Given Jon Gruden‘s moves involving several other Reggie McKenzie-era high draft picks, and the Raiders‘ decisions this spring, it would appear Karl Joseph is not in the team’s long-term plans. The Raiders, who benched Joseph to start last season, did not pick up his fifth-year option and proceeded to sign Lamarcus Joyner before drafting Johnathan Abram in the first round. Nevertheless, Joseph is not planning (at least publicly) for a 2020 free agency foray.
“Obviously I want to be here, I’ve expressed that already with Coach Gruden and (Mike) Mayock,” Joseph said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I want to be a Raider for life, but at the end of the day, I have to take care of my business on the field. I’m not focused on the contract. That stuff will take care of itself.”
Among McKenzie’s first-round picks, only Joseph and 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley remain Raiders. Despite starting in just eight games last season, the 2016 first-round pick graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 23 overall safety (in just 509 snaps) and worked alongside Abram in Oakland’s starting lineup at minicamp. Erik Harris is working as a backup, per Bair.
Here is the latest out of northern California:
- As for Joyner, the Raiders are following through on their spring talk of playing him as a slot corner. The player the Rams used as a safety starter the past two years worked exclusively as a slot defender during the minicamp and OTA sessions available to the media, Bair notes. The Raiders gave Joyner a four-year, $42MM contract. If they intend to confine him to slot duty, this would make him the league’s highest-paid pure slot corner — a distinction Kenny Moore was believed to hold when he signed a Colts extension this week. Joyner worked as a corner for the Rams from 2014-16 and would join Trent Brown as recent Raiders signees asked to change positions.
- Mike McGlinchey sustained a knee injury that required a recent procedure. The 49ers‘ right tackle starter did not participate in minicamp, instead receiving platelet-rich plasma injections on a knee he recently injured, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. McGlinchey, who started 16 games for the 49ers last season, is expected to be ready for training camp.
- Garrett Celek has more significant issues to surmount. In addition to remaining in concussion protocol, the veteran 49ers tight end will need back surgery, Kyle Shanahan said. The seventh-year tight end may well miss the start of training camp, per Chan. This would point to Celek’s back problem being rather minor. As for his concussion concern: Celek, who saw a head injury end his 2018 season, remains in the protocol because the next time he can take a concussion test will be training camp. But he’s certainly not out of the woods on the injury front.