Gareon Conley

Raiders Rumors: Mack, Conley, Richard

The latest on the Khalil Mack front continues to paint a picture of a situation that has no resolution in sight. Mack remains a Raiders holdout. He and the team are not making progress on an extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). If that weren’t enough, Rapoport adds no communication’s commencing and no optimism exists. Jon Gruden having yet to speak with his top player is certainly interesting, with the now-two-time Oakland coach having accepted the job in January. Mack has not reported for any Raiders activities this year. But more than five weeks remain until the regular season begins. Unlike Aaron Donald, Mack has already accrued four seasons toward free agency after not holding out last year. This provides the 2016 defensive player of the year with leverage to continue his holdout beyond August 7, whereas Donald will have to make a big choice by then to avoid possible restricted free agency in 2019.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s Bay Area franchise:

  • A shin injury Gareon Conley cost almost his entire rookie season, and the corrective surgery cost the 2017 first-round pick part of his offseason. The second-year cornerback has not experienced additional known shin trouble, but he now has encountered a hip problem. Conley missed Saturday and Sunday’s Raiders workouts because of this, and this raised eyebrows among some coaches, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Raiders are calling this ailment a hip strain, but new DC Paul Guenther doesn’t anticipate Conley being out for too long. Daryl Worley took Conley’s place with the Oakland first-stringers, per Tafur.
  • Jalen Richard‘s also dealing with an injury, and without a roster spot secured, this setback figures to pose trouble for his latching on with Gruden’s Raiders. The return man/passing-down back suffered a calf strain at Sunday’s practice, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Richard was spotted walking without crutches after practice, however, but Gehlken anticipates the Raiders adding another running back. Richard and DeAndre Washington, both 2016 additions who have backed up Latavius Murray and then Marshawn Lynch, are believed to be competing for one roster spot. Richard is not expected to factor into the Raiders’ new-look return-men competitions, with the team having signed Dwayne Harris and traded for Ryan Switzer — both having experience under new ST coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
  • Kolton Miller has a legitimate chance to win Oakland’s starting left tackle job, with Donald Penn on the mend for now.

Extra Points: Contracts, Raiders, Conley

If NFL players want to land fully guaranteed contracts, they’d need to be willing to accept short-term deals, argue Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. Teams likely wouldn’t be willing to hand out full guarantees over a five- or six-year term, so two- or three-year pacts would probably become the norm. New Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is Exhibit A, as he received $84.5MM fully guaranteed on a three-year deal this offseason. Taking shorter contracts wouldn’t necessarily be a negative for players — the last years of long-term deals often turn into de facto team options, giving teams almost all the leverage. On the subject of guaranteed accords, Bills linebacker and NFLPA stalwart Lorenzo Alexander says they’re “something players are always going to fight for,” per SiriusXM Radio, while Rams running back Todd Gurley suggested to TMZ Sports that a lockout will be required before fully guaranteed deals are dispersed.

  • Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley is suing the woman who accused him of rape in advance of the 2017 draft, per TMZ Sports. Conley, an Ohio State product, was still drafted in the first round last year even with those allegations hanging over his head, and prosecutors ultimately decided not to press charges (and Conley has vehemently denied his accuser’s story). Still, Conley believes the claims not only caused him to drop in the draft — he was viewed as an early first-round selection but ultimately went 24th overall — but broke up endorsement opportunities. On the field, Conley’s rookie year was a lost campaign, as he played in only two games before a shin issue landed him on injured reserve.
  • A number of head coaches will be on the hot seat almost as soon as the 2018 campaign gets underway, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle ran down the list of coaches who could be fired. Hue Jackson seems like an obvious candidate after posting only a single victory over two seasons with the Browns, while Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter was thought to be on the chopping block following the 2017 campaign. Pro Football Rumors recently examined a similar topic, asking readers which coach will be handed his walking papers first. Your early favorite? Jackson.
  • In case you missed it, only 14 of 256 2018 NFL draft choices remain unsigned. We’ve got the entire list here.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Ingram, Raiders

Having funneled their pass offense through Travis Kelce for several seasons and having not invested much in their No. 2 wide receiver job in many years, the Chiefs surprised most observers by authorizing a monster contract for Sammy Watkins. The fifth-year wideout’s three-year, $48MM deal — with $30MM guaranteed — is having a league-wide effect, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Julio Jones, who is signed to a $14.25MM-per-year deal, is now seeking additional dollars. And Corry adds Odell Beckham Jr.‘s hopes to become the league’s first $20MM-AAV wide receiver is not a crazy demand anymore now that Watkins has signed a top-five contract without supplying production to justify it. Corry adds that Watkins’ $16MM-AAV contract will become Brandin Cooks‘ floor, assuming he fares well in Los Angeles this season.

