Raiders Rumors

Junior Galette Turned Down Raiders, Redskins?

Junior Galette is still on the free agent market, but he hasn’t gone without opportunities to sign this year. The veteran says that he rejected offers from the Raiders and Redskins in the offseason (Twitter link). 

Galette, for his part, seems to regret passing on those chances. The edge rusher pointed out that he was “advised to turn down” the Redskins and Raiders for better deals that never came.

Galette, 30, was an absolute terror during his best seasons with the Saints. Off-field issues and injuries took him out of the game in 2015 and 2016, but he appeared in all 16 games for Washington last year. Galette finished out with three sacks, 20 total tackles, a forced fumble, and and 15 QB hits. With a total of 25 pressures, he graded out as the league’s No. 30 edge defender among 106 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus. From a football perspective, his ongoing unemployment is perplexing, to say the least.

In addition to speaking with the Raiders and Redskins, Galette also flirted with the Rams and Seahawks in the offseason. This week, he auditioned for the Colts, but it’s not clear whether they currently have interest in signing him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Trades, Melvin, Lynch

Stability’s been elusive during Jon Gruden‘s first months in Oakland, and Rashaan Melvin found himself as the centerpiece of a recent chapter in a complicated Raiders year. The Raiders limited the free agent addition to just seven snaps Sunday in London, and Melvin expressed his frustration with a reduced role. The Raiders have wanted Melvin to add a new technique to his repertoire, one he wasn’t familiar with during his previous NFL seasons, and internally prefer mid-offseason pickup Daryl Worley to Melvin, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. After a more diplomatic response Sunday, Melvin tweeted, “I’m done trying to change my style. It’s not me. Back to what I know and what got me here!!” Gruden then used another opportunity to take issue with one of his players through the press.

Melvin is on his seventh team. Maybe he is confused about what technique he is using,” Gruden said Tuesday, via Vic Vafur of The Athletic (on Twitter). “He is frustrated. I can’t blame him. … He is a good kid.”

Melvin signed a one-year, $5.5MM contract with the Raiders after delivering a strong season, prior to an injury, in 2017. Like most aspects of the 2018 Raiders, Melvin’s contract year is not going well. Projected starting corners Melvin and Gareon Conley are now on the bench.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland:

  • Trade rumors continue to hit Reggie McKenzie-era draft picks, with Amari Cooper, Karl Joseph and even Derek Carr surfacing in them. Although Carr’s status appears secure in 2018, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com writes some NFL execs are receiving the impression no other non-rookie Raider is untouchable at this year’s trade deadline. While little’s going right for the Raiders, they do have a solid offensive line interior (Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson) and have proven pass rusher Bruce Irvin. All arrived under McKenzie’s watch and helped lead Oakland to a 12-4 2016 season. Cooper’s availability stems from the Raiders, like they were with Khalil Mack, appearing unready to authorize a top-market second contract, per Robinson. It’s a tough time for a franchise that’s endured many of them this century.
  • Marshawn Lynch is one Raider who’s having a decent season, but his campaign may need to be paused. The 32-year-old back is battling a groin strain, and Gruden is concerned this could be a long-term problem (Twitter link via Tafur). Lynch is receiving medical input on the issue this week. Lynch scored touchdowns during the first three games of the season but has averaged fewer than four yards per carry in five of his six games. He rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries in London. The Raiders exercised their post-London bye option, so Lynch has additional time to recover.
  • Having cut Derrick Johnson earlier Tuesday, the Raiders worked out former Broncos linebacker Corey Nelson, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. Nelson’s been on the workout circuit for a bit now and hasn’t been able to stick on a team since his Broncos rookie contract expired.

Raiders Release LB Derrick Johnson

The Raiders announced that they have released linebacker Derrick Johnson. In a related move, the club has signed fellow ‘backer Jason Cabinda off the practice squad. 

[RELATED: Raiders Seeking First Rounder For Amari Cooper?]

Johnson, the leading tackler in Chiefs history, joined up with Jon Gruden‘s Raiders this offseason. Many criticized Gruden’s preference for signing older players this year, and the 35-year-old is one of several veterans who have not panned out in Oakland.

I still have a fire burning. I can still play at a high level, and I want to prove that.” Johnson said after signing with the Raiders in May. “That [response] made [Gruden’s] eyeballs jump, because he’s got a lot to prove, too. There was an environment in the room that was very contagious. I knew a deal would happen after I left..I’m one of Gruden’s favorite players — he’s always had a soft spot for me. He’s always said that over the years.”

The veteran boasts four Pro Bowl nods and a First-Team All-Pro selection on his resume, so he might be able to hook on elsewhere. Still, he’s clearly not the player that he once was. Despite amassing more than 2,600 tackles since entering the league as a first round choice in 2005, he has just 17 tackles to his credit through six games this year.

Johnson requested his release from the team, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter). The Raiders first tried to trade him, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), but they were unable to find a suitable deal.

