The Mercury News
Mayock evades rumors of Brown trade, Jackson release from team
The right side of the Raiders offensive line could look much different in 2021.
Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday the “jury is still out” on right tackle Trent Brown, while declining to confirm or deny a report that right guard Gabe Jackson has been informed of his release.
Mayock spoke to media members who cover the team regularly during a teleconference.
Together, Brown and Jackson represent 715 pounds and more than $23.5 million in salary cap space with free agency beginning on March 17.
Brown has played just 16 of 32 games over the past two seasons after signing a four-year, $66 million contract in 2019 after winning a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots.
While Mayock talked up Brown’s dominance when on the field, he stopped far short of saying he would remain on the roster on a deal that calls for a $14 million salary and $15 million in 2022.
“The jury’s still out here. He’s under contract here,” Mayock said. “We believe in the talent of that player. There would be nothing finer than having Trent Brown at right tackle protecting Derek Carr next year, Week 1. But the jury’s out and we still have to make some decisions on our roster, in general.”
ESPN reported the possibility Brown would be traded, which would give the Raiders something in return — likely a mid-round draft pick — provided a team would be willing to pay the existing contract for a player who has missed so much time.
If that’s the case, Mayock made sure to talk up Brown’s ability when at the top of his game.
“Trent’s whole thing is when he’s healthy and in shape and ready to go he’s as dominant as any tackle in football,” Mayock said. “He proved that early in the 2019 season. Since then it’s been kind of a roller coaster. If Trent gets in shape and stays committed, there’s not a better talent out there.”
If the Raiders get no trade offers, it remains to be seen whether Brown would be released or return. It’s unlikely Brown would take a pay cut when he could re-enter free agency, and extending the contract to lower the 2020 cap number would tie the Raiders to him for additional seasons.
Jackson, as reported by Josina Anderson, has been informed of his release. Jackson could not be reached for comment and Mayock declined to be specific when asked directly about the impending release.
“There’s really nothing I can tell you at this point. All the Raiders business is going to stay with the Raiders and when it comes time to handle a transaction we will,” Mayock said. “I’m a big believer that all those things should be handled between the team and the player.”
Jackson, who will be 30 in July, started 16 games for the first time since 2016 after being hampered by a dislocated elbow and a knee strain in previous seasons. He was a third-round draft pick by Reggie McKenzie out of Mississippi State in a 2014 draft that brought Khalil Mack, Carr and fourth-round pick Justin Ellis and helped the Raiders in 2016 to their only playoff appearance since the 2002 season.
Other players who could be affected as the Raiders put together the puzzle of a salary cap expected to be between the floor of $180 million and $190 million (instead of the pre-pandemic $225 million) include slot corner Lamarcus Joyner, backup quarterback Marcus Mariota and others.
“You could potentially be talking to players about restructuring their contracts. You could be talking about releasing players, you could be talking about trading players,” Mayock said. “I think between now and March 17, you’re going to see every team in the league making a lot of moves.”
CARR AND THE QB CAROUSEL >> Mayock wouldn’t address the various quarterback rumors involving Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson with regard to the Raiders, but issued a vote of confidence with regard to starter Derek Carr.
As he always does, Mayock said the Raiders would evaluate every position for chances to get better. And his evaluation of Carr was a strong one.
“I think Derek Carr had his best year yet under Jon Gruden,” Mayock said. “I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and couldn’t be happier with him . ... I think Jon and I would both stand shoulder-to-shoulder and pound the table for Derek Carr.” BRINGING BACK AGHOLOR >> Wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who had 48 receptions for 896 yards and eight touchdowns while playing for the veteran minimum, is due for a big raise in free agency from the Raiders or someone else. The good news for the Raiders is there are a lot of wide receivers on the market, which could drive down the price and increase the chances of making a sensible offer.
Mayock made it clear he values Agholor.
“What he brought to the Raiders last year is off the charts,” Mayock said. “He brought a work ethic, a toughness, he brought the young guys along with him and he brought productivity and trust with our quarterbacks. All of those things he brought, we don’t want to lose.”
• Wide receiver Tyrell Williams, released by the Raiders after two seasons into a fouryear, $44 million contract, signed a one-year contract worth up to $6.2 million with the Detroit Lions, according to an ESPN report.
• The Raiders signed longsnapper Trent Sieg, a restricted free agent, to a three-year extension.