As for the Chiefs, Watkins justifying the contract could be difficult, as Corry writes, since the newcomer may be the No. 4 option in his next offense. Kelce and Kareem Hunt are entrenched as the top components of Kansas City’s attack, and Tyreek Hill put together a strong 2017 featuring 1,183 air yards and seven touchdowns. Watkins caught 39 passes for 583 yards last season, and his career-best numbers were 1,047 and nine with the 2015 Bills. Hill becomes extension-eligible after this season and his contract expires after 2019. Those talks could be tricky if he outproduces Watkins this season. Only two teams — the Packers and Broncos — are paying two wideouts eight figures annually, and the Chiefs could be set to encounter an interesting dilemma once Hill talks begin.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Melvin Ingram may not be attending the Chargers‘ OTA sessions. The star pass rusher missed Tuesday’s session and is training in Florida, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports, adding that Ingram cleared his absence with Anthony Lynn. Ingram skipped the start of these workouts last year, but he was not under contract because he had yet to sign his franchise tender. He’s now signed a long-term Bolts deal.
  • Bruce Irvin played as a 4-3 outside linebacker the past two seasons with the Raiders, but new DC Paul Guenther is moving him to defensive end, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Irvin often played end during his first two seasons in Oakland, but did so in sub-packages while lining up as a stand-up ‘backer in most base sets, similar to the Broncos’ usage of Von Miller from 2011-14. Irvin began his career as a defensive end before the Seahawks relocated him. Now that Irvin is at end, Gutierrez notes Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur lined up as outside linebackers with the Raiders’ first-stringers at Tuesday’s OTA session.
  • Also at Raiders OTAs, Gareon Conley participated fully, per Gutierrez. A shin injury wiped out most of the 2017 first-rounder’s rookie season, and only recently did the former Ohio State standout receive full clearance.
  • Donald Penn will be limited during these workouts, with Gutierrez noting the longtime Oakland left tackle is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Penn is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp. For now, second-year player David Sharpe took the reps in 11-on-11 work while Breno Giacomini opened with the starters at right tackle. The Raiders are planning to have Kolton Miller train as a left tackle to start his career.
  • The Chiefs will be without their backup tight end in Week 1. Demetrius Harris received a one-game suspension for a 2017 marijuana arrest that induced a multi-day jail stay, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris established new career-high marks last season with 18 receptions for 224 yards. The Chiefs added former Jets second-rounder Jace Amaro this offseason, but Harris has been with the team for the past four seasons. Amaro hasn’t played since 2016.
  • Clinton McDonald did not participate in Broncos OTAs on Tuesday, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a March shoulder operation. The Broncos knew of this procedure when they signed him in March, per Klis. He adds McDonald is expected to be ready for camp.

