Damon Arnette

Raiders Place CBs Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette On IR

Injuries are set to deplete the Raiders’ cornerback group. Las Vegas will be without Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette for at least the next three games, with both having been placed on IR Saturday.

A foot injury left Mullen sidelined this week, while Arnette is dealing with a groin issue. The Raiders ruled both out for Week 5. This stalls a nice start for Mullen. For Arnette, this represents another setback in an underwhelming start to his career.

A second-round pick in 2019, Mullen became part of the Raiders’ Clemson-heavy draft that year. Mullen reprised his role as a starter this season, being a first-unit player in new DC Gus Bradley‘s defense. Pro Football Focus graded Mullen as a top-25 corner through four games, with the third-year defender joining Casey Hayward and Nate Hobbs in an atypically strong Raiders coverage corps.

One of this Raider regime’s surprise first-round picks, Arnette has not seen the field much in his second season. The Ohio State product has played just 60 defensive snaps through four games. While the Raiders tried him as a starter for much of his 2020 season, Arnette suffered a thumb injury during his rookie training camp and then aggravated the issue later. He played nine games last season. Thus far in 2021, Arnette has joined fellow Jon GrudenMike Mayock first-rounder Clelin Ferrell as a seldom-used backup.

The Raiders also activated running back Jalen Richard and cornerback Keisean Nixon from IR. Set to begin his sixth season with the Raiders, Richard returned to practice last week. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders use Richard, given Kenyan Drake‘s presence, but the shifty reserve’s re-emergence should at least help for depth purposes. Peyton Barber is set to miss time with turf toe.

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AFC West Notes: Raiders, Sutton, Chubb

When the Raiders selected Damon Arnette 19th overall last year, it marked the second straight year the Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime stunned draft viewers in Round 1. Despite multiple thumb issues and a placement on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list, Arnette started seven games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded Arnette as a bottom-10 cornerback, however, and the Raiders may not have the Ohio State product in their lineup plans this year. Arnette has nearly drifted off the Raiders’ radar, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes, adding that Casey Hayward is expected to line up as Las Vegas’ outside corner starter opposite Trayvon Mullen (subscription required). While a few lower-profile corners’ names surfaced during Raiders minicamp this week, Arnette’s was conspicuously absent, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds. Talk surfaced last month of Arnette moving into the slot, but Tafur adds that job looks like Nevin Lawson‘s to lose. Arnette did not practice in the slot during minicamp.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Yannick Ngakoue is in search of a new agent. The recently signed Raiders defensive end left the Wasserman agency this week, according to the Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (on Twitter). This is not a first for the former Jaguars, Vikings and Ravens pass rusher. He left his first NFL agent in May 2018 and made another change last August. Ngakoue’s next agent will be his fourth as a pro. Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26MM deal with the Raiders in March; that pact featured $21MM fully guaranteed.
  • Numerous key players missed extensive time for the Broncos last season, but the team received good news as it prepares for its next training camp. One of the biggest names to miss Denver’s 5-11 2020 slate, Courtland Sutton is not expected to start camp on the team’s active/PUP list, Vic Fangio said this week. The Pro Bowl wide receiver suffered an ACL tear in Week 2 of last season. Neither Sutton nor Bradley Chubb, who is rehabbing offseason ankle surgery, are likely to miss camp time, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Chubb needed bone spurs removed from his ankle.
  • Bashaud Breeland moved on from the Chiefs after two seasons, signing with the Vikings. But the veteran cornerback initially wanted to re-sign with the Chiefs.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Arnette, Sowers

After missing all of the 2020 season due to a torn ankle tendon, Von Miller has been on the field for the Broncos‘ OTA sessions this week. New Broncos GM George Paton went down to the wire on picking up the All-Pro pass rusher’s 2021 option but ended up doing so. Miller is going into a contract year, having played five seasons on the then-defender-record six-year, $114.1MM deal he inked in 2016. Uncertainty about his future notwithstanding, the 32-year-old linebacker would like to stay in Denver on another contract.

