Raiders Rumors

Raiders Audition Michael Scherer

  • Free agent linebacker Michael Scherer recently worked out for the Raiders, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Scherer, a Missouri product, appeared in 26 games for the Tigers from 2014-15 before a knee injury ended his senior season after seven contests in 2016. He’s yet to land an NFL contract, but he did audition for the Bears and Giants last year.

Raiders To Cut Michael Crabtree?

Jon Gruden On Crabtree, Lynch, Cable

With a non-guaranteed $7.7MM salary, Michael Crabtree is among this year’s potential high-profile salary cap casualties. However, in a recent interview, Raiders coach Jon Gruden indicated that Crabtree is a part of the team’s plans. Michael Crabtree (vertical)

I got to bump into Crabtree. Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career,” Gruden told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.

Crabtree, 31 in September, turned in the weakest numbers he’s had in a healthy season since 2010. His 58 catches for 618 yards and eight touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at, but it was a drop-off from his 89 grabs for 1,003 yards and eight scores in 2016. Still, Gruden believes that he can get Crabtree back on track, which would make him worth his current contract. Alternatively, the Raiders could ask Crabtree to take a minor pay cut.

Here’s more from Gruden’s sit down with McDonald:

Do you think Marshawn Lynch will be on the roster this year?

I don’t know. I bumped into him. Some of these players that live locally do come to the facility to get a workout, see the trainer. I’ve been downstairs and met several guys. I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ballcarrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. that’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.

What excites you about this roster?

I think we’ve got a great young quarterback. I think that’s enough to be excited about. I think a lot of our center. I think the quarteback-center (Rodney Hudson) battery is as good as I’ve ever had in football. I’m really excited about the two guards (Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), obviously. That’s the strength of this team. And Khalil Mack, I think he’s a proven superstar football player. I think the excitement around working with Amari Cooper is just certainly pretty cool. 

Does Tom Cable’s hiring mean the Raiders will be a zone-scheme team when it comes to running the ball?

No. I think Cable’s background is one of the outside zone, the inside zone, but he’s also a very versatile coach. He’s proven that. He can run gap schemes. He’s going to run what we’re good at running. If we have a good back, and some good linemen and a tight end and a fullback, we’ll have a good running game with Tom Cable. But we’ve got to get the components in place so he can be all he can be. That’s something we’re working on right now. He’s a versatile coach, certainly he’s an expert in the zone scheme and I’m excited about that, but there’s a lot of ways he’s run the ball in his background. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sebastian Janikowski To Continue Playing

Sebastian Janikowski is done with the Raiders, but he’s not done playing. The kicker’s agent says he’ll try to catch on with another team after learning that the Raiders will not be bringing him back for 2018. Sebastian Janikowski (Vertical)

He plans on getting another job,” agent Paul Healy tells Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Unfortunately, he had this back issue. He’s healthy now, and he’s ready to go.

Janikowski, who turns 40 on March 2, will leave the Raiders as one of the most well-known figures in franchise history. He also has his place in the record books with franchise records of 268 regular season games played and 1,799 points scored. Meanwhile, he has the most field goals from 50+ yards in NFL history with 55.

Janikowski did not see the field in 2017 thanks to a back injury, but his rep says that won’t be an issue for him going forward. You can expect Seabass to draw interest from teams in need of a reliable leg (the Seahawks, perhaps?) this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Part Ways With Sebastian Janikowski

Sebastian Janikowski‘s 18-year run with the Raiders has come to an end. On Wednesday, the Raiders informed the kicker that he will not be re-signed for the 2018 season, Adam Schefter of tweets"<strong

Last offseason, Janikowski initially balked when the Raiders asked him to take a pay cut, and that nearly marked the end of his tenure in Oakland. The kicker eventually acquiesced, but a preseason back injury kept him off of the field for the entire season.

Janikowski’s replacement, Giorgio Tavecchio, may have the inside track on the job, but new coach Jon Gruden could also open up a competition. Last year, the 27-year-old (28 in July), connected on 76.2% of his field goal tries and made 33 of 34 extra point attempts.

