Raiders Rumors

Trent Brown Set To Return To Practice

Trent Brown has played just 73 offensive snaps in his second Raiders season, but the Pro Bowl right tackle may be on the verge of suiting up again.

The sixth-year blocker is set to resuming practicing next week, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. An injury initially sidelined Brown, but coronavirus complications have shelved the mammoth offensive lineman for the past several weeks.

Brown, whose positive COVID-19 test led to the rest of the Raiders starting O-line missing a full week of practice in Week 7, was on the verge of returning from his bout with the virus in Week 8 against the Browns. But an IV mishap led to the 380-pound lineman being hospitalized. Brown passed out at the hospital, according to Tafur (subscription required).

It is not certain what exactly transpired with Brown in Cleveland, but he wound up back on Las Vegas’ reserve/COVID-19 list days later. Brown has missed most of this season, and Tafur cautions that he is believed to be two or three weeks away from playing in a game again. Though, it is certainly a positive development Brown is on track to practice soon.

The NFLPA is looking into the Brown IV incident, Tafur adds, but no grievance has surfaced. Brown is in the second season of a four-year, $66MM contract — a tackle-record deal at the time of signing. The Raiders have been without he and former Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito for most of the season, with the latter requiring foot surgery after going down in September. Las Vegas’ rushing attack still ranks seventh, but the group would obviously stand to improve with Brown anchoring its right edge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Place Takk McKinley On IR

Takkarist McKinley‘s busy month of transactions continued Friday. The Raiders are placing the recently acquired defensive end on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This move comes after the Raiders submitted a third waiver claim for McKinley. After watching the Bengals and 49ers send him back to waivers following failed physicals, the Raiders will work around that process by placing the pass rusher on IR.

McKinley is dealing with a groin injury, but the Raiders are clearly high on the former first-round pick. They will stash him on IR for at least three games. McKinley will not be eligible to debut for Las Vegas until Week 15.

McKinley’s November has included: the Falcons shopping him, McKinley accusing the team of turning down trades, the Falcons waiving him, the Bengals claiming him and waiving him, the 49ers claiming him and waiving him, and the Raiders claiming him. The Raiders and Browns each submitted three waiver claims for McKinley. After Sunday night’s loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders held a higher waiver priority.

Despite Takk’s rookie deal expiring at season’s end, the Raiders are in need of pass-rushing help. He will now profile as a hopeful mid-December boost for the AFC playoff contenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Williams, Browns

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL took the Ravens-Steelers rematch off its Thanksgiving schedule. That game is now on tap for 12:15pm CT Sunday. More is emerging on why the Steelers will see another of their games delayed. The Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach for “conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff.” The Ravens are levying the discipline because the unnamed staffer did not report symptoms or consistently wear a mask or a contact tracing device, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This is believed to have contributed to the Ravens’ outbreak — one that comes nearly two months after a Titans outbreak altered the Steelers’ schedule. Seven Ravens players and at least five staffers have tested positive for COVID. This will not only weaken Baltimore against Pittsburgh but potentially deplete team’s roster for its Week 13 Thursday game against Dallas.

Several teams shuffled their rosters because of COVID on Wednesday. Here is the latest:

  • 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter). A cancer survivor, Williams has not experienced issues with the virus yet, Graziano tweets. Williams, who landed on the 49ers’ COVID list earlier this month as a high-risk close contact, is on track to miss San Francisco’s Week 12 game in Los Angeles.
  • Six players remain on San Francisco’s virus list. The 49ers removed Arik Armstead and center Hroniss Grasu on Wednesday.
  • Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki tested positive Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter). Takitaki played against the Eagles and returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cleveland starting linebacker’s positive test follows Myles Garrett‘s. Neither they nor Denzel Ward (injury) will be available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. The Browns closed their facility Wednesday, but their Jags game remains on schedule.
  • The Bengals placed wide receiver Auden Tate and recently acquired offensive lineman B.J. Finney on their reserve/COVID-19 list. Cincinnati has seen staffers test positive, with D-line coach Nick Eason being the most recent. Eason was alerted of his positive test Tuesday. The Bengals now have five players on their reserve/COVID list.
  • Christian Wilkins is off the Dolphins‘ COVID list. Wilkins was not reported to have tested positive, but the second-year defensive lineman still missed two games after landing on the team’s virus list.
  • The Raiders activated Cory Littleton from their COVID list. The high-profile free agent addition has been out for two weeks due to a positive coronavirus test. Las Vegas’ defense remains shorthanded due to virus issues, with Clelin Ferrell testing positive last week and Lamarcus Joyner missing Sunday’s Chiefs game because of his status as a close contact.
  • Dante Fowler also tested positive two weeks ago and missed the Falcons‘ Week 11 game, but the big-ticket free agent addition is off the list now and on course to return to Atlanta’s lineup Sunday.
  • The Vikings and Chargers also removed players from their respective virus lists Wednesday. Minnesota activated guard Dru Samia; Los Angeles activated cornerback Brandon Facyson.

