Devontae Booker

Raiders To Release RB Jeremy Hill

Less than a week after agreeing to terms with Jeremy Hill, the Raiders are moving on. They are releasing the former Bengals starting running back, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.

Hill has not played in a game since Week 1 of the 2018 season. The Raiders’ running back room will return to its previous setup. This move also comes shortly after the team removed offseason addition Devontae Booker from its reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Raiders’ backfield depth chart consists of Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Rod Smith and Booker. Hill may well have been insurance in case Booker was sidelined for an extensive period. As a vested veteran, Hill will not have to pass through waivers.

A former Bengals second-round pick, Hill signed with the Patriots after an injury-marred 2017 season. He suffered an ACL tear in Week 1 of the 2018 slate and was out of football last season.

While Hill is still just 27, he is running out of chances. The LSU product worked out for the Lions and Titans last season but went unsigned. Hill amassed 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons and eclipsed 1,100 rushing yards as a rookie. He has not, however, cleared 4.0 yards per carry since his 2014 debut campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Expected To Sign Jeremy Hill

3:49pm: This deal looks like it will come together. The Raiders indeed plan to sign Hill, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, though an agreement will be contingent on the former second-round pick passing a physical and a COVID-19 test.

3:40pm: The Raiders are looking to add to their running back group. They are hosting Jeremy Hill on a visit Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Hill, who has not played since the 2018 season, last popped up on the radar when he visited the Titans in November 2019. Under the current pandemic-reshaped landscape, teams are only allowed to bring in players for visits if they are seriously considering signing them. Hill may have a chance to continue his career in Las Vegas.

The former Bengals and Patriots running back would join a Raiders group that houses Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Rod Smith and Devontae Booker. The latter, however, resides on Las Vegas’ reserve/COVID-19 list. The Raiders placed Booker, a 2020 addition, on the list Thursday.

Still just 27, Hill is attempting to come back after suffering another serious injury. He suffered an ACL tear in Week 1 of the 2018 season. His 2017 season in Cincinnati ended in an IR stay due to an ankle malady.

The LSU product rushed for a career-high 1,124 yards as a rookie in 2014 and scored a career-best 12 touchdowns in 2015. He rushed for nine TDs in 2016. Since, Hill has not delivered much in the way of notable work. He played in only seven 2017 games, after Joe Mixon‘s Cincinnati arrival, and has not averaged more than four yards per carry in a season since his rookie year. But the Raiders are planning to offer the veteran another chance despite a near-two-year hiatus.

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Contract Details: Jets, Charlton, Gipson

Some assorted contract details to pass along:

  • Tashaun Gipson, S (Bears): One year. Deal is worth $1.05MM, including $550K in guaranteed money. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • Johnathan Joseph, CB (Titans): One year. Deal is worth $2MM, including $1.5MM guaranteed. Additional $500K in “reachable incentives” and another $750K in standard incentives. Contract worth a maximum of $3.25MM. Via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com on Twitter and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network on Twitter.
  • Frank Gore, RB (Jets): One year. Deal is worth $1.05MM, including $200K guaranteed. Cap charge of $750K. Via Pelissero on Twitter and ESPN’s Rich Cimini on Twitter.
  • Jordan Jenkins, LB (Jets): One-year. Deal is worth $3.75MM. $3.25MM in guaranteed money, including $1.75MM signing bonus and $1.5MM base salary. $500K in roster bonuses, $250K in “likely to be earned” incentives. Via Cimini on Twitter.
  • Taco Charlton, DE (Chiefs): One year. Deal is worth $825K. Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • Devontae Booker, RB (Raiders): Signed. One year deal worth veteran salary benefit ($887.5K cap charge). Includes $50K signing bonus. Via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.

Raiders To Sign Devontae Booker

The Raiders have agreed to sign Devontae Booker, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 (Twitter link). On Thursday morning, the deal was also confirmed by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

Booker, formerly of the Broncos, will look to stick as a backup to Josh Jacobs. The Raiders also have third-round rookie Lynn Bowden on hand, so there are no more than two spots up for grabs on their RB depth chart. Jalen Richard and Rod Smith are also vying for their spots.

Booker was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2016 draft and went on to have an inconsistent run with the Broncos. As a rookie, he started in six games and finished out with 31 catches and 877 all-purpose yards. After that, he continued to play a role on passing downs, but his workload fluctuated over time and his carries dwindled. Last year, Booker suited up for all 16 games, but finished out with just two totes and six catches.By comparison, he had 105 catches and 289 carries from 2016-2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Mahomes, Broncos, Raiders

Everyone has known for a while now that when Patrick Mahomes signs his first contract extension, it’s going to involve some eye-popping numbers. The Chiefs are expected to pursue an extension sometime after the draft, and there has been a lot of chatter about Mahomes becoming the first player to eclipse $40MM in annual salary. While he wouldn’t get into specifics about negotiations, Mahomes made it clear in a recent interview with Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports that he’s in Kansas City for the long haul. “I want to make sure I do it the smart way and do it the right way, and so I don’t know exactly which way that is, yet. I know that my people and the Chiefs’ people will talk about it, and will do it at the right time and for the betterment for the team. But I’m excited to be a Kansas City Chief for a very long time, and I know that’s going to be handled the right way because of the people the Kansas City Chiefs have in their organization,” he explained.

