There have been rumors circulating for months that the Las Vegas Raiders were attempting to trade longtime starting offensive guard Gabe Jackson. This wasn’t because of his performance as he’s been a very good player for the team. However, his contract is massive and the Raiders have an abundance of offensive guard talent.
While it appeared there was a chance the team could cut him if they didn’t find a trade partner, his contract for 2020 became fully guaranteed on June 1st. With that date passing, there’s virtually no chance the Raiders will be cutting him at any point this season. This means the team will be bringing back the same starting offensive line that they had in 2019. If they can all stay healthy, the unit should strike fear into opposing defenses.
Jackson Is Happy to Return
Jackson and quarterback Derek Carr were drafted in the same class and both were day one starters. They are now the longest-tenured Raiders on the team and will be suiting up together for the seventh season. While he’s been a big part of the team for years now, he wasn’t sure he was going to return.
“I hadn’t heard anything, and you never know,” Jackson said, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “It was a weird feeling, but I am very happy to be back. I’m really enjoying playing with those other guys (on the line), and I know we’re going to have some fun. …
“Like Richie [Incognito] said, we are going be to physical and lean on people. This isn’t two-hand touch.”
The Raiders have a massive offensive line and have some really nasty players sprinkled in. Even without Jackson for much of the season, the unit was really strong. Also, the team is apparently really happy he’s sticking around.
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Jackson Says He’s Strong Than Ever
Jackson’s 2019 season was mostly derailed due to an injury suffered in training camp. Even when he came back, he still wasn’t 100%. He played well but wasn’t at his best. He’s coming into 2020 and looking to take things to the next level.
“This is the strongest I have ever been in my life,” Jackson said, per Tafur. “I don’t know what happened. I haven’t been taking anything illegal.
“My trainer, Tom Campbell, and I have just been really getting after it.”
The offensive lineman believes that his improvement will be obvious.
“Everybody will be able to tell the difference when they see me, I will just put it that way,” Jackson said.
Considering he’s already one of the better guards in the NFL, he could make the leap to perennial Pro Bowler. There’s already been chatter that left tackle Kolton Miller could be in for his first Pro Bowl this season. Perhaps Jackson could be joining him. If Miller and Jackson take leaps in 2020, that means the Raiders have five offensive linemen who could easily make the Pro Bowl. Carr should be a very safe man this season.