Raiders Rumors

Latest On QB Jordan Love

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where Utah State QB Jordan Love will land in this month’s draft, and as such, he is generating interest from plenty of teams. Kevin Patra of NFL.com says that the Saints, Packers, Chargers, Raiders, Dolphins, and Colts have all been in contact with Love via FaceTime and other virtual means.

Despite an uneven 2019 season, Love possesses all the physical tools that a team could want in a signal-caller and showed enough of his ability at the scouting combine to create some buzz. So while teams like the Chargers and Dolphins have more immediate needs at quarterback, it’s not surprising that clubs like the Colts and the Packers would be taking a look as well, as they could have Love learn from their current starters while he continues to refine his game. Indeed, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Green Bay had planned to host Love and most of this year’s top QB prospects at its facility before pre-draft visits were cancelled (Twitter link). Of course, the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still playing at a high level, so if Love falls to them, perhaps they could make a similar move.

The Saints’ involvement is somewhat surprising since we heard last month that New Orleans was not interested in Love. But while the team holds Taysom Hill in high regard and views him as the heir to Drew Brees, the fact remains that Hill will be 30 in August and has thrown 13 passes in his professional career, so a little due diligence couldn’t hurt.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are reportedly very high on Love. While Miami’s dream scenario remains one in which it acquires the No. 1 overall pick from Cincinnati to select Joe Burrow, the ‘Fins will definitely walk away from the draft with a high-end signal-caller in tow.

Love looked like such a player in 2018 by throwing 32 touchdowns against six interceptions. Unfortunately, his arm strength and stature didn’t yield the same results last year, as he had 20 TDs against 17 INTs while playing with a lesser supporting cast. But plenty of QBs have had disappointing final seasons in college and have gone on to do big things in the pros, and apparently a number of teams believe Love can do just that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Restructure Rodney Hudson’s Deal

The Raiders have some extra room to work with in 2020, thanks to Rodney Hudson. On Wednesday, the center agreed to convert $11.6MM of his base salary into a completely guaranteed roster bonus to carve out $9.28MM in additional space, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets

As part of the revised deal, Hudson will add two void years to his deal. In essence, this changes very little for the multiple time Pro Bowler while allowing the Raiders to kick the can down the road a bit with regards to the salary cap. Hudson’s deal – the “real” part of it – runs through 2022.

After spending his first four seasons with the Chiefs, Hudson joined the Raiders on a five-year, $44.5MM free agent deal in 2015. Last summer, he inked a three-year, ~$34MM extension to reset the market at his position. Since joining the Raiders, Hudson has started in all 76 of his games en route to three Pro Bowl nods. Last year, he graded out as the league’s No. 13 ranked center but he’s placed much higher in the past.

True to the Las Vegas spirit, the Raiders have already spent plenty of cash this offseason by signing free agents like linebackers Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, and edge rusher Carl Nassib. Now, they have even more coin for the later FA waves, both before and after the draft. And, as of this writing, they hold two first round picks and five of the first 91 overall picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bolts, Raiders Looking Into Justin Herbert

In the coronavirus-altered 2020 NFL landscape, teams are setting up video conferences with prospects. Two AFC West teams have scheduled chats with Justin Herbert.

The Chargers have spoken with the former Oregon quarterback, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Raiders have a FaceTime session set up with the coveted passing prospect on Monday. Teams can speak with a player for up to an hour three times a week leading up to the draft.

With limitations on how many video-chat sessions teams can conduct with prospects looser than the NFL’s usual 30-visit maximum, expect plenty of news to circulate about the top draft-eligible players’ virtual meetings. Herbert has been viewed as a top-10 player for years could require a trade-up past the Dolphins at No. 5. He has been mentioned as a Chargers target, and the Raiders have not been shy about doing due diligence on quarterbacks during Jon Gruden‘s second tenure with the franchise.

The Bolts have an interesting decision to make this offseason. After losing out on Tom Brady, they are not expected to chase another veteran. That would point to Los Angeles focusing on rookie successors to Philip Rivers with Tyrod Taylor as the bridge. However, both Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are now free agents. With the Chargers moving into a 70,000-seat stadium after a less-than-ideal L.A. introduction in a 30,000-seat venue, the team pursuing Newton would certainly raise its profile.

A Newton signing, however, would be costlier than the Bolts going with a Taylor bridge setup. Taylor has not been a full-time starter since 2017. The Bolts have also curiously added three high-profile 30-something free agents — Chris Harris, Bryan Bulaga, Linval Joseph — and their roster does not give off a rebuilding vibe. Their move at No. 6 overall will be one of the most interesting parts of the draft.

