Nevin Lawson

Raiders Sign Nevin Lawson To Extension

The Raiders have signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year extension, worth $3.29MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The new deal will keep him in the fold through the 2020 season, allowing him to build off of a solid second half in which he joined the starting lineup. 

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Lawson was originally drafted by the Lions in the fourth round back in 2014. He spent the first five years of his career there, and became a full-time starter in Detroit for the last three. The Utah State product has started 50 games over the past four years and is still only 28, so he still offers upside.

Earlier this month, Lawson was hit with a one-game suspension for using his helmet as a weapon in the season finale against the Broncos. Therefore, he won’t be on the field when the Raiders play their first game as the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.

Last year, Lawson earned a subpar 60.8 overall score from Pro Football Focus. He didn’t have enough snaps (301) to qualify for a ranking at his position, but in larger sample size, that would have placed him somewhere around the No. 70 CB in the NFL.

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Nevin Lawson Suspended One Game

Myles Garrett is no longer the only player to be suspended for using his helmet as a weapon this season. Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson has been suspended one game for wielding a helmet during Oakland’s Week 17 loss to Denver, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Since the Raiders aren’t in the playoffs, Lawson will have to sit out the first game of the 2020 season. Lawson was already suspended four games at the beginning of the season for taking a banned substance. He ended up appearing in 11 games for Oakland, making five starts. He signed a one-year deal worth just over $3MM with the Raiders back in March, so he’ll be a free agent again this spring.

Lawson was originally drafted by the Lions in the fourth round back in 2014. He spent the first five years of his career there, and became a full-time starter in Detroit for the last three. The Utah State product has started 50 games over the past four years and is still only 28, so even with the suspension he should draw some mild interest on the open market.

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Bay Area Notes: Witherspoon, Lee, Verrett, Joyner

49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was expected to be active for Monday Night’s contest against the Seahawks for the first time since Week 3. However, Witherspoon remained on the team’s inactive list. According to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, Witherspoon feels 100%, but he did not get to participate in a full practice this week. Thus, the team plans to give him a full week of practice before rejoining the starting lineup next week against the Cardinals.

Rookie undrafted free agent Emmanuel Mosley has been fantastic in place of Witherspoon and surely made the decision to play it safe with Witherspoon easier. At 8-0, San Francisco has a fantastic opportunity to put themselves in the driver’s seat for the number one seed in the NFC with a win tonight.

Here’s more from around the Bay Area:

  • Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee has rejoined the team’s practices, according to Howard Balzer. Lee was placed on injured reserve in September with an ankle injury, however, the team designated him for a possible return. Balzer’s report signals the beginning of a 21-day practice period for Lee to practice with the team before Oakland must decide to reactivate him or leave him on IR for the rest of the season.
  • Cornerback Jason Verrett was among the 49ers on the field for warm-ups on Monday Night before their matchup with Seattle, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. While normally a player warming up before a game wouldn’t be newsworthy, Verrett is currently on the injured reserve with a designation to potentially return later in the season. Per Barrows, he has not been on the field since his injury two months ago. Since Verrett is not eligible to return until December 1, it is a very good sign for the team to see him making progress.
  • Jon Gruden told reporters that Raiders slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner is questionable with a hamstring injury, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Gruden went on to say that Nevin Lawson will get the first opportunity to replace Joyner. Rookie fourth round pick Isaiah Johnson, recently activated from the injured reserve, will get an opportunity to receive snaps at the outside cornerback position and possibly move veteran Daryl Worley inside to the slot as well, per Bair.

Raiders Activate CB Nevin Lawson

Nevin Lawson should be set to make his Raiders debut on Sunday. The team activated the veteran defensive back from the exempt list today. Lawson was reinstated from his suspension last week.

The 28-year-old spent the first five seasons of his career with the Lions, and he appeared in at least 15 games per season between 2015 and 2018. During his final season in Detroit, Lawson finished with 53 tackles, one sack, and five passes defended.

The cornerback joined the Raiders on a one-year deal in March, and he was later hit with a four-game suspension for taking a banned substance. Lawson later said he tested positive for Ostarine, although he denied ever taking it.

The Raiders are currently only rostering four cornerbacks in Gareon Conley, Lamarcus Joyner, Keisean Nixon, and Curtis Riley. Assuming Nelson gets playing time, he’ll have a chance to snag his first interception in more than 3,000 career snaps.

In a related move, the Raiders waived offensive lineman Lester Cotton.

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Raiders’ Nevin Lawson Suspended 4 Games

Raiders veteran Nevin Lawson has been slapped with a four-game suspension, the cornerback announced on Twitter.

“Despite being very cautious about what I put into my body, I discovered that a test determined that I ingested something that is on the NFL’s banned substance list,” Lawson said in the statement. “Specifically, the substance is Ostarine, which I have never knowingly taken.

“Unfortunately, it does not matter, as I am responsible for knowing every single ingredient that goes into my body, and I apparently failed in this regard. This disappointing and temporary setback says nothing about my constant drive and daily commitment to be a better player and human being, a priority of mine which will continue for the rest of my life.”

The 2014 fourth-round pick out of Utah State spent the first five seasons of his career with the Lions, including a 2018 campaign where he finished with 53 tackles, one sack, and five passes defended. The 28-year-old averaged 15 starts per season between 2016 and 2018, but he hasn’t snagged a single interception in more than 3,000 career snaps.