Before 2017, the 2000 first-round pick missed four games with the Raiders, and his 268 appearances are the most in franchise history. Despite his long-running history with team, the Raiders clearly had concerns about his age and possible decline. In 2016, Janikowski made 82.9% of his field goals and went 37-of-39 on extra point tries. He has not cleared the 83% mark on field goals since 2014. If not for the timing of the team announcing a move to Las Vegas, Janikowski might have been released before the 2017 season.

Janikowski turns 40 in March, but it seems likely that he’ll want to continue playing.

With Janikowski out of the picture in Oakland, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stands as the only player from the 2000 NFL draft still with the team that drafted him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lynch, Gruden Have Met Multiple Times

Though it had been reported that Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch had been “blowing off” new head coach Jon Gruden, the veteran back’s agent Doug Hendrickson dispelled those rumors on Twitter on Friday. Marshawn Lynch (Vertical)

Hendrickson tweeted: “To all the couch potato non verified media ppl speaking on Marshawn Lynch-get a real job and check sources! #beastmode.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken confirmed as much with his sources (Twitter link).

Lynch is signed through the 2018 and possesses a cap number of $6 MM. Though some have speculated the pair might butt heads, it appears the two are working to find a fit for the running back in the team’s new system.

After a year away from football, Lynch returned to the gridiron with the Raiders and produced 891 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 207 carries. Though Oakland suffered a disappointing campaign, the five-time Pro Bowl back proved he had plenty left in the tank.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Why Raiders Could Cut Marshawn Lynch

  • Now that the Raiders have released cornerback David Amerson, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area looked at which players could be next to go. The list starts with wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who is slated to carry a $7.7MM cap number. While Crabtree has come up big at times during his three-year Oakland tenure, his age (31 in September) and inconsistent work ethic are definite strikes against him. Running back Marshawn Lynch ($6MM cap number), safety Sean Smith ($8.5MM), and WR Seth Roberts ($4.45MM, $2MM in dead money) could also be released in order to create cap room, though in the case of Lynch, he may retire before Jon Gruden & Co. can bring the ax down. Expensive veterans like Bruce Irvin ($8.25MM), Kelechi Osemele ($10.5MM), Rodney Hudson ($8.4MM), Jared Cook ($5.3MM) and Cordarrelle Patterson ($3.25MM) figure to stay, in Bair’s estimation.

Raiders Cut CB David Amerson

Add David Amerson to the list of 2018 free agents. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders have cut the veteran cornerback. Yates notes that the defensive back’s $5.5MM base salary would have David Amersonbecome fully guaranteed this week.

The 2013 second-round pick came into the league with the Redskins before being waived during the 2015 season. He was subsequently claimed by the Raiders, where he proceeded to start 12 of his 14 appearances. Following his four-interception campaign, Amerson inked a four-year, $35MM ($17.5MM) extension with the organization.

The cornerback had another productive season in 2016, finishing the year with two interceptions and a career-high 64 tackles. However, he was limited to only six games in 2017 while dealing with a foot sprain. He ultimately finished the year with 18 tackles and four passes defended.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2018 NFL Draft Order

With the Super Bowl in the books, we now know the draft order for the entire first round of the 2018 draft. Here’s the rundown:

1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)

2. New York Giants (3-13)

3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

4. Cleveland Browns (via the 4-12 Houston Texans)

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

6. New York Jets (5-11)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

8. Chicago Bears (5-11)

T-9. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

T-9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) (Note: The Raiders and 49ers have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broken by a coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 9 and the other club receiving the No. 10 pick.)

11. Miami Dolphins (6-10)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

13. Washington Redskins (7-9)

14. Green Bay Packers (7-9)

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

16. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

18. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)

19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)

20. Detroit Lions (9-7)

21. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

22. Buffalo Bills (via the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

24. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

25. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

26. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

30. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

31. New England Patriots (13-3)

32. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Roger Goodell Affirms Raiders Did Not Violate Rooney Rule

  • It seems fairly clear that the Raiders violated the Rooney Rule when they agreed to hire Jon Gruden as their next coach before interviewing any minority candidates, but commissioner Roger Goodell insisted during his state of the league address last week that Oakland was in compliance with the Rule. However, the way in which Goodell delivered that affirmation has raised plenty of eyebrows (as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports discusses in detail), and if the Raiders were found to be in compliance with the Rule, it seems unlikely any team will be found to have violated it in the future.