After mercifully firing Greg Knapp as offensive coordinator, the Oakland Raiders are now willing to mold their blocking scheme to best fit Darren McFadden and hopefully reinvigorate the star running back in 2013. McFadden is deemed as 100% healthy right now, and Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has given McFadden a boost of confidence by calling Run DMC’s injuries “fluky” and stating that McFadden is a tough player.
Despite all this friendly rhetoric and the arrow pointing up on a bounce-back season for the former Arkansas star, Darren McFadden told the San Jose Mercury News that he and the Raiders are not talking about a contract extension. The Raiders would of course be wise to wait until McFadden bounces back before giving the 25-year-old RB a long-term deal. The injuries are of special concern there, because toughness doesn’t fully correlate with the severity of the injury.
Here is what McFadden told the Mercury News, “We haven’t talked about anything. I’m a Raider right now and I’m playing football and preparing for the season. That’s all I can do.”
McFadden seems to have the right mind-set going into the 2013 season, because he stated that he wants to forget about the disaster that was the 2012 season. With a better offensive coordinator in the fold in Greg Olson (more importantly, one who is less stubborn and willing to mold a scheme around his players) and reportedly better health, the ingredients are in the stew for a bounce-back season that would see Run DMC once again clear five yards per carry and possibly 1,000 yards- that depends on how healthy he is. The Raiders aren’t going to throw money and a long-term deal at a player who missed 13 games over the past two seasons. And even though what happened to him in 2012 was mostly not his fault, McFadden did average 3.3 yards per carry at the end of the day- that doesn’t warrant talk of an extension.
Right now, McFadden is making a hefty $5.8 million in the final year of his rookie deal, so this is definitely a make-or-break year for McFadden. There are rumblings that he could be traded, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. In fact, I highly doubt it, because it sounds like the Raiders want to keep him around for his contract year and see if he can bounce back and hit 1,100+ yards again.
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