Extra Points: Pack, Ravens, Saints, Conley

Brian Gutekunst remains confident the Packers will sign Aaron Rodgers to an extension this offseason, telling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk he expects an agreement “soon.” The first-year GM said both sides continue to work on a pact. Although, the negotiations likely just saw the price rise since Matt Ryan‘s five-year, $150MM extension raised the ceiling for quarterback contracts. However, Gutekunst told Florio before Ryan’s Falcons agreement was finalized that both the Packers and Rodgers may be waiting to see if any other quarterback deals are completed this offseason. With Kirk Cousins signed and Ryan now locked up through 2023, Rodgers’ deal is likely next on the QB docket. Although, it’s still possible the Patriots and Tom Brady revise the reigning MVP’s contract. With two years remaining on Rodgers’ deal, Florio estimates the final result will be a contract closer to Ryan’s through-2023 deal than Cousins’ three-year accord. He also expects Rodgers’ new deal to further raise the quarterback ceiling, one that’s climbed considerably since Derek Carr became the league’s first $25MM-AAV player less than a year ago.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Two rookies the Ravens may well have hoped to land went to AFC North rivals. Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the Ravens were eyeing Miami running back Mark Walton with their fourth-round pick, but the Bengals ended up selecting him six spots before Baltimore’s next pick — one that went to Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett. The other player they may well have wanted ended up in Pittsburgh. Zreibec adds the Ravens most likely sought James Washington, who went to the Steelers late in the second round. Eric DeCosta said a few times during this draft he became “angrier than usual” because of a player going off the board just prior to a Ravens selection window, and Zreibec assumes the Oklahoma State wide receiver was the source of one of these agitation bouts.
  • Brandon Coleman‘s Saints contract is worth a maximum of $1MM, Larry Holder of NOLA.com reports. Coleman re-signed with New Orleans after not being tendered as a restricted free agent. Had the Saints applied the low-end tender to Coleman, he would have made $1.9MM this season. After the Saints selected Tre’Quan Smith in the third round, Coleman and return specialist Tommylee Lewis could be battling for a roster spot, Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes.
  • On the subject of Saints position battles, Underhill notes the Saints are high enough on Taysom Hill that they might be ready to cut Tom Savage and carry just two quarterbacks if Hill beats him out for the backup job. They also brought in J.T. Barrett this month. Hill served as the Saints’ third-string quarterback last season behind Drew Brees and Chase Daniel. It would cost the Saints just $100K if they released Savage.
  • Gareon Conley has yet to receive full clearance to return to Raiders workouts, but Jon Gruden said that appears imminent, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Conley underwent shin surgery last year after missing almost his entire rookie season. Gruden indicated the 2017 first-round pick is running with teammates and participating in walkthroughs but hasn’t been given a full green light yet.
  • Both of Eric Berry‘s twin younger brothers are with teams this weekend. One will have a chance to join the All-Pro safety with the Chiefs. Elliott Berry is in Kansas City working as a tryout player, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, Evan Berry signed with the Browns as a UDFA on Friday. Both of twins played at Tennessee, as Eric did.

AFC Notes: Bills, Phins, Cutler, Broncos, Jets

Though there weren’t many positives to glean from a 54-24 drubbing by the Chargers, the Bills did receive one bit of good news on Monday. Newly acquired wideout Kelvin Benjamin did not tear his ACL in the loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link).

Though the injury could force the physical receiver to miss a few games, he should be able to help the Bills, currently tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot, contend for a wildcard berth down the stretch.

After letting Robert Woods walk and trading away Sammy Watkins in the offseason, Buffalo pulled off a deadline deal with Carolina for Benjamin, who was expected to serve as Tyrod Taylor‘s top target. That has yet to come to fruition with Benjamin catching four passes in two games and Taylor being benched for the first half vs. Los Angeles.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins QB Jay Cutler is officially in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Dolphins are 4-6 and mired in a four-game losing streak, so their showdown with New England could be a make-or-break game for their slim playoff hopes. Matt Moore will assume the starting role should Cutler not be fit for the game.
  • After being placed on injured reserve earlier this month, Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley underwent surgery to repair his injured shin on Monday, NBC Sports’ Scott Blair reports. The cornerback suffered the injury in training camp and aggravated it in Week 3 vs. Washington.
  • The Jets are still holding out hope for the postseason. With that in mind, the team will roll with Josh McCown as the team’s starting quarterback unless injured, reports Newsday’s Calvin Watkins. McCown is on the same page as Bowles and appreciates the vote of confidence.
  • Following the firing of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, the Broncos promoted Bill Musgrave to the post and named Klint Kubiak quarterbacks coach, according to Schefter. The offensive coordinator in Oakland the last two seasons, Musgrave helped the Raiders produce one of the league’s most potent offenses in 2016. Kubiak, the son of former Broncos head coach and team senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, served as wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2015 before joining the Broncos as an assistant in 2016.
  • Remaining with the shakeup in Denver, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that John Elway should also receive some blame for the team’s downward spiral in 2017. Florio writes: “Despite efforts to blame the players and, as of Monday morning, to blame offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and possibly to blame coach Vance Joseph, responsibility for the six-game losing goes to every layer and level of the organization, and the buck ultimately stops on Elway’s desk.”

