Raiders Rumors

Latest On Raiders’ Oakland Discussions

The Raiders have missed the NFL’s Super Bowl LIII deadline for resolving their 2019 stadium situation, but they may be closing in on finalizing this saga.

The likelihood that, after all of the talk of a move elsewhere following Oakland’s lawsuit, the Raiders will play in Oakland has increased. More discussions are on tap next week, with a near-future resolution in sight.

We’ll talk against next week. Again, this will come to a conclusion one way or another in the next week or so,” Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Board executive director Scott McKibben said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s fair to say that discussions have been meaningful and productive and, after the update with our board, things are progressing.”

Oakland and the Raiders had been discussing a $7.5MM lease for 2019, the franchise’s final lame-duck season before its Las Vegas move. Although the Raiders previously walked away from that deal after the city’s lawsuit, playing at the Coliseum for the $7.5MM amount is back on the table.

It appears the prospect of the Raiders playing at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park home has been scuttled. The 49ers refused to waive their territorial rights. Although, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes NFL bylaws indicate the league’s 30 non-Bay Area owners could supersede the 49ers in this case, that is not expected. Normally, relocations require a two-thirds majority vote; in this case, all 30 other teams would have to approve of the Raiders playing in San Francisco. A precedent of teams moving into markets already housing other teams is not one the NFL wants, per Maiocco.

Additionally, the seven opponents set to face the Raiders in the Bay Area may well have objected to sharing a sideline with the Raiders on game day, Maiocco adds. That would have been the case at Oracle Park.

Raiders Hire Former Jets OC John Morton

The Jets’ offensive coordinator for one season, John Morton will return to an NFL sideline after missing the 2018 season. The Raiders announced they hired him as a senior offensive assistant.

Morton will find his way to a Jon Gruden‘s staff. While Gruden and Morton have not worked together as coaches, they have been in the same organization multiple times.

Gruden was a young Packers wide receivers coach for two seasons in the 1990s. An NFL receiver hopeful, Morton spent time on Green Bay’s practice squad in 1993. Gruden also paved the way for Morton’s post-playing career in the league, giving him a job as a Raiders executive in the late ’90s.

Morton, 49, joins Kirby Wilson and Taver Johnson as new Raiders hires.

Wilson also has a history with Gruden, serving as running backs coach for his first two Buccaneers teams. Wilson has since coached running backs with five other teams. In total, the 57-year-old assistant has now been on an NFL staff as running backs coach for nine NFL franchises since 1997. His most recent gig turned out to be a one-year role, serving on one-and-done Cardinals coach Steve Wilks‘ staff.

The Raiders will bring Johnson back to the NFL after a 15-year hiatus. Set to become the Raiders’ assistant defensive backs coach, Johnson has been a college assistant since 2005, rising to positions of Miami (Ohio) and Temple DC. In 2018, Johnson coached Ohio State’s cornerbacks. He was a Browns assistant in 2004.

Morton, whose lone Jets offense ranked 28th in total yardage, clashed with Jets coach Todd Bowles and had issues with some Jets coaches. He will have a chance to rebuild his coaching reputation with a rebuilding team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Increasingly Likely To Play 2019 Season In Oakland

There has been a great deal of chatter in recent weeks as to where the Raiders will play next season, but it looks increasingly likely that they will remain in Oakland for one more year. The Raiders had previously agreed to pay $7.5MM in rent to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to play their 2019 homes games at the Coliseum, but they began looking for alternate sites when the city of Oakland filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

However, we heard just last week that the Coliseum is willing to honor the prior agreement, and today, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the two sides have engaged in productive talks. Scott McKibben, executive director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said, “I will confirm that we, late last week, started sitting down and talking with the Raiders about the potential of a 2019 season deal. In my view, the discussions have been meaningful and productive.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms (on Twitter) that the Raiders do appear to be focused on playing the 2019 season in Oakland, and he says the club must make every attempt to work out a deal with the Coliseum before moving on to other options. Nonetheless, a report from NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic last week indicated that, while the 49ers have thus far refused to give up their territorial rights to allow the Raiders play in San Francisco’s Oracle Park — home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants — it is believed that the NFL will be the party making the final call in that regard. As such, there is still an outside chance that Oracle Park could be hosting Raiders games next season.

And other cities want in on the action as well. In an odd bit of news, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson reports that Birmingham, Alabama, and Tucson, Arizona are trying to team up to share the Raiders next season. Birmingham city councilor William Parker said, “[t]he fans in Alabama love football. Obviously, the people in San Francisco and Oakland don’t want them and there’s a fan base here for the Raiders.”

Parker’s city, though, looks like it may have to content itself with the AAF’s Birmingham Iron for the time being, as it currently appears that the Raiders will have one last hurrah in Oakland before heading to Las Vegas in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders DB Coach Derrick Ansley Joins Titans

  • Raiders defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is joining the University of Tennessee staff in a similar role, NBC Sports’ Scott Bair writes. Ansley will reunite with head coach Jeremy Pruitt, who he served with while with the University of Alabama. Last year was Ansley’s first in the NFL, and the Raiders reportedly were happy with the job he did with the team’s young defensive backs.

