Raiders Rumors

AFC Notes: Ravens, Brady, Mosley

We heard at the end of December that the Ravens are prepared to slap pass rusher Matt Judon with the franchise tag if they cannot work out a long-term deal with him, but recent comments from head coach John Harbaugh suggested Judon could be suiting up elsewhere in 2020. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Baltimore may be disinclined to use the tag, as it would take up a big chunk of their cap and could alienate the emotional and outspoken Judon.

On the other hand, Judon is the only proven pass rusher on the team, and there’s no guarantee the Ravens can win a bidding war for one of this year’s top FAs or land a player at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can make an immediate impact, so GM Eric DeCosta will have to carefully weigh a number of factors.

Let’s round up a few other AFC items, starting with several more nuggets out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens and veteran CB Jimmy Smith have mutual interest in a reunion, per Zrebiec. However, if Baltimore brings back Smith, it’s unlikely that CB/S Brandon Carr also returns. Meanwhile, the Ravens will almost certainly cut safety Tony Jefferson.
  • Regardless of what they do with Judon, the Ravens will have to add three or four starting-caliber players to their front seven, so Zrebiec expects the team to focus on those areas heavily in the draft, and he fully expects DeCosta to draft a WR or two.
  • Add Jay Glazer of The Athletic to the list of pundits who believe a Tom BradyRaiders partnership makes sense. Like others, Glazer thinks the Chargers are an obvious non-Patriots landing spot, but given the international presence that the Las Vegas outfit is expected to have, both Brady and the team would stand to benefit from a Sin City marriage.
  • In a recent interview with Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he believes the move to Las Vegas will help the club attract top free agents, even those not named Brady. The fact that Nevada does not have a state income tax will obviously be appealing, as will the sleek new stadium and the general excitement surrounding the franchise. Mayock also noted that he will look to add wide receiver help this offseason.
  • Jets LB C.J. Mosley had to undergo groin/abdominal surgery about six weeks ago, but he expects to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. One of last year’s biggest free agent fish, Mosley played in just two games for Gang Green, and he has started a vegan diet in the hopes of giving himself an edge.

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. 

[RELATED: Raiders GM Mike Mayock On Antonio Brown, Jon Gruden, Derek Carr]

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Isaiah Johnson Underwent Surgery

  • Raiders cornerback Isaiah Johnson had back surgery this week, tweets Vic Tafur of The Athletic. The fourth-round rookie was placed on injured reserve to start the year, and he was ultimately activated in November. Johnson proceeded to appear in five games for Oakland, collecting two tackles and one pass defended.

Raiders GM Mike Mayock On Antonio Brown, Jon Gruden, Derek Carr

Antonio Brown‘s time with the Raiders didn’t go as planned, to put it mildly. Oakland traded a couple of picks to acquire him from the Steelers, and he never ended up playing a game in the silver and black. Brown got into a very public spat with Raiders GM Mike Mayock, reportedly threatening to punch him and calling him a “cracker.” Although head coach Jon Gruden has final say on personnel matters, Mayock still caught a lot of flak for his handling of the situation. Now in an interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Mayock reflected on the whole ordeal at length for the first time.

I put that on me,” Mayock said. “My anticipation was that he was coming off a situation in Pittsburgh where he wants to prove everybody wrong and he wants to ride into the Hall of Fame. That he was going to come in with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr and our offense and lead the way. … I really thought we were going to get the best out of Antonio Brown and we didn’t.”

The Raiders ended up cutting Brown on September 7th, a couple of days after the blowup in the locker room. “We weren’t able to get anything out of him. So, at the end of the day, in hindsight, we lost a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick, and I can’t tell you how much pain that causes me,” Mayock continued. Gruden initially welcomed Brown back into the locker room the day after the altercation, which led to some speculation that the coach had taken the player’s side over his GM’s, and that Mayock wasn’t long for the franchise.

