Johnathan Abram

Seven Raiders Defenders To Come Off Reserve/COVID-19 List

While the Raiders practiced without several defenders this week, they are at least on track to have those players in uniform Sunday night against the Chiefs.

After continuing to test negative for COVID-19, seven Raider defenders will come off the team’s coronavirus list Saturday, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com tweets. Johnathan Abram, Johnathan Hankins, Arden Key, Maliek Collins, cornerback Isaiah Johnson and defensive lineman Kendal Vickers will be activated Saturday. David Irving is set to come off Las Vegas’ practice squad COVID-19 list, per Gutierrez.

The Raiders placed these seven players on their reserve/COVID list earlier this week, preventing each from practicing. They joined Lamarcus Joyner in that regard; the Raiders activated Joyner on Friday. This octet profiled as close contacts of Clelin Ferrell, who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week. Abram, Hankins, Key, Collins, Johnson and Vickers will be eligible to play against the Chiefs if their most recent COVID tests come back negative Sunday morning. Irving must be activated off the Raiders’ practice squad to suit up in Week 11.

Unlike Week 7’s Raiders-Buccaneers game — which was moved out of the Sunday-night window after Las Vegas’ first-string offensive line did not practice all week because of Trent Brown‘s positive COVID test — the NFL did not switch this week’s Raiders-Chiefs rematch out of the Sunday-night time slot.

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Raiders To Place Several Defenders On Reserve/COVID-19 List

4:09pm: The following Raiders landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list: Johnathan Abram, Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins, Arden Key, cornerback Isaiah Johnson and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers. While this comes in under the rumored eight-starter number, five Raiders defensive first-stringers are currently sidelined — when Ferrell and Joyner are included.

3:06pm: The Raiders already prepared for a game without their first-string offensive line. They will face another difficult task ahead of their Week 11 rematch with the Chiefs.

At least eight members of the Raiders’ starting defense will land on their reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Some of Las Vegas’ non-starter contributors on defense will also surface on the COVID list soon.

These players qualify as high-risk close contacts, and while Rapoport and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero note they are not ruled out of Sunday night’s game (Twitter link), this certainly will bring another challenge for a team accustomed to dealing with them on the coronavirus front.

This news comes after the Raiders placed Clelin Ferrell and Lamarcus Joyner on their coronavirus list. The former tested positive for COVID-19, Rapoport tweets. With two starters already on the list — and Ferrell set to miss the team’s Week 11 game — Wednesday’s news would cover almost every other starting defender. The latest slew of players set to appear on Vegas’ COVID list are indeed close Ferrell contacts, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.

Players who land on the virus list must isolate for five days. That timetable starts not at the point they land on the list but dates back to the individuals’ last contact with someone who contracted the virus. The Raiders are currently down right tackle Trent Brown due to COVID-19 and have lost a 2021 draft choice — and more than $1MM in total this season — because of failure to comply with the NFL’s COVID protocols.

Ahead of their Week 7 game against the Buccaneers, the Raiders practiced without Brown and the rest of their starting offensive line because of the group qualifying as high-risk close contacts of the mammoth tackle. The rest of the Raiders’ O-line returned to face the Bucs, which was moved from Sunday night to Sunday afternoon. With more Raiders out of practice because of the virus a month later, it would not be surprising if the NFL removes this game from the Sunday-night time slot as well to create flexibility in the event a postponement is necessary.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 10/26/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Moves Raiders-Bucs Game; Raiders Under Investigation For COVID-19 Compliance

2:56pm: The players the Raiders sent home from the team’s facility Wednesday — Abram, Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson — will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. These players now qualify as high-risk contacts of Brown and will need to isolate for five days. Their last contact with Brown was Monday, however. That would allow these players — barring a positive test — to play Sunday, though it will sideline them from practice this week. Still, this development probably points to the NFL needing to postpone this game to Monday or Tuesday.

One good sign: no new positive tests emerged from Wednesday’s round of testing, Pelissero tweets. But the issues the Patriots and Titans experienced with the coronavirus illustrate the Raiders have not necessarily turned a corner here.