I always had an internal faith that I would be here. I said a long time ago that I want to be a Bronco for life. I always felt like that even though the business and all of this stuff,” Miller said, via DenverBroncos.com’s Aric DiLalla.

This will be a pivotal year for the Broncos’ all-time sack leader, considering a possible free agency bid looms in 2022. Miller has said he plans to play several more seasons. He and Bradley Chubb have not worked together for a lengthy stretch since 2018, but the duo will obviously be counted on to spearhead a talented defense. Here is more from Denver and the latest from the rest of the AFC West:

  • Chubb recently underwent an ankle procedure that is expected to sideline him until training camp. Vic Fangio said the team thought the injury, which shelved Chubb for last season’s final two games, would heal without surgery. The third-year Broncos HC also indicated bone spurs bothered Chubb, leading to the surgery, and that doctors believed Chubb would be sidelined until mid-August. Evidently, he is set to beat that timetable and return by the start of camp. The Broncos recently picked up the outside linebacker’s fifth-year option, locking him down through 2022.
  • Details on the Broncos’ Bobby Massie contract are in; the pact, per usual, is a bit team-friendlier than initially reported. The reported $4MM deal is actually a one-year, $2.5MM accord, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos are guaranteeing the longtime Bears right tackle $1.58MM, Klis tweets, and the previously reported $4MM figure includes a $1.5MM incentive package. Massie and fellow May signing Cameron Fleming are set to compete for the right tackle job that became vacant after Ja’Wuan James‘ Achilles tear.
  • The Raiders might be considering shifting 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette from the outside to the slot, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Gus Bradley‘s staff watched Ohio State film in order to best position Arnette, who could shift inside if recent addition Casey Hayward commandeers a starting job outside. Injuries and COVID-19 limited Arnette to nine games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded him 116th out of 121 qualified corners last season.
  • Katie Sowers made history by coaching in Super Bowl LIV. After her four-year 49ers tenure ended, Sowers will join the other team that participated in that game. The Chiefs are adding Sowers to their staff, via the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. Sowers confirmed the move (Instagram link). Sowers, 34, caught on with the 49ers via this program. Sowers went to college near Kansas City, receiving a master’s degree from Central Missouri.

Raiders Promote David Irving, Activate Damon Arnette

David Irving will have a chance to play in his first game since October 2018 on Sunday. The Raiders are activating the defensive lineman from their practice squad.

Irving will join first-round pick Damon Arnette in being on the team’s 55-man game-day roster. Las Vegas moved Arnette back to its active roster from IR. The Ohio State-developed cornerback has run into multiple instances of thumb trouble as a rookie.

The Raiders added Irving to their practice squad last month, doing so shortly after the NFL reinstated the oft-suspended inside pass rusher. The Cowboys let Irving walk in free agency in 2018, doing so after he played in only two games for the team in 2018.

Irving has been suspended four times, with his most recent substance-abuse ban sidelining him for over a year. He has shown flashes as a productive rusher, most notably in 2017 when he recorded seven sacks in eight games. The Raiders rank 31st this season with just nine sacks.

Arnette initially broke his thumb during training camp but landed on it awkwardly against the Patriots in September. He has played in just three games as a pro. The Raiders surprised many by taking Arnette at No. 19 overall. They are yet again having issues against the pass — an evergreen issue for the team — and enter Week 10 ranked 30th in defensive DVOA. A 32nd-ranked rush defense also contributes to that ranking.

The Raiders also promoted offensive lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith from their practice squad.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/20

Here is the league’s avalanche of Halloween minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Raiders Place CB Damon Arnette On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Hopefully this isn’t the start of something significant in Las Vegas. The Raiders have placed cornerback Damon Arnette on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The new rules dictate that a player doesn’t need to have tested positive to be placed on the list, so this doesn’t mean Arnette is COVID positive. He could also have come in close proximity to someone who tested positive, but we don’t know as of right now. The first-round rookie has already been on injured reserve since October 3rd with a thumb issue.