There has been some speculation the Chiefs will try to get him on somewhat of a team-friendly deal in order to spread their cap resources around, similarly to what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady. Mahomes is going to get paid big-time either way, but he did seem to indicate that keeping their core together is a priority for him. “Whichever way possible, we’re going to do it and we’re gonna try to keep as many people on this team as we possibly can that won the Super Bowl this year so we can run it back again next year,” he said.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Speaking of the Chiefs, they made a couple of assistant coaching moves today. Quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka has been given the additional title of passing game coordinator, and the team hired Andy Hill as a special teams assistant. The Eagles were interested in Kafka for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but Kansas City was ultimately able to retain him. All the way back in October we heard that Kafka was well-respected in the league and considered by some to be a future head coach. The former backup quarterback is the latest in a long line of Andy Reid assistants to get buzz.
  • The Broncos have a crowded backfield, but it’s about to get a little thinner. Both Devontae Booker and Theo Riddick will be allowed to walk in free agency, sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Booker was drafted by Denver in the fourth-round back in 2016, and had an up and down career with the team. He was the team’s starter for some of his rookie season, and he often played a big role on passing downs. At the same time, he was often relegated to the bench for extended stretches. 27 now, it’ll be interesting to see how his market develops. Riddick is another passing-downs specialist who signed with Denver this past summer after a productive six-year run with the Lions. He ended up missing the entire season with a shoulder injury, although Klis notes that he is healthy now and has been medically cleared. He’s 28 now, and will likely have a tough time finding much guaranteed money coming off the injury.
  • The Raiders are believed to be interested in signing linebacker Nick Vigil, sources told Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio and Insidethebirds.com. Vigil, an impending free agent, spent the first four years of his career with the Bengals. He started all 16 games for Cincy this past season, racking up 111 tackles and five passes defended. Vigil will likely be seeking a decent-sized contract, and he should have a relatively strong market. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther coached Vigil in Cincinnati, so there’s a lot of familiarity between the two sides.

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.

West Notes: Peterson, Booker, Bowman

Adrian Peterson is the Cardinals‘ latest David Johnson replacement solution, but interestingly, a potential Peterson-to-Arizona path was discussed two years ago. The running back’s agent, Ben Dogra, contacted Cardinals GM Steve Keim during the first round of the 2015 draft and told Peterson to work friend Larry Fitzgerald about a possible trade to Arizona, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports. Peterson was then a disgruntled Vikings employee, lobbying for more guaranteed money — which he eventually received. But the Cardinals drafted Johnson a night later in the third round, and the Vikings ended up redoing Peterson’s contract. Peterson went on to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards that season en route to his fifth All-Pro first team appearance. The Cardinals then went with Chris Johnson before David Johnson took over late in that 13-3 campaign.

Peterson said earlier this week upon being traded to the Cards he did want a change of scenery from a Saints setup that wasn’t working for him but added he didn’t request a trade. The 32-year-old back is now Arizona’s starter, and the future Hall of Famer will be tasked with turning around a Cardinals rushing attack that’s been by far the worst in the league.

Here’s the latest from some Western-division teams.

  • On the subject of what-if trades, it appears a rumor emerged involving the Cowboys being linked to Broncos running back Devontae Booker is unfounded. Both the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala and 9News’ Mike Klis shot down this talk (Twitter links), Jhabvala going as far as saying a deal involving the second-year back is “not even a remote possibility.” Although the Broncos have C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles healthy, both have extensive injury histories. Booker does as well but is controlled through 2019 on a rookie deal.
  • At least two teams were “seriously interested” in a NaVorro Bowman trade, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. But the 49ers, due to his longevity and impact with the team, allowed the 29-year-old linebacker to veto a deal. John Lynch confirmed one team did want Bowman, only the eighth-year ‘backer didn’t want to play for the unnamed franchise. Barrows adds the four-time All-Pro became frustrated by being subbed out during multiple series per game.
  • Branden Albert worked out for the Seahawks this week and was still in the Seattle area as of Friday, but finances may be holding up a deal. While no terms have been reported about a potential Albert/Hawks agreement, the Seahawks may be attempting to save a week’s worth of salary by not signing Albert until the start of next week, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes. The Seahawks are off this week. Albert was also scheduled to work out for the Giants, who are having similar offensive line issues, but has yet to do so.