The Raiders signed Marcus Mariota to compete with Derek Carr. This would not prevent Gruden from selecting another quarterback, but Las Vegas would likely have to trade up to land Herbert. The Raiders have picks at No. 12 and No. 18. While Herbert likely will not be the only member of this year’s quarterback class the Raiders are connected to, they may well pop up on the QB-seeking radar before next year’s draft as well given their 2020 circumstances.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brandin Cooks Not On Trade Block?

The Rams have made some notable changes this offseason, with Todd Gurley‘s release being the biggest move from a team with some major questions atop its payroll. Brandin Cooks represents one of the big contracts on Los Angeles’ cap sheet, and a report earlier this month indicated the team was shopping him.

That no longer appears to be the case. The Rams do not have Cooks on the trade block, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Considering Cooks’ concussion-marred 2020 and $12MM in guarantees due this season, this makes sense. The Rams would not be expected to collect full value for the twice-traded wideout, who is signed through 2023.

Cooks’ 1,000-yard streak stopped at four. In a down year for the Rams’ offense, the 26-year-old target only produced 582 yards in 14 games. Cutting Cooks would not be a realistic move for the Rams, who already ate considerable dead money from the Gurley release. Were Cooks to be shopped, King lists the Eagles, Packers, Raiders or Redskins as potential suitors.

Los Angeles still has Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Woods, however, has outplayed his five-year, $34MM contract and Kupp is going into a contract year. Neither is in Cooks’ NFL tax bracket, but both outplayed him last season. Each surpassed 1,100 receiving yards in 2019. The former Saints and Patriots wideout, however, totaled a career-high 1,204 receiving yards in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders LS Trent Sieg Signs ERFA Tender

As expected, Trent Sieg will return to the Raiders next season. The long snapper signed his tender with the organization on Friday. The Raiders had tendered the exclusive rights free agent earlier this month.

The former undrafted free agent out of Colorado State initially joined the Ravens out of college, but he was cut at the end of the 2018 preseason. When Andrew DePaola was injured several weeks later, the Raiders brought on Sieg.

The 24-year-old hasn’t missed a game since that time, as he’s appeared in all 31 of the Raiders regular season contests.

The Raiders also announced that several of their free agent signings are official, including linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, safety Jeff Heath, and defensive end Carl Nassib.

Contract Details: Anderson, Pennel, Alexander

A handful of contract details to pass along:

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/26/20

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: LS Nick Moore

Cleveland Browns

Detroit News

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: LB Christian Kuntz

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/25/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

 

Raiders To Use Agholor As Punt Returner?

  • The Raiders are likely to use Nelson Agholor as their punt returner, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). While Agholor has only returned three punts in five NFL seasons, he was an accomplished return man at USC. He totaled four punt-return touchdowns between his sophomore and junior years with the Trojans. The Raiders traded for Trevor Davis to return punts last year but waived him later in 2019.

Contract Details: Brees, Mariota, Apple

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Raiders): Two years, $17.6MM $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.4MM in incentives available in 2020 (60% snaps). $1.5MM in playtime and win incentives. $10MM in similar incentives available in 2021. $2MM in playoff/Super Bowl wins each year. $12MM 2021 salary escalator (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).
  • Eli Apple, QB (Raiders): One year, $6MM. Fully guaranteed. $500K available via incentives (Twitter link via Garafolo.
  • Pierre Desir, CB (Jets): One year, ~$3.75MM. Max value of $5.5MM via incentives (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
  • Chad Henne, QB (Chiefs): Two years, $3.25MM. $2MM guaranteed. Max value of $7.25MM (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • Nelson Agholor, WR (Raiders): One year, veteran salary benefit. $887K guaranteed. $137K signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

NFC

  • Drew Brees, QB (Saints): Four years, $100MM. $25MM guaranteed. Void years used in 2022-23. Brees receives no-trade clause and no franchise/transition tag can be used after 2021 (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jalen Mills, DB (Eagles): One, $4MM. Up to $1MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio).
  • Thomas Davis, LB (Redskins): One year, $3.5MM. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Shon Coleman, T (49ers): One year, $2.2MM. $1.37MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Miles Killebrew, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. $1.137MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jayron Kearse, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. Up to $1.25MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Pharoh Cooper, WR (Panthers): One year, $1.21MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).