2:36pm: The NFL is preparing to move the Raiders-Buccaneers game off its Sunday slate, it appears. The league announced Thursday it will shift Bucs-Raiders from a primetime slot to 3:05pm CT Sunday. Seahawks-Cardinals will now be Sunday’s primetime game.

Positive COVID-19 tests for Trent Brown and Damon Arnette have put the Raiders’ Sunday status in jeopardy. Additionally, the NFL and NFLPA are investigating the Raiders for COVID-19 compliance, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

The league has video of Brown and other Raiders offensive linemen congregating without masks, Pelissero adds, and Brown is not believed to have consistently worn his tracking device. He is now on Las Vegas’ reserve/COVID-19 list, and none of the other Raiders told to isolate — the rest of their starting O-line and safety Johnathan Abram — have returned to practice.

This has obviously clouded Sunday’s game. The Raiders have already had their bye week, giving the NFL another major test in this COVID-19-altered season. Brown is asymptomatic, per Pelissero (video link).

The NFL has shifted a few games around this season, but it has thus far avoided postponing a team’s game after a bye week. Las Vegas’ bye came in Week 6. Were the Raiders to see their Week 7 contest postponed to a later date, the league would run into logistical issues getting that contest scheduled. The rumored Week 18 makeup window remains in play, though the league has been able to avoid serious discussions of implementing it. A Raiders postponement beyond Tuesday would push that issue back to the forefront.

Thursday’s schedule change is not the first time the Raiders have run into COVID-19-related trouble. Jon Gruden was issued a six-figure fine for mask violations in September, and Darren Waller‘s charity event last month featured Raiders seen without masks. For now, the league expects Bucs-Raiders to take place in a lower-profile time slot Sunday. But the schedule change makes it easier for another postponement to commence.

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Raiders Place Trent Brown On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Ahead of a nationally televised game against the Buccaneers, the Raiders are set to be without their Pro Bowl right tackle. They placed Trent Brown on their reserve/COVID-19 list, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Per the NFL’s new coronavirus protocols, Brown must isolate for five days. That will shelve him for Sunday night’s game. Brown had just returned from an injury that caused him to miss almost all of Las Vegas’ first four games. He came back in Week 5 to help the team to a key upset in Kansas City.

Because of contract tracing, the Raiders will use a strange collection of offensive linemen in practice for the time being. They sent home the rest of their current entire first-string offensive line — Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson — after the Brown news. Jon Gruden hopes this quartet can return by Thursday, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Having not been placed on the COVID list, the other Raiders first-string blockers would be able to do so. These players’ last contact with Brown came Monday, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske (on Twitter). Even if they are deemed high-risk close contacts, they would be able to play Sunday — so long as they do not test positive.

The Raiders also sent starting safety Johnathan Abram home, Gutierrez tweets. They used Sam Young, Patrick Omameh, Andre James, rookie John Simpson and former second-round pick Brandon Parker as their first-string O-line in practice Wednesday. Brown, who signed a then-record tackle contract with the Raiders in March 2019, also missed five games last season but became the rare right tackle Pro Bowl selection.

The Brown news comes a day after the Raiders placed cornerback Damon Arnette on their reserve/COVID-19 list. Individuals do not need to test positive to land on this list, only to be in close contact with someone who has. The upcoming rounds of tests will be critical for the Raiders and the NFL.

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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: Fisher, Chargers, Abram