Josh Gordon, Martavis Bryant May Apply For Reinstatement By May

Suspended NFL wideouts Josh Gordon and Martavis Bryant may be able to apply for reinstatement by May, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Both Gordon and Bryant are suspended — not banished — from the NFL, which, as Pelissero note,s in an important distinction given that banishment would have lead to a one-year minimum absence from the league. However, both pass-catchers’ suspensions are indefinite in nature, so there’s no clear timeframe on when they can attempt to re-enter the NFL.

Nevertheless, if both Gordon and Bryant execute their treatment plans in accordance with the league’s wishes, the NFLPA may begin to “lay groundwork” for returns in May, per Pelissero. Such a plan could could potentially put both players back on the field by training camp, something Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported — at least, in the case of Gordon — on Wednesday.

Gordon, whom the Patriots acquired at midseason from the Browns, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next month, so New England will soon need to decide at what level it will tender the 27-year-old. Bryant, meanwhile, was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders during the draft, but was subsequently cut and re-signed in September. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in March, but clearly shouldn’t be expected to find a new team until later this summer, at the least.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Oakland, SF, Carr, Cook

An offer for the Raiders to play in Oakland in exchange for $7.5MM in rent remains on the table, as Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal writes. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is willing to honor the agreement, despite the fact that the city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

We have always wanted them to come back and play the last season here,” McKibben said Tuesday. “Keep in mind the Coliseum Authority that I work for and represent is not in this lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed by the city of Oakland. The role that I have taken is I’ve got a lot of jobs to save for a season or two. We would love to see them play here for the fans and the sponsors and the media exposure and all the various constituents that are impacted by this.”

Here’s more out of Oakland:

  • The 49ers are still not expected to waive their territorial rights for the Raiders to play in San Francisco, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). On top of that, the mayor of San Francisco has come out against the Raiders playing at Oracle Park, which makes SF even more unlikely. At this point, it’ll be either Oakland or Levi’s Stadium for the Raiders, Rapoport hears.
  • Derek Carr’s $19.9MM base salary for 2019 became fully guaranteed on Wednesday, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. The Raiders could explore other QB options this offseason, but a Carr release is not a real possibility anymore.
  • Jared Cook is unlikely to return to the Raiders, Vic Tafur of The Athletic opines. Coach Jon Gruden indicated that Cook was in the team’s plans at the Super Bowl, but Tafur believes that he likes tight ends Darren Waller, Lee Smith, Derek Carrier and practice squad TE Paul Butler enough to let Cook go elsewhere in free agency. Talent-wise, the Raiders might like to have Cook back, but he should find a competitive market in March. Cook was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after he hauled in a career-high 68 catches for 896 yards and six TDs.

Eagles Will Pick Up Nick Foles’ Option

The rumors surrounding the Eagles-Nick Foles situation appear accurate. The Eagles informed the Super Bowl LII MVP they are going to pick up his $20MM option, Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets.

Rather than hitting free agency, Foles remains under Eagles control. However, this is likely the start of an extensive process.

Foles is expected to pay $2MM to free himself from this option and become a free agent, but the Eagles in turn are then rumored to be planning a rare tag-and-trade strategy. Philadelphia’s target is somewhat modest: a third-round pick. But that draft choice would likely come in the 2019 third round, rather than the 2020 draft in a compensatory scenario. Foles, 30, is expected to sign the franchise tender immediately. It would be worth approximately $23MM.

This is a complicated scenario for a player who almost certainly will not be part of the 2019 Eagles, but the franchise is likely going to take the chance another team will part with draft compensation to acquire Foles.

The Jaguars make sense, possessing a veteran-fueled defense held down by Blake Bortles. Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is now the Jaguars’ OC. The Jags will have to perform considerable cap gymnastics to make this work, though. A new Foles contract will be expected to be authorized by whichever team trades for him.

To some degree, the Redskins fit the profile of a Foles buyer — although, they might be aiming lower in a veteran pursuit — and Pat Shurmur coached Foles in Philadelphia. Neither of these teams will be sought as a trade partner, however, with the Eagles not eager to trade another quarterback within the NFC East like they did when they shipped Donovan McNabb to Washington in 2010.

The Dolphins are also moving on from their longtime quarterback, but they are not likely to be big spenders in free agency and are eyeing a rebuild centered around a 2020 first-round passer. Denver is in need of a long-term answer, too, after receiving below-average 2018 work from Case Keenum. But the Broncos targeting a first-round quarterback adds up better than replacing Keenum with Foles. Despite Derek Carr‘s presence, the Raiders might be a long-shot possibility, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP writes, adding Mike Mayock is a “big believer” in Foles.

They of the NFL’s worst cap situation ($13MM over the projected salary ceiling), the Eagles will need to know they have a bidder willing to part with appropriate compensation before tagging Foles. The early consensus is the Jaguars will be that team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Raiders, San Francisco

The prospect of the Raiders playing at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park has produced some notable reactions, none of which pointing to a solution having been reached yet.

