- The Raiders and Khalil Mack aren’t particularly close to a deal, despite the parties being on good terms at this point, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair notes. Mack is not expected to show for the Raiders’ pre-draft voluntary minicamp, per Bair, who adds no timetable exists at this point for an extension. The Raiders finalized Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson‘s extensions in June of last year, but Mack’s may be more complicated. Aaron Donald and Jadeveon Clowney are the same boat and each could be waiting to see if one of the other 2014 first-rounders sets the market. “We look at Khalil as his own situation,” Reggie McKenzie said, via Bair. “We’re not looking at anybody else. We’re just focusing on our guy.”
Reggie McKenzie isn’t worried about butting heads with new head coach Jon Gruden during next week’s draft. The Raiders general manager said that after having worked with Gruden for three months, the two are on the same page when it comes to prospects.
The Raiders are armed with a number of picks heading into next week’s draft, including the 10th-overall selection.
The Raiders have until May 3 to exercise Amari Cooper‘s fifth-year option, a decision that is nothing short of a no-brainer. Ideally, however, the Raiders would like to lock up the star wide receiver for the long haul. Discussions on a new contract appear to be underway.
“We’ve been in contact with his agent,” McKenzie said (via PFT). “I don’t want to put anything out there, don’t want to put the cart before the horse so to speak, but we like Amari.”
The fifth-year option for Cooper would cost the Raiders $13.924MM in 2019, but a new multi-year deal would have to provide Cooper with more than that on an average annual basis. The high-priced deals signed by this year’s free agent receivers, as well as the mega-extension for Bucs wideout Mike Evans, will only boost Cooper’s leverage in talks.
Coooper, who doesn’t turn 24 until June, has more than 2,900 receiving yards over the past three years. He positioned himself as one of the league’s best receivers right out of the gate as a rookie when he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2015. He earned Pro Bowl honors once again in 2016 when he caught 83 passes for 1,153 yards and five scores.
Cooper’s numbers were less impressive last year, but he’ll look to get back on track under new head coach Jon Gruden. Opposing defenses will be paying some attention to new WR2 Jordy Nelson, though it’s debatable as to whether he is a bigger threat to teams than former teammate Michael Crabtree.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
UCLA tackle Kolton Miller could be a target for the Raiders if they trade down from the No. 10 overall pick, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com hears. However, they probably can’t move back all that far if they hope to land him. Evaluators and offensive line coaches that have spoken with JLC believe that Miller – and not Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey – is the best tackle in this year’s class. Plenty of teams in the teens are eyeing the 6’9″ prospect and McGlinchey is more likely to go in the late teens or early 20s, La Canfora hears. The Lions at No. 20 could be Miller’s floor as they would plug him in on the right side.
Here’s more draft buzz from JLC:
- The Patriots are entertaining the possibility of moving up in the teens if the right quarterback falls, La Canfora writes. The Dolphins and Bills are exploring QBs at Nos. 11 and 12, so the Raiders could potentially find value by trading down from No. 10. Josh Rosen, in JLC’s estimation, appears to be the most likely of the big four QBs to slide. I’d agree with that assessment as the Browns, Giants, and Jets are reportedly not high on the UCLA product.
- The Broncos say they are open to moving down from No. 5 and JLC believes that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is very much on their radar. The likely trade scenario, he believes, would see the Bills moving up to get Josh Rosen if Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield come off of the board in the top four. The Bills own the Nos. 12 and 22 picks in the draft.
- The Bengals at No. 21 could be the floor for Arkansas center Frank Ragnow. Ragnow is climbing up boards around the league and has a good chance of going in the first round.
- The Ravens are looking for a tight end, but they would rather not select one at No. 16. La Canfora hears that the Ravens, ideally, would like to move down 5-7 spots to get South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst. The Ravens can’t go too far, however, with the Saints sitting at No. 27.
- Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who won’t turn 20 until after the draft, is a lock to go in the top 10, JLC hears. He also wouldn’t be shocked to see him go as high as No. 6 overall, depending on how the first five picks shake out.
- Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan could go just outside the top 10 and JLC believes his worst case scenario is No. 26.
- Florida state defensive lineman Josh Sweat could sneak into the late first round and seems very possible for the second round.
Although the Raiders have signed a slew of veterans in free agency this year, they are still in need of help at linebacker. And they may be hoping a run on quarterbacks helps bring Roquan Smith to them at No. 10. They may not be willing to trade up for the Georgia-honed linebacker, however.
“Roquan Smith is the guy. I don’t know that they would be willing to give away additional picks later to go up and get him, but he’s the guy they want,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said, via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. “… There’s a lot of love for Roquan Smith in that building.”
While NaVorro Bowman has been connected to the Raiders for months as a re-sign candidate, he remains a free agent. The Silver and Black signed Tahir Whitehead, and he’ll likely start at one of their second-level spots, with Kyle Wilber and Emmanuel Lamur in line to supply depth. But a long-term cog looks to be on the agenda as this draft approaches. The Raiders have not selected a first- or second-round linebacker who plays off the ball during the Reggie McKenzie regime, with Rolando McClain (Round 1, 2010) being the most recent such investment. Of course, McKenzie ceded some power to Jon Gruden this offseason.
- McShay’s also heard Tremaine Edmunds and Vita Vea‘s names linked to the Raiders. With four quarterbacks possibly set to go off the board before the Silver and Black’s selection window opens, they could have their pick of these three prospects.
