. Lynch can become a scapegoat in a lame duck season.
Mack is undeniably one of the best defensive players the NFL has to offer. With a resume already boasting many accolades, including a DPOY, and 30 sacks through three seasons, Mack will cash in. That is, if he can stay healthy. It is no secret the Raiders have no intention of letting Khalil Mack hit the open market. Yet, things could get complicated if he gets hurt. To date, he hasn’t missed a game. Injury or not, the Raiders would still pay a small fortune to keep him. However, any serious injury could cause him to lose millions.
The Oakland Raiders will leave the Bay Area in a couple of years. Recently, owner Mark Davis stated the Raiders had already won the battle for Los Angeles. If Davis wants to continue his campaign to expand the Raiders , he NEEDS continued success. As long as the Raiders remain a trendy pick to make the playoffs or win a Super Bowl, marketing to a new area works. The moment they drop off during this transition, his house of cards could fall apart.
Oakland Raiders Fans
The current Oakland contingent has remained more faithful than can be expected. In addition, many keep buying season tickets and even attending preseason games. This is an awkward lose-lose situation for any still living in the Bay Area. Whereas Los Angeles fans, and national faithful, benefit from the team moving closer. There is an entire generation of people that grew up watching a terrible team. Now that the team has returned to its “Commitment to Excellence” there may be no more bitter pill to swallow that seeing the Raiders leave.