McFadden deal gets done quickly

A year ago the Raiders didn't get their first-round draft pick signed until just before the start of the regular season and JaMarcus Russell wound up spending most of his rookie year on the bench. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, Oakland acted quickly and inked this year's top rookie Darren McFadden to a $60 million deal only hours after the team ended its three-day mini-camp.

McFadden signed his contract late Thursday night after watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals. On Friday, he -- along with his agent Ian Greengross, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, along with McFadden's father, stepmother and sister -- attended a press conference to announce the signing.

"I'm very happy to have it out of the way," a beaming McFadden said. "I want to be in training camp. I want to be out there practicing and learning plays. Missing a day of training camp is like missing a week of college practices. It would be a major setback for me."

The six-year deal includes $26 million in guaranteed money and does not carry an option year, meaning the Raiders have McFadden locked up through 2013.

That the two sides were able to reach an agreement so quickly underscores how important the Raiders felt it was to not have a repeat of 2007 when Russell missed all of training camp and the preseason while his agents tried to hammer out a deal. He wound up signing a six-year, $60 million contract that included nearly $32 million in guarantees but didn't play until late in the season and didn't start his first NFL game until Week 17.

Oakland anticipate McFadden being a big part of the offense this season, thus the push to get a deal done quickly. That's a major change for an organization that typically has waited until two weeks before the start of training camp to start signing their draft picks.

Greengross flew into Oakland on Tuesday to begin talks with the Raiders. Two days later the two sides reached an agreement, McFadden was pulled away from his television set and the contract was signed.

"We sat down and we took it kind of hour by hour," Greengross said. "Did we make progress each hour? Did we hit a brick wall? Are we going backwards? And we seemed to make progress. We hit a bunch of brick walls but we never really took a huge step backwards at any point so I stayed Wednesday night. Same thing yesterday and finally late last night we were able to get it done.

"I had some ideas, they had some ideas. They liked some of my ideas, they hated some of mine. I liked some of theirs and I hated some of theirs. But there was enough common ground to make progress every hour and that's eventually got the deal rolling down the hill."

After the deal was done and McFadden's name was on the contract, Raiders owner Al Davis stopped by to congratulate his newest acquisition.

"I'm glad he came and did that," McFadden said. "He just told me that he's very proud that we got it out of the way, too, and he's very happy to have me here, and he's looking forward to seeing me out there in a Raider uniform."


SB Report Top Stories