So far, linebacker Marquel Lee has gotten the brunt of the reps at linebacker, and he’ll continue to do so with Johnson out of the picture. Cabinda, a rookie, may also factor into the equation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Seeking First Rounder For Cooper?

The Raiders have wide receiver Amari Cooper on the trade block and they are seeking more for him than you might expect. The Raiders are seeking a first-round selection in exchange for the former No. 4 overall pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) hears. 

Cooper’s talent is undeniable, but his performance has been inconsistent for the past two seasons and some have questioned his work ethic. Cooper earned back-to-back Pro Bowl nods in his first two NFL seasons, but it’s hard to see another club sacrificing a first-round pick for him at this point. If the Raiders want to move Cooper between now and the Oct. 30 deadline, the Raiders will have to slash their asking price.

Through six games this season, Cooper has 22 grabs for 280 yards and one touchdown. That comes after Cooper had just 48 catches for 680 yards last year, though he also had a career-high seven TDs.

Cooper isn’t the only Raider on the block. The Raiders are also willing to trade 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph and veteran Derrick Johnson and they could even explore trading quarterback Derek Carr. Trading Carr and/or Cooper would be incredibly aggressive, but nothing can be ruled out in Oakland after the club shipped Khalil Mack to the Bears just prior to the season opener.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Notes: Cooper, Conley

There’s been several high profile names rumored to be trade candidates over the past week, including Raiders receiver Amari Cooper. It was reported earlier today that the Raiders were shopping the former first round pick, but now coach Jon Gruden is pushing back on those reports.

“I’m not. I’m not. I’m just sorry to have to deal with a lot of these reports” Gruden insisted when asked about the reports saying he wanted to get rid of Cooper, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Cooper was injured in the Raiders’ loss to the Seahawks after taking a nasty hit and was diagnosed with a concussion. He’s in the last year of his rookie deal but has a fifth-year option for next year, meaning any team that traded for him would have control of him in 2019. Gruden also previously insisted he wasn’t trying to trade Khalil Mack, so perhaps his denials should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Speaking of Oakland, the Raiders have benched their 2017 first round pick, cornerback Gareon Conley, playing him on zero defensive snaps in their Week 6 loss. Conley could be a possible trade target, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, who tweets that “teams looking to buy low on Conley will be calling.” Gruden has shown a willingness to get rid of high-profile players, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the team gives up on Conley despite his limited time on the field. He missed most of his rookie season due to injury.

Raiders Shopping Amari Cooper, Karl Joseph

11:34am: The Raiders are also looking to deal wideout Amari Cooper, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports (video link). Vic Tafur of The Athletic explains that it makes sense for the Raiders to be shopping Cooper now (via Twitter), because he will be on the last year of his rookie deal in 2019, and it looks as though Oakland is priming for a multi-year rebuild. And if Gruden traded Mack when he thought the team couldn’t contend, it stands to reason that he would be willing to trade Cooper as well.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that Mack, Joseph, and Cooper are all represented by the same agent, Joel Segal, and it could be that the team’s willingness to trade those players is motivated at least in part by its unwillingness to negotiate with the man who won a stare down with Gruden during the Mack negotiations.

08:52am: When the Raiders hired Jon Gruden in January, it became immediately clear that seventh-year GM Reggie McKenzie and the club would be parting ways in the near future. After all, the Raiders made an enormous commitment to Gruden while giving him a significant amount of McKenzie’s power over roster construction, so the writing has been on the wall for some time. And, despite the fact that Gruden’s evaluation methods have created tension within the team’s personnel department, he is continuing his mission to rid the roster of talent that he inherited from McKenzie, which he has clearly been unhappy with.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Raiders are shopping 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph, who has struggled with injuries during his brief career. La Canfora says that Joseph, who sat out the past two games with a hamstring injury, has also fallen out of favor with Oakland’s new staff.

Of course, Joseph’s senior year at West Virginia was cut short by a knee injury, and many teams placed a second- or third-round grade on him as a result. But the Raiders, then led by McKenzie, believed enough in Joseph’s talent to make him the No. 14 overall selection in the 2016 draft, and while he has certainly not played poorly with the Raiders, he has not exactly lived up to his draft status either. As such, it is unlikely the Raiders would be able to get much for him, especially as he is entering the most expensive year(s) of his rookie deal.

The Raiders have already tried to cut ties with Joseph’s fellow safety, 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu, who is currently on IR but who has probably played his last down for Oakland. La Canfora also says that the team is willing to trade veteran Derrick Johnson, whom Gruden brought in to serve as Oakland’s starting middle linebacker this offseason. Johnson, who will turn 36 next month, is obviously not a part of the Raiders’ future plans.

Gruden has already shown a willingness to part with top-flight talent when he traded Khalil Mack before the start of the regular season, and La Canfora says that Gruden could soon be shopping another one of McKenzie’s prized draft picks, quarterback Derek Carr. The CBS scribe writes that a growing number of GMs believe Gruden could entertain offers for Carr in 2019, and it appears that the team will certainly be one of the busiest over the next couple of weeks, as the trade deadline looms on October 30.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Pick First Overall In The 2019 NFL Draft?