The Chiefs will be down one of their top players Sunday, with Tyreek Hill out for the foreseeable future. But they now have another offensive cornerstone player questionable because of a late-week injury. Eric Fisher suffered a groin injury during Kansas City’s Friday practice and is now questionable, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). The former No. 1 overall pick has not missed a start since his rookie season, in 2013, so it will look a bit strange if he is not manning his left tackle post in Oakland. The Chiefs have former Browns first-rounder Cameron Erving as a possible backup option; Erving did not play last week in Jacksonville. They also have former guard-tackle starter Jeff Allen on their bench and traded Carlos Hyde for Texans tackle Martinas Rankin.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Mike Williams played 16 games last season after an injury-plagued rookie year, but the 2017 top-10 pick has run into knee trouble. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the wideout starter will be a game-time decision against the Lions. The Bolts are thinner at receiver than they were last season, with Tyrell Williams having defected to the Raiders. But they still have Travis Benjamin, however, and brought back Dontrelle Inman. Both backups have contributed to Chargers aerial success during their time in southern California.
  • Who would say no if the Chargers and Redskins discussed a swap of holdout talents? The Chargers are not expected to have Melvin Gordon until at least midway through the season, and Trent Williams has shown no signs of ending his holdout. The latter has shown no interest in playing for the Redskins again, however, while Gordon is open to suiting up in Los Angeles this season. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explores this hypothetical, which would include the left tackle-deficient Bolts acquiring a player with two years left on his deal. One season remains on Gordon’s rookie pact, which the Chargers are no longer renegotiating.
  • Johnathan Abram‘s season is almost certainly over, but the rookie Raiders safety received some good news. Abram’s surgery revealed he had only suffered a torn rotator cuff, not a torn labrum, which will limit his rehab time to five or six months, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Raiders Place Johnathan Abram On IR

The Raiders’ Thursday defensive back tryout will lead to a roster move. Former Jets cornerback Juston Burris will sign with the Raiders, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets.

Burris will take Johnathan Abram‘s roster spot. The Raiders are placing the third of their three 2019 first-round picks on IR. Abram suffered a shoulder injury Monday night that is expected to end his season. Abram could come back after eight weeks on IR, but based on the current information, that seems unlikely.

A fourth-round Jets pick in 2016, Burris played in 34 Jets games from 2016-18. He spent time with the Browns last season. Burris may profile as Gareon Conley insurance, but the Raiders expect him to play Sunday despite the scary neck injury he suffered against the Broncos. Conley took part in limited practices Wednesday and Thursday.

Abram’s absence may bring the Raiders to move free agent addition Lamarcus Joyner back to safety. Joyner has spent his initial Raider months as their slot corner but worked as a safety with the Rams over the past two seasons.

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Raiders’ Johnathan Abram Done For Year?

Raiders safety Johnathan Abram has suffered a serious shoulder injury, according to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The torn rotator cuff combined with a torn labrum will likely a season ender, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic. The Raiders are expected to place Abram on injured reserve, with no possibility of return. 

The Raiders used one of their three first-round picks to select Abram this year and installed him as a starting safety alongside Karl Joseph. The rookie was lauded for his tenacity throughout the offseason and his energy will be missed by the Raiders much as his production.

Even though he suffered his injury in the first quarter, Abram stayed on the field to play in 77% of the team’s snaps against the Broncos on Monday night.

That’s the identity we’re trying to bring back: fast, physical and aggressive,” Abram said Monday night. “You come across the middle, we’re going to get you.”

The Raiders are expected to use Curtis Riley in Joseph’s absence with some help from Erik Harris. Tafur suggests that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther could also call up old friend George Iloka, a one-time Bengals standout who remains on the free agent market. In theory, the Raiders could also move nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner back to his native safety position to fill the void.

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Raiders Sign First-Round S Johnathan Abram

Challenging the Jets’ front office construction for Tuesday’s news leader, the Raiders have signed a third draft choice today. The team announced Johnathan Abram agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal (with the customary fifth-year option).

The third of the Raiders’ three first-round picks, Abram will be expected to integrate quickly into Oakland’s secondary mix. With Lamarcus Joyner thus far working exclusively at slot cornerback, Abram spent OTAs and minicamp operating as a starting safety alongside 2016 first-rounder Karl Joseph.

Abram follows No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell and No. 40 choice Trayvon Mullen in signing today. Abram transferred from Georgia to Mississippi State, playing only his freshman year with the Bulldogs. He registered five sacks and intercepted two passes at his second SEC school. The No. 27 overall selection, Abram was the second safety to come off the board this year — behind the Packers’ Darnell Savage.

Only Josh Jacobs remains unsigned. At this rate, we perhaps should expect news of that agreement to surface tonight.

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