Browns Made Claim On Takkarist McKinley

  • The Raiders claimed defensive end Takkarist McKinley off waivers today, but they weren’t the only team to place a claim on the embattled lineman. Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Browns also made a claim on McKinley. Of course, considering the 25-year-old has failed a pair of physicals and been waived twice over the past few weeks, there’s a chance Cleveland could get another shot.

Richie Incognito Won’t Return This Season

Richie Incognito is done for the year. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden revealed today that the offensive lineman underwent “season-ending foot surgery” (per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez).

Incognito landed on IR in late September after suffering an Achilles injury. The veteran avoided a tear, so there was some optimism he’d return to the lineup once his stay on the IR ended. Instead, the 37-year-old decided to go under the knife.

“I hate to admit that, but we’ve tried everything we can,” Gruden said. “Richie’s tried everything he can to get back on the field. His season is over.”

The Raiders took a risk on the polarizing Incognito last offseason, and Incognito’s impressive performance ultimately earned him a two-year $14MM extension. As Gutierrez points out, the organization has only seen three snaps from their pricey offensive line grouping (which also includes Kolton Miller, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown).

Fortunately, the Raiders have received solid production from Incognito’s backup, Denzelle Good. Gruden referred to the former seventh-rounder as the team’s “unsung hero,” while quarterback Derek Carr declared him the team MVP (per Gutierrez).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/23/20

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Las Vegas Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Raiders Add Vic Beasley To Practice Squad

The Raiders are stocking up on former Falcons notables. In addition to adding Takkarist McKinley, the Raiders will also sign edge rusher Vic Beasley, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). While McKinley seems ticketed for the active roster, Beasley will head to the practice squad.

Despite signing Beasley to a one-year, $9.5MM deal this offseason, the Titans cut ties with him earlier this month. The former first-round pick showed up late to camp, clashed with team brass, and failed to record a single sack as a Titan. While he saw his playing time gradually increase throughout the season, Beasley still mostly produced in a platoon role, finishing with three tackles and one forced fumble in five games.

Despite the underwhelming performance in Tennessee, this represents the ultimate low-risk, high-reward scenario for Jon Gruden & Co. After all, he’s not that far removed from 2016, when he notched 15.5 sacks en route to a 2016 All-Pro selection. He also managed eight sacks in 2019 — good enough to land that ill-fated platform deal in Tennessee. For reference, the Raiders have the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (11), and the rank in the bottom 10 in QB hits, tackles for loss, and sack percentage.

Just moments ago, the Raiders claimed McKinley off waivers from the 49ers. Assuming the defensive end passes his physical (which is a big assumption, considering his failed physicals with the Bengals and 49ers), the 25-year-old should get a spot on the active roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Claim DE Takk McKinley

The Raiders have claimed defensive end Takkarist McKinley off waivers, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This marks McKinley’s fourth NFL team this month. After he was dropped by the Falcons, he failed physicals with both the Bengals and 49ers.

The Niners were still said to be interested in the former-first rounder, but they couldn’t find room for him on the active roster while he nurses a groin injury. McKinley has 17.5 career sacks to his credit, though just one of those have come in 2020. The UCLA product has had an up-and-down career as a pro. He registered 13 sacks over his first two seasons but, since 2019, he’s logged just 4.5 in total.

There’s plenty for Jon Gruden and the Raiders to like about him still, especially since he notched seven QB hits in just 85 snaps for the Falcons this year. As a team, the Raiders have collected only 46 QB hits, which is a bottom-10 mark this season.

Maxx Crosby and Arden Key are currently slotted in as the Raiders’ starting defensive ends. McKinley will likely have to battle with several other veterans for playing time, a grouping that includes Carl Nassib and practice squad players Chris Smith and David Irving.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lamarcus Joyner Back On Reserve/COVID-List

The Raiders activated CB Lamarcus Joyner from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, but as Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports, Las Vegas has put Joyner back on the list today (Twitter link). As such, Joyner will miss tonight’s matchup with the Chiefs.

Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell recently tested positive for the coronavirus, and as a close contact of Ferrell, Joyner — along with a whole host of other players — landed on the reserve-COVID-19 list earlier this week. All of those other players came off the list yesterday and remain on track to play.

It’s unclear whether Joyner himself has contracted the virus, but regardless, the Raiders will be without their primary slot corner as they attempt to put a lid on the Chiefs’ high-flying offense. Of course, Las Vegas is responsible for Kansas City’s only loss this season, but the club had to prepare for this game with most of its starting defense participating remotely.

Joyner, who is in his second year with the Raiders, has not been great this season, as Pro Football Focus regards him as a middling performer in terms of coverage and as the 85th-best corner out of 119 eligible players. Still, the club ranks in the bottom third of the league in passing yards allowed per game, and losing a veteran like Joyner is never a good thing.

Joyner has compiled 46 tackles and three passes defensed this season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/21/20

Here is Saturday’s usual flood of minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team