Detroit determined that they couldn’t stomach his salary, and he was cut by the team back in March. He quickly caught on with the Raiders, where he’s expected to play a reserve role behind Daryl Worley and Gareon Conley. Lawson has the ability to play both outside cornerback and in the slot, so there should be a role for him when he returns from his suspension.

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Raiders Sign CB Nevin Lawson

The Raiders have agreed to sign free agent cornerback Nevin Lawson, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal worth $3.05MM, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Oakland was the first and only visit on Lawson’s brief free gent tour. After five years in Detroit, Lawson was released by the Lions earlier this month. He met with the Raiders on Tuesday, and will now join a defensive backfield that’s light on experience, meaning Lawson could be in line for significant playing time.

At present, the Raiders are projected to start Daryl Worley and Gareon Conley at cornerback, but they’ll need a third player capable of playing at least 60% of the club’s defensive snaps. Lawson has the ability to play both outside cornerback and in the slot, and he’ll give Oakland a veteran alternative to young defensive backs Nick NelsonRico Gafford and Makinton Dorleant.

Lawson, 26, appeared in 62 games for the Lions after being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and started 45 of a possible 48 contests over the past three years. While he deflected an average of 6.5 passes during those three seasons, Lawson has amazingly never posted a single interception on nearly 3,000 career snaps.

Advanced metrics, meanwhile, haven’t been complementary of Lawson’s work. Among 60 qualifying corners, Lawson finished 37th in Football Outsiders’ success rate — meaning he was slightly worse than average at stopping opposing receivers short of the sticks — but just 44th on yards per pass. Moreover, the Lions ranked 27th in DVOA against opposing No. 2 wide receivers, the pass-catchers Lawson was most often covering opposite Darius Slay.

CB Nevin Lawson To Visit Raiders

A Lions cap casualty, Nevin Lawson will make his first free agency visit on Wednesday. The veteran cornerback will meet with the Raiders, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Raiders have made a few key additions this offseason, including bringing in safety Lamarcus Joyner, but have not bolstered their cornerback situation — one that fluctuated in 2018. Lawson would be a step in that direction.

Oakland did place a second-round tender on Daryl Worley and still has Reggie McKenzie-era draft choice Gareon Conley, but the team’s cornerback corps is far from settled.

Beyond Conley and Worley, only Nick Nelson, Rico Gafford and Makinton Dorleant reside on the Raiders’ roster at corner. There will surely be changes before this situation is finalized.

Lawson spent five seasons in Detroit, the former fourth-round pick starting 54 games. The 27-year-old defender was the Lions’ primary Darius Slay complementary starter from 2016-18. Despite his place on the Lions’ depth chart and Slay being entrenched as Detroit’s No. 1 corner, Lawson has yet to record an interception. He stayed with the Lions last year via a two-year, $9.2MM deal.

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Lions To Release Nevin Lawson

The Lions are releasing cornerback Nevin Lawson, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The move saves the Lions $4.675MM against the cap and leaves the club with just $1.125MM in dead money. 2019 would have been the final year of the two-year, $9.2MM pact that Lawson inked last March.

Although ESPN’s Josina Anderson appeared to confirm the news as soon as RapSheet reported it (via Twitter), Detroit beat writers were a little less certain. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press said that the Lions have not yet notified Lawson that he is being cut, and that the club is “working through some things” with the sixth-year pro (Twitter links). It could be that the Lions were asking Lawson to accept a pay cut or perhaps delay the $1.25MM roster bonus that he was due later this week.

Likewise, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweeted that he has not received any confirmation of the Lawson release. But Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, citing ESPN’s Adam Schefter, says that the release is a done deal.

Given the cap savings and Lawson’s impact on the team’s defense, the decision is not surprising. Lawson started 14 games for the Lions last year, 15 games in 2017, and all 16 in 2016, but he has yet to record an interception in his NFL career. He is a decent member of a DB rotation, but he is not a top-flight starter. Rothstein speculates that the Lions could use their cap space (up to about $45MM after the Lawson release) to pursue a high-profile free agent like Trey Flowers or Landon Collins.

Lawson will likely be scooped up in the second wave of free agency, and he may even return to Detroit at a reduced rate. The Lions selected the Utah State product in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.

Contract Details: CBs, McDougald, Ellis

Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Lions Re-Sign Nevin Lawson

The Lions have agreed to re-sign cornerback Nevin Lawson, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Lawson will receive a two-year, $9.2MM deal that can max out at $10MM, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, while the pact contains $4.55MM in guarantees, per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link).

Lawson, 27 in April, has been a starter for the last two years and change in Detroit. Last year, he started in all 15 of his games and totaled 43 tackles with four passes defensed. The Lions like what he brings to the table, but the advanced metrics have never held him in high regard (he was one of the ten worst qualified corners last year, per Pro Football Focus) and he is still in search of his first career interception.

It’s unclear if re-signing Lawson will take the Lions out of the cornerback market, but one cornerback who would have made sense for the Lions — former Patriot Malcolm Butler — is now off the table after inking a hefty deal with the Titans. D.J. Hayden, who appeared in all 16 games for Detroit last season, is in talks with the Jaguars, so the Lions may need to replace their slot corner. DeShawn Shead, for one, is scheduled to meet with Detroit today.

If nothing else, Lawson will give the Lions a cheap depth option. Even if Detroit doesn’t plan to deploy him as a starter again in 2018, a $5MM annual value isn’t a bad price for a third cornerback.

The Lions have been active today, re-signing safety Tavon Wilson while adding external free agents in linebackers Christian Jones and Devon Kennard.

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