Raiders Place CB Gareon Conley On IR

Cornerback Gareon Conley‘s season is over. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders have placed the first-round pick on the injured reserve. To fill his spot on the roster, the Raiders have activated defensive tackle Darius Latham from the Reserve/Suspended list.

Gareon Conley (vertical)Conley, who was taken 24th-overall in this past year’s draft, played in the Raiders first two games of the season, compiling seven tackles and one pass defended. He suffered a shin injury shortly thereafter, and he hasn’t practiced with the team since early October. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets that the organization is particularly high on the defensive back, and there was hope that he could return this season and contribute. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that both sides ultimately decided on surgery, with the organization hoping that the procedure will “fix the issue for good.”

Latham was suspended back in early October for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Despite appearing in 14 games as a rookie in 2016, the former udnrafted free agent didn’t see the field much in 2017. Prior to his suspension, Latham appeared in only one game, compiling a pair of tackles. The 23-year-old will presumably slide in behind Treyvon Hester, Justin EllisEddie Vanderdoes, and Jihad Ward on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Osweiler, Cousins, Jim Harbaugh

The Broncos have tried to tinker their playbook a bit to suit Brock Osweiler‘s strengths, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). However, Rapoport calls tonight’s matchup with New England Osweiler’s final audition, and if he should continue to struggle, Paxton Lynch — who is reportedly getting healthier — will be given the chance to show what he can do.

Now for more rumors from the AFC (we rounded up some NFC nuggets earlier today):

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes that the Jets‘ chances to acquire Kirk Cousins in the offseason improved after Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to San Francisco, thereby (presumably) taking the 49ers out of contention for Cousins’ services. Of course, it all depends on what Washington does, but Cimini thinks New York will make a major QB acquisition one way or another. He thinks the club will either pursue Cousins or another quality veteran (like Alex Smith, should he become available) or else trade up for one of the top signal-callers in the draft.
  • Browns LT Joe Thomas is battling an injured triceps that has knocked him out for the remainder of the season, and he remains undecided about his future, even though Cleveland gave him a pay raise for the 2018 season. As Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com writes, however, the Browns’ outlook could play a role in his decision. Thomas said, “Is it going to be for trying to pursue a championship or are we trying to pursue a playoff berth or are we trying to pursue a first pick overall? Those are all things that could play into that decision.”
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that, when the 49ers were considering trading former head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Browns offered San Francisco two third-round picks and offered Harbaugh a five-year, $40MM contract. Harbaugh, though, did not want to go to Cleveland, but sources close to the current University of Michigan head coach say his eventual return to the league is “inevitable.”
  • Rookie Gareon Conley might be the Raiders‘ most talented corner, but he has only been able to appear in two games in 2017 due to a shin injury that has taken longer than expected to heal. Per Scott Bair of NBCSports.com, Conley’s prospects for the remainder of the year will become clearer this week. If he is able to return to practice, he could work his way back into the mix. If not, Oakland will place him on injured reserve, thereby ending his first professional season.

West Notes: Garoppolo, Chiefs, Raiders

Even with the trade deadline being one of the most active in years, whenever a quarterback gets traded, that deal takes center stage. After years of will they or won’t they, the Patriots finally gave in and dealt backup Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second round pick a few months before the signal caller was about to hit free agency. Now given some time to digest the move, NFL coaches and execs are starting to express their thoughts. Albert Breer of the MMQB, has relayed some of those opinions from anonymous personnel throughout the league in his column yesterday. The overall sentiment from the coaches and front office members from the article loved the deal for the 49ers given Garoppolo’s talent and the general lack of starting caliber QB’s throughout the league. But there was also a general understanding about the Patriots rationale for making the move given how unlikely it was they were going to use the franchise tag on their backup QB. Obviously it’s far too early to declare winners and losers, but the opinions from actual NFL coaches and front office people are definitely worth the read.