The Raiders remain without a 2019 home, and now San Francisco mayor London Breed came out against another team playing in the city. She has also directly informed the Giants about her view on this matter, according to Lisa Fernandez of KTVU.

As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland,” Breed said. “We don’t need another layer to add to what we already have — and that’s an area that’s really congested filled with construction and will host a number of basketball and baseball games over the coming months.”

In addition to the Giants, the Golden State Warriors’ new arena, Chase Center, is scheduled to become a San Francisco sports site this year. Breed’s stance further complicates Raiders plans of potentially playing at Oracle Park. They entered into discussions with the Giants about this in December, but hurdles — from logistics, to league approval, to the 49ers’ San Francisco territorial rights — remain.

The NFL prefers the team share Levi’s Stadium, a site that could accommodate two teams, with the 49ers. This is the hopeful outcome of the NFC’s Bay Area team as well, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Raiders have discussed this option, but Mark Davis has thus far balked at being a one-year tenant at the 49ers’ stadium, per Albert Breer of SI.com.

No deal between the Raiders and Oracle Park has been finalized, but negotiations appear to have picked back up. However, considering the obstacles impeding this move, Davis might have to settle on one of the two traditional Bay Area NFL sites. A path back to Oakland for one more pre-Las Vegas season remains possible, but nothing significant has transpired between the Raiders and the city that is suing them in recent weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Raiders’ 2019 Plans

Shortly after Super Bowl LIII, a report emerged indicating the Raiders had their decision on a 2019 playing site. The Silver and Black have an agreement to play at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park, according to NBC Bay Area (Twitter link).

But it appears there are still a few key hurdles to clear before the Raiders can play in another baseball stadium. The Raiders have not received approval from the NFL or the 49ers to make this move possible, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Raiders and the San Francisco Giants have not yet agreed to a deal, either, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic. The sides are discussing one, only the MLB team remains under the impression the Raiders are negotiating with two other sites. Levi’s Stadium and Oakland Coliseum are widely believed to be the Raiders’ other two 2019 options.

Despite playing their home games in Santa Clara, the 49ers could block the Raiders from playing at Oracle due to having territorial rights to San Francisco. The NBC Bay Area report indicated the NFL would announce the Raiders-to-Oracle move this week, the NFL could also nix this.

While the league did indeed conduct another site survey regarding the Raiders shifting from sharing a ballpark with the Oakland Athletics to doing so with the National League West club, barriers remain en route to this interesting future, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. The NFL will need to sign off on the playing field at the San Francisco baseball stadium, while security upgrades will need to take place, in order to meet league standards, per La Canfora. Meetings regarding whether or not the NFL will agree to make those necessary enhancements will transpire this week.

Oracle Park was considered for a possible XFL team, NBC Sports Bay Area adds. The site hosted XFL games in 2001 and bowl games for more than a decade. The city of Oakland’s lawsuit against the Raiders prompted them to explore other options; the Silver and Black pulled a one-year lease extension — for more than double their 2018 payment — off the table following the lawsuit.

Super Bowl LIII represented the apparently soft deadline for the Raiders to finalize their decision, but the league does want this decision to be made before schedule meetings begin soon, JLC adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suspicion Arising About Raiders Drafting QB

As the Raiders transition further into the second Jon Gruden era, more staff turnover can be expected. Mike Mayock has replaced Reggie McKenzie as GM, and another of McKenzie’s lieutenants is no longer with the team. Director of pro personnel Dane Vandernat recently left the Raiders, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Vandernat’s contract was to expire after the draft, per Caplan, who adds Dave Razzano will take over some of Vandernat’s pre-draft workload. This comes after player personnel director Joey Clinkscales received his walking papers. Teams that make front office changes often wait until after the draft to revamp scouting departments, and Mayock recently said he is scouting the in-house scouts. Vandernat’s Raiders arrival predated McKenzie’s. He had been with the team since 2008. Reggie McKenzie’s twin brother, Raleigh McKenzie, is still working for the Raiders as a scout.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, shifting to the Raiders’ quarterback situation.

  • Rumors are circulating about Gruden and Mayock bringing in their own quarterback, with Peter King of NBC Sports writing “lots” of suspicion has arisen about the Raiders drafting a passer in the first round. This prospective move would not be accompanied by a Derek Carr trade, per King, who adds an NFL exec said the team may be tempted by the Chiefs’ draft-and-wait model they used with Patrick Mahomes. Of course, Alex Smith was 33 during Mahomes’ rookie season; Carr will turn 28 this year. That would not make for a smooth setup. Additionally, the Raiders’ first-round picks acquired via trade sit at Nos. 24 and 27. Several potential quarterback-seeking teams pick ahead of them, with the Giants (No. 6), Jaguars (7), Broncos (10), Dolphins (13, though they are eyeing the 2020 QB class) and Redskins (15) stationed in the first round’s top half. It would be a bit odd if the Raiders gave up assets to replace Carr, and King is hearing buzz about it even taking a top-10 pick to select Kyler Murray (if he ends up in the draft).