With nearly a third of the 2018 regular season in the books, it’s fair to start looking ahead to the 2019 draft, especially if you’re a fan of a team that’s not looking like a playoff team this year. Using Football Outsiders’ DVOA On the Clock report, let’s take a look at a few teams who could secure the No. 1 overall selection in 2019:

Arizona Cardinals (19.6% chance of No. 1 pick, 61.5% chance of top-five pick)

The Cardinals allowed the Sam Bradford experiment to last for the better part of three games before turning things over to rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who has appeared competent thus far. David Johnson is an All-Pro talent at running back, but Arizona hasn’t been very creative in its use of him, and he’s faced eight or more defenders in the box on 33.78% of his attempts, 10th-most in the league. The Cardinals are still as a top-10 defense in terms of DVOA (meaning they’re efficient) despite ranking as a bottom-10 unit in both yards allowed and scoring, so continued success on that side of the ball could move Arizona away from the top overall pick.

San Francisco 49ers (18.6%, 59.8%)

The 49ers’ top quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo), running back (Jerick McKinnon) and wide receiver (Marquise Goodwin) have all been injured this year, and each health issue helped push the 49ers’ chances of earning the No. 1 pick upward. With C.J. Beathard now leading San Francisco’s offense, and Alfred Morris taking over in the backfield for the time being while Matt Breida deals with an ankle injury, it’s unclear how many points the 49ers will be able to muster the rest of the way. Pair those offensive problems with a defense that ranks just 26th in adjusted sack rate, and San Francisco could be in the market for a top-five selection in 2019.

Buffalo Bills (13.2%, 56%)

While rookie signal-caller Josh Allen perhaps hasn’t looked as poor as many believed he would, he still ranks second-to-last among quarterbacks in adjusted net yards per attempt. His performance, as well as that of Buffalo’s porous offensive line, has contributed to the Bills ranking dead last in both yards per drive and points per drive. A surprisingly strong defense (and a full-effort approach that speaks well of head coach Sean McDermott) could help push the Bills towards the end of the top-10 picks, but their offense is going to hold them back.

Oakland Raiders (9.3%, 41.7%)

It’s a good thing Jon Gruden landed a 10-year contract because his first season with the Raiders isn’t going as planned. Oakland’s defense is the slowest in the NFL (which perhaps isn’t a surprise given that the Raiders are fielding the league’s oldest roster), and the club’s offense has been hit-or-miss. After trading superstar Khalil Mack, Oakland ranks dead last in sacks and second-to-last in adjusted sack rate. And, as a bonus, the Raiders get to face Patrick Mahomes twice a year for the next decade.

New York Giants (8.1%, 37.1%)

The Giants are the only team in the NFL that has at least a 5% chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick and at least a 10% chance of making the postseason, per Football Outsiders. That’s largely due to the lackluster quality of the NFC East, where no team is over the .500 mark, and New York’s remaining schedule, which ranks as the easiest in the league. On the other hand, FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Giants to finish with the NFL’s worst record, so until the NFC East clarifies itself, New York’s outlook is ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

Atlanta Falcons (8%, 35.3%)

The one team on this list that would have been a complete surprise coming into 2018, the Falcons have been decimated on the defensive side of the ball. Starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, plus linebacker Deion Jones, are all out for the season after suffering injuries, and Atlanta’s defense has responded in kind, giving up the second-most points in the league on a per-game basis. Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons’ offense can still win shootouts, but Atlanta could be in line to pick within the top-five for the first time since 2008.

So, what do you think? Will one of these teams land the No. 1 overall pick in 2019? Vote below!

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Tank Carradine Requested Release

  • The short Marquette King era in Denver is winding down. Intending to release the veteran punter via injury settlement when he recovers from his groin injury, the Broncos will also eat $1.5MM of King’s $2MM 2018 salary, 9News’ Mike Klis tweets. Neither Vance Joseph nor Broncos ST coordinator Tom McMahon attributed King’s struggles (44.1 yards per punt, 23rd in the NFL) to the groin malady. But King’s agent, Wynn Silberman, said his client encountered the injury during the offseason. “The injury clearly developed in OTAs, but Marquette wanted to fight through it and help the team,’’ Silberman said, via Klis. “He’s disappointed he couldn’t contribute more.” King will visit a San Jose, Calif.-based doctor on Monday, Silberman said. King, 29, averaged 47.4 yards per punt during his final Raiders season. The Broncos traded their previous punter, Riley Dixon, to the Giants after acquiring King.
  • The Raiders released Tank Carradine to make room for Rashaan Melvin‘s activation, but the former 49ers defensive lineman requested a fresh start. Carradine was not happy with the playing time he was receiving in Oakland, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Oakland added multiple defensive linemen after the season started, Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald. Carradine played in only one game as a Raider.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/6/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves and additional post-suspension activations:

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers