Raiders strike $60 million deal with No. 1 pick McFadden
The Raiders don't have to worry about their top draft choice being absent from training camp this year.
Late Thursday night, the team reached an agreement in principle with former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, McFadden will sign a six-year pact for approximately $60 million. He is slated to receive more than $26 million in guaranteed money -- a 40-percent hike compared to what Gaines Adams, the No. 4 pick in the 2007 draft, will get in guaranteed pay.
McFadden's agent, Ian Greengross, opened face-to-face negotiations with club officials on Wednesday in Alameda, Calif. and continued discussions late into the night on Thursday.
Getting a deal completed was a priority for the Raiders, who did not come to terms with 2007 top pick JaMarcus Russell until the first week of the regular season.
"I'm very happy to have it out of the way," McFadden said at a news conference. "Because like coach 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."
McFadden finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in each of the last two seasons. He ran for 4,590 yards and 41 touchdowns in three seasons with the Razorbacks, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Though the Raiders were loaded with running backs, they decided McFadden had too much talent to pass up with the fourth overall pick.
McFadden participated in a three-day minicamp that wrapped up Thursday, and coach Lane Kiffin singled him out for his quick acquisition of Oakland's offense after just two short camps.
McFadden also got his contract done quickly. The two sides conducted negotiations in Alameda this week after McFadden expressed a strong desire to be signed before camp starts next month.
Oakland also apparently was motivated to make a timely deal after last season's troubles with JaMarcus Russell, the LSU quarterback selected with last spring's top pick. Russell and the Raiders sat in a contract stalemate throughout training camp, and he didn't get on the field until December after signing his $61 million deal three days into the regular season.
"The last thing we wanted to do with Darren because of our ideas with him was to go into a holdout and for him to miss any time in training camp," Kiffin said. "What I think shows a lot about Darren is the fact that Darren felt the same as we did. Darren knew how important it was for him to get in here and show us his love for football."
The Raiders hope McFadden can be an immediate contributor after the club dumped veteran running back Dominic Rhodes and entertained trade offers for fellow veteran LaMont Jordan, who probably will be released later. Starter Justin Fargas and promising youngster Michael Bush also will be in Oakland's backfield.
With McFadden's deal finalized, three of the top four picks in April's draft have already signed deals. No. 1 pick Jake Long got a $57.75 million, five-year contract with $30 million guaranteed from Miami and third pick Matt Ryan got a $72 million, six-year contract with $34.75 million guaranteed from Atlanta.