Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Dennis Allen staying, so what's next?
By Paul Gutierrez
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Now that the non-story story about Dennis Allen keeping his job as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders has run its course -- owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com late Tuesday night that Allen remains the head man and his job security was never really an issue -- let's move on to more pressing issues.
Such as, what, exactly, is next?
Davis said the meeting with Allen, who still has two years remaining on his contract, at the Raiders' facility Tuesday night went well and they were already discussing personnel and assistant coaches, as in which ones will be retained. And while Davis did not want to talk specifically about the circumstances surrounding offering one-year contracts versus two-year deals, he did say Allen would have the freedom to rehire whichever members of his staff he wants to retain.
Entering the day, only two assistants -- offensive coordinator Greg Olson and linebackers coach Bob Sanders -- had contracts for 2014. But by the end of the day, "at least a half-dozen" assistants had accepted one-year extensions, according to ESPN senior NFL writer John Clayton, though it could not be confirmed yet which assistants were staying.
One who had not agreed, though, was assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who is heading to Tampa Bay to join new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith's staff, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The challenge, then, is retaining the likes of defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, special teams coordinator Bobby April, defensive line coach Terrell Williams, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and running backs coach Kelly Skipper to maintain a modicum of desperately needed continuity.
And yet, with every coach but Allen in a contract year in 2014, and Oakland about to have $60 million in salary-cap space, how do the Raiders sell stability to quality free agents this offseason?
Plus, the coaches are about to feel what a lot of last year's roster felt as short-timers on one-year deals playing for that next contract.
Davis, who said the meeting with Allen went "well" and called it normal end-of-season protocol, added that he and Allen would meet with general manager Reggie McKenzie on Wednesday to start planning for the immediate future.