AFC Notes: Eifert, Edelman, Charles

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC as the early afternoon slate of games gets underway:

  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert‘s most recent injury has further clouded his free agent case, as Paul Dehner, Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert, who is in a contract year, is again experiencing back problems, and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. As Dehner observes, the Notre Dame product is in something of a catch-22. He either suits up at less than full health, which could hurt his performance and therefore his next contract, or he could wait until he is 100% healthy but not be on the field at all, thereby reinforcing his injury-prone reputation. Dehner says the franchise tag could still be in play for Cincinnati, as it would come at a relative bargain ($9-10MM) considering Eifert’s ability, but even a one-year deal at that value might be too much for the Bengals to stomach in light of Eifert’s health concerns. He may ultimately have to settle for a one-year “prove-it” deal to reestablish his value in 2018.
  • Julian Edelman underwent surgery to repair his torn right ACL within the past week, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss adds that everything went according to plan for the Patriots wideout, who expects to return at full strength in 2018.
  • Jamaal Charles had his best game with the Broncos last week, rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score, and his surprising success, along with the imminent return of Devontae Booker, have created a good problem for the Broncos, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Denver OC Mike McCoy said all three of his top backs — C.J. Anderson, Charles, and Booker — will get their fair share of reps, and there will not be a set number of carries for any of them.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says Ravens RB Alex Collins will get an increased workload in the team’s contest against the Steelers today. Collins, who was promoted off Baltimore’s taxi squad several weeks ago, has looked like the most explosive back on the roster in his limited reps, so he will get an opportunity to show what he can do in a more featured role.

AFC Notes: Jags, Luck, Fins, Broncos

The Jaguars’ questionable offseason decision to pick up quarterback Blake Bortles‘ fifth-year option for 2018 isn’t the first time they’ve exercised “tunnel vision” with a young player, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com observes. For instance, Barnwell regards the Jags’ call last summer to extend wide receiver Allen Hurns on a four-year, $40.7MM pact as unnecessary, as he was due to make just $600K in 2016 and would have been controllable for a $3.9MM first-round tender as a restricted free agent this season. Hurns went on to post disappointing production last year (35 catches on 76 targets, 477 yards, three touchdowns in 11 games) and is no longer one of the Jaguars’ top two receivers. Barnwell also opines that the five-year, $51.7MM extension the Jaguars handed center Brandon Linder in July isn’t any more appealing than the deal they gave Hurns.

As for Bortles, who’s behind uninspiring veteran Chad Henne in the team’s QB derby and could be on the outs if he loses the battle, the Jaguars should have made an effort to find another signal-caller in the offseason if they weren’t entirely sold on him, Barnwell opines. However, instead of courting the likes of Tony Romo, Jay Cutler or Brian Hoyer, among others, they just re-signed Henne. Now, with pickings under center looking especially slim, Barnwell suggests the Jaguars pursue Brock Osweiler if the Browns move on from him.

More from the AFC:

  • The odds of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck missing the team’s season opener against the Rams on Sept. 10 continue to increase, Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. Luck, who underwent right shoulder surgery in January, remains on the active/physically unable to perform list with fewer than 10 practices left until Week 1. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday that there “no timetable” for Luck to return, leaving the team with the less-than-stellar Scott Tolzien as its No. 1 option under center as long as its prized starter is on the shelf.
  • The presence of wide receiver DeVante Parker is among the reasons the Dolphins haven’t gotten serious about a long-term extension for fellow wideout Jarvis Landry, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. More progress from Parker in 2017, the third season of his career, could mitigate the damage of Landry’s departure. Landry is due to become a free agent after the season, meaning he could exit, though the Dolphins may just place the franchise tag on the slot dynamo if they’re wary of committing to him for the long haul. Parker is under club control for up to three more seasons, depending on whether the Dolphins exercise the 2015 first-round pick’s fifth-year option for 2019, and is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he racked up 56 receptions, 744 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Broncos running back Devontae Booker‘s wrist injury will keep him out for the first two to three weeks of the regular season, head coach Vance Joseph told reporters, including Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post, on Thursday. The team doesn’t believe that’s a long enough absence to justify placing Booker on the reserve/PUP list and losing him for the first six games of the season, so he’ll occupy a spot on the Broncos’ 53-man roster while he’s continuing to recover. That decision could affect their other backs, of course, as C.J. Anderson and Booker may be the only locks at the position. Jamaal Charles is the biggest name in their backfield, and the longtime Chief/recent injury case will see his first preseason action Saturday. Onetime 1,000-yard rusher Stevan Ridley, fourth-year man Juwan Thompson and sixth-round rookie De’Angelo Henderson are also vying for roles.

Broncos Work Out Stevan Ridley

Running back Stevan Ridley worked out for the Broncos on Thursday, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. The audition comes in the wake of news that Devontae Booker will need minor surgery on his wrist. Stevan Ridley (vertical)

Booker was unknowingly lifting weights with the injury for weeks and wound up aggravating it in training, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). . He is said to be facing a 6-8 week recovery after surgery and although the Broncos expect to have him in the lineup for Week 1, they may want to have their bases covered by adding someone like Ridley.

Ridley was hampered by injuries in 2016 and bounced around the league a bit, but it has been said that he’s now mostly healthy. His only other known audition of the offseason came when he worked out for the Jets in May.

We’re now years removed from Ridley’s 1,ooo+ yard campaign with the Patriots in 2012. It remains to be seen what he can offer in 2017.

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