Arnette is expected to be sidelined at least a few more weeks with the thumb injury anyway, so this most likely won’t effect his return to the field. A couple of weeks ago Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was placed on the list as well.

Arnette, the 19th overall pick of April’s draft, had started all three games before going down. Here’s to hoping this is an isolated incident and not a sign of things to come within the Raiders’ building.

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Raiders Place CB Damon Arnette On IR

After aggravating a previous thumb injury in Week 3, Damon Arnette will see his rookie season paused for a while. The Raiders placed the first-round cornerback on IR.

Arnette initially broke his thumb during training camp but landed on it awkwardly against the Patriots last week. As a result, the Raiders will be without a key defensive piece for a while. Arnette underwent thumb surgery this week and will be out at least six weeks.

The suddenly potent Bills passing offense will face a Raiders team ranking 31st in defensive DVOA, though the unit sits 18th in DVOA against the pass through three weeks. The Raiders may also be down rookie cornerback Amik Robertson, who is questionable with a non-coronavirus illness. Arnette has started each of the Raiders’ games this season.

Las Vegas looks also set to be without its other 2020 first-rounder against Buffalo. The Raiders listed Henry Ruggs as doubtful to face the Bills. Ruggs is battling knee and hamstring injuries.

Additionally, the Raiders promoted safety Dallin Leavitt from their practice squad and placed defensive tackle Daniel Ross on IR.

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West Notes: Cards, Hawks, Raiders, Lindsay

The Cardinals‘ defensive resurgence will be tested this week. Budda Baker is dealing with a torn thumb UCL, and Kliff Kingsbury expects the high-priced safety to undergo surgery soon, Howard Balzer of SI.com notes. Baker is expected to miss at least Sunday’s game against the Panthers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, but given that this injury sidelined Drew Brees five weeks and will shelve Jalen Reagor longer, a multiweek absence would not be surprising. Baker confirmed surgery is in the cards (Twitter link). The fourth-year safety, however, played all but one of the Cards’ defensive snaps against the Lions — despite having sustained this injury previously.

An interesting name has surfaced as a possible replacement. The Cardinals brought in T.J. Ward for a workout, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ward interestingly played three seasons with the Broncos, serving as one of the anchors for Denver’s No Fly Zone Super Bowl-winning secondary, but did not make their 53-man roster in Vance Joseph‘s first year as the team’s head coach. The then-Joseph-led Broncos cut the veteran safety in 2017, leading Ward to the Buccaneers. Joseph is now the Cardinals’ DC. Ward, 33, has not played since the 2017 season.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Pete Carroll said during a radio interview Chris Carson has a Grade 1 knee sprain, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter) the Seahawks‘ starting running back is in line to miss one or two games. A questionable tackle from Cowboys defensive lineman Trysten Hill, which included a post-play twist of Carson’s leg, led to the injury. Carson has dealt with injuries during his time as Seattle’s starter — including a broken leg in 2017 and a season-ending hip malady last year — but has only missed three games over the past two seasons. The Seahawks have Rashaad Penny on their PUP list, leaving free agent addition Carlos Hyde as the next man up.
  • Seahawks first-round rookie Jordyn Brooks suffered a knee injury as well, but he did not suffer ACL damage and should return this season. Brooks is recovering from an MCL sprain, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The first-year linebacker will likely miss a game or two.
  • Raiders first-round cornerback Damon Arnette is visiting a thumb specialist Tuesday, and Rapoport notes he could miss up to six weeks (Twitter link). This was an aggravation of a previous injury, with Arnette having broken his thumb prior to the regular season’s outset. Arnette fell awkwardly on the injured thumb during Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
  • Second-year Raiders safety Johnathan Abram played through an AC joint sprain Sunday, but questions about the injury persist. Abram collided with a TV cart during the Raiders’ Week 2 win over the Saints, and the NFL has engaged in discussions with ESPN about where the network’s carts can be during games, per Pelissero and Rapoport. The cart was closer to the field because of the COVID-19 pandemic restricting cheerleaders, photographers and other personnel from the sideline. Abram missed almost all of last season following an injury during the Raiders’ Week 1 game on a Monday night.
  • The Broncos are now down five of their six Pro Bowlers, after Jurrell Casey‘s season-ending biceps tear. But that number of injured standouts could be reduced to four soon. Phillip Lindsay returned to practice last week and may be on track to face the Jets on Thursday, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Lindsay has been battling turf toe since suffering the injury during Denver’s opener.
  • The stomach pains that caused Chiefs guard Andrew Wylie to be transported to the hospital prior to Monday night’s Chiefs-Ravens game are believed to have stemmed from appendicitis and not a COVID-related concern, Pelissero tweets.