Mayock denied there were any issues between him and Gruden, and he didn’t seem concerned about his job security. “Jon and I are good,” Mayock said. “Jon and I talk everything through.” The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas this offseason, and rumors have swirled that they could be in the market for a new quarterback as they make the transition. Mayock spoke positively of Carr, saying “Derek stepped forward in Year 2 under Jon Gruden,” but he also hedged.

As far as what the future holds, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told you last year. About every position. And that is, my job is to evaluate every position and try and make us better. And if I can, I will, and if I can’t, I won’t. And that holds true at every position.” Spoken like a true GM. Carr was inconsistent once again this year, and it wouldn’t be a shock if the Raiders decide to make a splash at the position.

Mayock also talked about defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who the Raiders surprisingly drafted fourth overall last April. Ferrell got off to a slow start, and Mayock acknowledged as much. “I thought he was solid,” Mayock said. “Early in the year, we probably asked him to do too much. He had never played inside and he was splitting reps inside and outside. He lost weight, he was sick in London … those aren’t excuses, they’re facts.” 

“After London, when he got his weight back up, I thought the season began to build for him. We asked him to play one position and I thought he got better and better each week, and we’re excited about him,” he continued. The former NFL Network analyst also revealed that he thinks the impending move will help attract free agents. “There is definitely a buzz about our move into Las Vegas,” he said. “Could be one of the big stories of free agency.” The Raiders will be one of the most interesting teams to watch in 2020. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders, Denzelle Good Agree To Extension

For the second straight year, the Raiders plan to bring back Denzelle Good on a one-year extension. The 2018 Oakland waiver claim will join the Raiders in Las Vegas, with The Athletic’s Vic Tafur tweeting the re-up will soon be official.

Last year, the former Colts seventh-round pick signed for one year and $1.7MM. This time around, he’ll get $2.3MM, including $1.4MM guaranteed, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The deal can reach a maximum of $3.3MM, via playtime incentives.

Good started five games for the Raiders last season, doing so at first because of Richie Incognito‘s two-game suspension and then in the season’s final two weeks because of an Incognito injury. The Raiders recently extended Incognito and will bring back his backup as well.

After they focused on other needs in the 2019 draft, the Raiders initially had Good atop their left guard depth chart alongside Gabe Jackson. But the team quickly pivoted to Incognito, who supplanted Good. But the former 20-game Colts starter played in 16 Raiders games last season, doing so after starting three times for the 2018 Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Hire Rod Marinelli

The Cowboys firing Jason Garrett also displaced longtime defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, but the former Lions head coach landed a new job in Oakland. The Raiders are hiring him as their defensive line coach, Jim Trotter of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Marinelli will replace Brentson Buckner, who joined Jon Gruden‘s staff last year. While Buckner helped the Raiders improve on their anemic 2018 sack total (13) and assisted in Oakland’s run defense climbing from 30th in 2018 to eighth this season, he will be in search of a new gig.

Gruden worked with Marinelli in Tampa, keeping Tony Dungy‘s former D-line coach on as Buccaneers assistant head coach from 2002-05. While Marinelli is best known for his three-year Lions tenure ending in the NFL’s first 0-16 season, the now-70-year-old coach oversaw top-16 scoring defenses in each of his six years as Cowboys defensive coordinator. Marinelli will now work with Gruden and returning defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Las Vegas.

Marinelli did well to help DeMarcus Lawrence become a high-end pass rusher and will be tasked with elevating No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell. Buckner did well to coax fourth-round rookie Maxx Crosby into a key pressure artist, with the Eastern Michigan product leading the Raiders with 10 sacks. Ferrell finished with 4.5.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

Raiders Like Robby Anderson?

  • Vic Tafur of The Athletic opines that the Raiders should add a playmaking wideout this offseason, and he notes that the organization “really like[s]” one impending free agent: Jets receiver Robby Anderson. Current Raiders senior offensive assistant John Morton was the Jets offensive coordinator when Anderson had his most productive season in 2017.