  • The Chiefs will be without some solid contributors in linebacker Dee Ford and wideout Albert Wilson on Sunday, reports Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star. Wilson is currently the second leading wide receiver in terms of catches and yards, while Ford racked up 13 combined tackles and 2.0 sacks. Kerkhoff also notes that pass rush specialist Tamba Hali‘s status was a little more up in the air according to head coach Andy Reid“He’s literally just knocking the rust off,” Reid said. “We’re literally taking it day by day and seeing; let’s just see what happens.” The veteran just started practicing this week after just being activated from the PUP list yesterday.
  • Another AFC West team is dealing with the injury bug, particularly to the secondary. The Raiders will be without defensive backs David Amerson, Gareon Conley and Demetrius McCray this Sunday, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. However, he does also point out that the team will get some much needed help as rookie safety Obi Melifonwu is set to make his NFL debut after being activated from the injured reserve this week. Oakland’s pass defense has been a weakness all year and they’ll be searching for answers in new places when they take on the Dolphins in Week 9.
  • In off the field Raiders news, it was announced today that the target date for the completion of the team’s Vegas Stadium will be July 31, 2020, according to Steve Sisolak, who is a candidate for Nevada Governor (Twitter link).

 

 

West Rumors: Raiders, Broncos, Cards, Rams

The Raiders have activated rookie cornerback Gareon Conley from the active/PUP list, the club announced today, adding that Conley is practicing for the first time on Tuesday. Conley, of course, slid to the 24th overall selection in the draft following rape allegations, but he was eventually cleared and won’t face charges. While he still needs to get up to speed, it’s possible Conley could become a starter sooner rather than later. Fellow cornerback Sean Smith –who’s facing his own legal troubles — has been demoted from Oakland’s starting lineup, meaning Conley could see expanded action during his rookie campaign.

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

  • Veteran safety T.J. Ward may not be the only player the Broncos are open to trading, as the club could also listen to offers for fourth-year receiver Cody Latimer. speculates Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Latimer, a second-round draft choice in 2014, has never broken out in Denver, as he’s posted 16 receptions over three seasons. However, he’s still young (25), plays special teams (41% of the Broncos’ ST plays a year ago), and offers intriguing measurables (here’s his MockDraftable profile). And perhaps most importantly, Latimer could be had for minimal cost, especially given the rise of fellow receivers Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond in Denver, as Renck details.
  • While Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was recently removed from the active/PUP list, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be ready Week 1, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals have the depth to withstand a short Bucannon absence, as they signed Karlos Dansby, Josh Bynes, and Philip Wheeler and drafted Haason Reddick this offseason. But a Bucannon injury will be felt, as he played on nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s defensive snaps last season, managing 89 tackles in the process. He’s signed through 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option.
  • Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway will require surgery for a fractured fibula and is out indefinitely, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. Hemingway, who appeared in eight games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, has been challenging for a rotational role behind fellow tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, per Bonsignore, which makes Hemingway’s injury all the more devastating. Los Angeles could conceivably sign another tight end before the season begins, although high-profile free agents like Gary Barnidge or Ladarius Green probably aren’t a fit.
  • On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that special taxes may be raised via citizen’s initiative through a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds majority that was previously required, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. While those new rules won’t help bring the Chargers back to San Diego, it could allow the city to eventually lure another club to the region. However, the Chargers’ 2016 stadium measure received only 43.64% of the vote, per Acee, meaning taxes wouldn’t have been raised even under the new conditions.

Raiders’ Gareon Conley Won’t Face Charges

Raiders rookie Gareon Conley will not face charges stemming from his infamous pre-draft hotel romp, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) has learned. A grand jury convened on Monday to discuss Conley’s case and returned with a “no bill.” Gareon Conley (vertical)

He is vindicated. He looks forward to contributing in the National Football League,” attorney Kevin Spellacy said.

Heading into the draft, Conley was considered a potential top ten pick. However, days before the big day in late April, he was accused of sexual misconduct in an Ohio hotel room. Some clubs backed away from drafting Conley as they investigated the situation, but the Raiders felt that he was too good of a value to pass up at No. 24 overall. The cornerback has vigorously maintained his innocence throughout the process and the Raiders drafted Conley with the belief that he would not face charges.

Conley will not face a potential suspension from the NFL since the event in question took place before he was drafted. Barring something unexpected, the Raiders will have Conley in uniform for Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.