AFC West Notes: Williams, Raiders, Broncos

As cut day approaches, let’s take a look at the latest news coming out of the AFC West:

  • As Hard Knocks viewers observed, Mike Williams suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a pass in practice. While Williams was said to be out “for a while,” Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen noted recently the fourth-year wideout may well return for Week 1. “Mike’s gotta be ready to play,” Steichen said, via the Orange County Register’s Gilbert Manzano (on Twitter). “I think Mike has got that mindset to be ready to play. We look forward to having him on September 13.” A thin Bolts receiver depth chart — beyond WR1 Keenan Allen — increases the importance of Williams returning.
  • Rookie Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette suffered a setback recently. The first-round pick sustained a thumb fracture, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will require Arnette to wear a soft cast on his injured hand, which he did at one point with the Buckeyes. The Raiders are counting on Arnette to play a key role in their secondary this season.
  • One of Mike Williams‘ ex-Chargers receiver teammates will not play this season. The Raiders placed Tyrell Williams on IR this week, ending his second season with the team. Tyrell Williams suffered a torn shoulder labrum for the second time as a pro, and Jon Gruden said an attempt to play through this malady would have required Williams to wear a movement-restricting harness (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur). With a Williams cut saving the Raiders $11MM-plus next year, he looms as a likely 2021 release.
  • Although Demar Dotson operated as the Buccaneers’ starting right tackle for the past eight seasons, his Broncos signing does not mean he will stay a first-stringer. The current Denver plan is for Elijah Wilkinson to again fill Ja’Wuan James‘ position, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Dotson would then play a swing role behind Wilkinson and embattled left tackle Garett Bolles. Whether Wilkinson starts in Week 1 or not, the Broncos will enter a seventh straight year with a different right tackle to open a season.

Raiders Sign Damon Arnette, Wrap Draft Class

The Raiders have wrapped up their 2020 NFL Draft class. Following their reported agreement with first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs, the Raiders formally announced deals for the rest of the class. Here’s the full rundown, via PFR’s tracker: 

1-12: Henry Ruggs III, WR (Alabama): Signed
1-19: Damon Arnette, CB (Ohio State): Signed
3-80: Lynn Bowden Jr., WR (Kentucky): Signed
3-81: Bryan Edwards, WR (South Carolina): Signed
3-100: Tanner Muse, LB (Clemson): Signed
4-109: John Simpson, OL (Clemson): Signed
4-139: Amik Robertson, CB (Louisiana Tech): Signed

Per the terms of his slot, Arnette will receive a four-year deal worth $13.4MM, including a signing bonus of ~$7.3MM. Beyond that, the Raiders will hold a fifth-year option to keep him under club control through the 2024 season. Arnette wasn’t expected to go in the middle of the first round, but the Raiders aren’t afraid to buck conventional thought.

Arnette took a while to develop and reach Ohio State’s starting lineup, but once he got there, he provided the Buckeyes with a solid partner opposite star Jeff Okudah. With the ability to play on the inside or the outside, the Raiders believe that Arnette has what it takes to make it at the next level. His 4.56 second 40-yard-dash didn’t necessarily impress evaluators, but his ability to jam receivers at the line is a major plus.

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