- Maurice Hurst visited the Raiders on Monday, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Adding the Raiders are “hell bent” on strengthening their interior pass rush, which has been a trouble spot for a while now, Bair identifies the Michigan defensive tackle as a candidate for Oakland’s Round 1 choice it the team trades down from its No. 10 slot.
The Raiders are hosting veteran pass-rusher Lamarr Houston for a workout today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. If Houston signs with the Raiders, it’ll mark a homecoming for Oakland’s former 2010 second-round pick.
Houston played the best football of his career when he was with the Raiders for his first four NFL seasons. After signing a five-year, $35MM contract with the Bears, he was unable to keep the momentum going thanks to injuries. In his first three campaigns with Chicago, Houston appeared in just 26 of a possible 48 games and made only ten starts.
The Bears cut Houston before the start of the 2017 season, eventually leading him to the injury-marred Texans’ front seven. When Houston was cut by Houston, the Bears brought him back in for the final stretch of the season. In five games with Chicago, he managed four sacks, including two sacks against the Lions on Dec. 16.
There’s reason to believe that Houston can be a solid contributor once again, though perhaps only as a situational pass rusher on limited snaps. If Jon Gruden likes what he sees, it probably won’t cost much for the Raiders to sign him on a one-year deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
We heard last week that the Raiders and star linebacker Khalil Mack are not close on an extension, and Mack has not yet reported to the team’s offseason workout program. GM Reggie McKenzie, though, remains confident that a new deal will get done, and there does not seem to be any reason to believe otherwise at this point. Scott Bair of NBCSports.com takes a crack at the value of Mack’s next contract, and he suggests that a six-year, $120MM pact (with around $65MM in guarantees) could be in play. He also says the team is unconcerned about Mack’s absence at this point, though the Raiders do want to get a deal in place before training camp.
- Jared Cook has been mentioned as a potential cap casualty this offseason given that he is owed a $5MM salary and can be cut without any dead money remaining on the books. But Bair does not believe the Raiders will part ways with Cook, though that could change if the team selects a tight end in the early rounds of this month’s draft.
- Khalil Mack has not shown up for the first week of Jon Gruden‘s return to the Raiders, but Reggie McKenzie remains confident a contract agreement will come. “This is going to be a big contract and all sides are trying to make everything work,” McKenzie told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair). “It’s about the end result. One thing I know is that we love Khalil Mack and we want to make him a Raider for life. We’ll get through all the other stuff. We understand the business part of it. Everybody is aware of everything and nobody is surprised. Everything, on all sides has been positive.” Wyche reports Mack and Gruden have spoken recently, despite the superstar defensive end’s absence, and McKenzie understands Mack may stay away from the team until a deal is completed.
After losing Nate Solder in free agency, the Patriots are on the lookout for offensive tackle help. With that in mind, the Patriots hosted Texas tackle Connor Williams on a visit on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade earlier this offseason, the Pats are armed with two picks late in the first round. Williams could be available when the Pats are called to the podium at No. 23, though the league-wide need for tackles could result in the 6’6″ lineman going higher.
Here’s the latest batch of NFL draft news:
- LSU outside linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out for the 49ers on Wednesday and will move on to the Raiders on Thursday, Rapoport tweets.
- South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who could be the first tight end to come off of the board, visited the Dolphins on Wednesday, Rapoport tweets. Miami is reportedly high on him, but he has also met with the Seahawks, Chargers, and Lions, according to Rapoport. As previously reported, the Vikings met with Goedert last week.
- Cornerback Isaiah Oliver has had workouts/visits with the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, Saints, Broncos, and Cowboys, sources tell Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Miller personally believes that he would be a great fit for Arizona. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Oliver ranked as the 36th best prospect in this year’s draft and it would be no surprise to see him go in the first round.
- Georgia running back Nick Chubb will visit with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to Josh Norris of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Chubb has been lauded for his power and ability to run on the inside and figures to be a second round pick.
- The Lions hosted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. Johnson was recently bumped from Jeremiah’s top 50 but should still garner consideration in the second round.
The Raiders recently released Marquette King following what was described as a personality clash between the veteran punter and new Oakland head coach Jon Gruden, but King says he’s perfectly capable of toning down his act if need be. “You can’t judge me by what you see on TV or social media, and sadly, a lot of people do that,” King tells Jim Trotter of NFL.com. “If those things were an issue, just sit down and tell me. I can be a zombie if you want me to. But everybody knows what they sign up for when they get into professional sports. You know there are going to be ups and downs, and you’ve got to be able to handle them regardless of the situation, with professionalism and a positive attitude.” King has since signed a thee-year pact with the Broncos, and is clearly relishing the opportunity to play against the Raiders twice per season from here on out.
- Although the Raiders are reportedly not close to an extension with star pass rusher Khalil Mack, the club expects to reach an agreement before the 2018 campaign gets underway, tweets Trotter. Mack failed to report for the first day of voluntary workouts on Tuesday, but no one inside the Oakland organization is panicking, per Trotter. The fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Mack has averaged 12 sacks per year over the past three seasons and is likely looking for an annual salary in the $20MM range. Mack, 27, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $13.836MM thanks to his fifth-year option.
- Several rival teams have told Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com that the Raiders are open to dealing the No. 10 overall selection, and a trade could become all the more likely if a quarterback prospect is still on the board when Oakland’s turn comes. While the draft’s top four signal-callers may well be gone by pick No. 10, second-tier passers such as Lamar Jackson and/or Mason Rudolph could still be available (one AFC executive thinks both will be selected in the top-20, per La Canfora). At that point, the Raiders — who are already set with Derek Carr under center — could collect extra draft capital by moving back a few slots.