Predicting a potential contract extension for Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson.
For obvious reasons, the spotlight is all on Derek Carr right now, and deservedly so. Carr is the Oakland Raiders field general and is worthy of a big paycheck. But there are other players in line for a contract extension, such as one of the men responsible for protecting the franchise quarterback, Gabe Jackson. An excellent player in his own right, Gabe’s payday may not be too far behind Carr’s.
Jackson played extremely well at left guard in his first two seasons, and many wondered if he would maintain his high level of play after being moved over to right guard once Kelechi Osemele was signed. Not only did he do that, but he actually was even better protecting Carr’s right side, helping form arguably the best guard tandem in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, they were the only guard duo with more than 1,000 snaps and a grand total of zero sacks allowed in 2016.
Not surprisingly, Gabe received the highest performance-based bonus in the NFL last year. Reggie McKenzie struck gold once again.
Gabe’s entering the final year of his contract and will theoretically earn a team bargain of $1.9 million. Bargain is a severe understatement. As he was drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft, there’s no team option here, meaning that McKenzie will need to use his magic again. And he’ll need to do it soon, because Jackson is a big part of the team’s top-notch offensive line.
Osemele is already getting big money. Now it’s Jackson’s turn.
Kelechi is getting an average of $11.7M per year with over $25.4M guaranteed, which puts him in second place among NFL guards, only behind the Browns Kevin Zeitler’s monster contract which averages $12M per, with more than half guaranteed. But let’s see how the rest of the league’s best guards are doing:
- David DeCastro: $10M per year, $16M guaranteed
- Kyle Long: $10M per year, $18M guaranteed
- T.J. Lang: $9.5M per year, $19M guaranteed
- Ron Leary: $9M per year, $24M guaranteed
- Joel Bitonio: $8.5M per year, $23.6M guaranteed
- Larry Warford: $8.5M per year, $17M guaranteed
- Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff: $8.4M per year, $20.2M guaranteed
- Brandon Brooks: $8M per year, $21M guaranteed
- Mike Iupati: $8M per year, $22.5M guaranteed
- Luke Joeckel: $8M for one year, $7M guaranteed
- Marshall Yanda: $7.9M per year, $18M guaranteed
- Andy Levitre: $7.8M per year, $16M guaranteed
- Brian Winters: $7.2M per year, $15M guaranteed
- Jeff Allen: $7M per year, $12M guaranteed
- Josh Sitton: $7M per year, $10M guaranteed
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I stopped at $7M per year because that should be the floor for Jackson. Some of the guys above have played really well for several years now, like Leary, Iupati and Yanda, so they deserve to be there, but other excellent guards are not among the highest paid, like Justin Pugh and Zack Martin.
Gabe’s contract extension will not reset the market, but it should at least be in line with some of the numbers above. It is fair to say that he has been playing better than Long, Warford and Allen, for example.
Bearing that in mind, I’d say that Jackson’s extension will be for 4 or 5 years, in the range of $8M to $9M per, with $18M to $20M guaranteed. Those are big numbers but they reflect how well Gabe’s been playing, and keeping that great offensive line is mandatory for the Raiders continued success.