Raiders Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/18/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Signed off Patriots’ practice squad: T Eric Smith

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Raiders To Place G Gabe Jackson On IR

Gabe Jackson‘s fifth NFL season will come to a close early. The Raiders will place the veteran guard on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Battling an elbow injury, Jackson missed last week’s Raiders game and will now miss their final two. Prior to last week, Jackson had only missed four games in five seasons.

The former second-round pick-turned-interior-line anchor joins tackle Donald Penn on IR. Both players comprised what was long the Raiders’ best unit, with Jackson (signed to a five-year, $55MM contract) being a key component of Oakland’s front, despite not receiving the Pro Bowl accolades Penn, Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele have.

Reggie McKenzie‘s method of structuring contracts leaves the Raiders an out if the now-Jon Gruden-led organization would like to move on from another of the since-fired GM’s deals. However, the 27-year-old blocker would not seem like a release candidate — even for a franchise that has gutted most of the previous regime’s work. Four years remain on Jackson’s deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Playing 2019 In Oakland Still An Option

Last week’s lawsuit placed the Raiders in a strange situation as what was expected to be their penultimate Oakland season wraps up.

They are considering several cities to be their 2019 home, but Oakland may still be an option, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The lawsuit’s timing appears to be a key factor in this process.

The Raiders will face significant backlash from the NFL if they cannot arrive at a solution by Super Bowl LIII, La Canfora reports, with marketing, stadium availability dates and the compilation of the 2019 schedule representing key issues for the league regarding the Raiders. The team will also need NFL approval to leave Oakland for another city next season.

Mark Davis previously expressed little interest in sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but JLC adds there is a “strong sense” at the league office the Bay Area will be the best option for the 2019 Raiders. Some NFL executives believe that would be the best solution — that, or the Raiders playing at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where Major League Baseball’s Giants play.

If the Raiders would be interested in playing at the 49ers’ Santa Clara, Calif., stadium, the 49ers would welcome them, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Reiterating a possible option being San Diego, Rapoport adds Cal-Berkeley is another.

No lease agreement between the Raiders and the city of Oakland exists for 2019, and this lawsuit figures to make talks for one final lame-duck agreement difficult. Although, Davis said at last week’s owners meetings he has not ruled out one final Oakland season. This was initially the plan, prior to the lawsuit. But the team has been exploring alternatives to a 2019 Oakland season for months, JLC writes, adding that the Raiders were “stunned” by Oakland following through with its long-rumored suit.

One more home game remains on the Raiders’ schedule — a Christmas Eve Monday night clash with the Broncos — and it’s uncertain (again) if this finale will be the Raiders’ Oakland sendoff.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim Could Join Raiders In 2019

  • At the beginning of this month, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said the Cardinals were going to reassess their front office and coaching staff at the end of the season, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reaffirms that report today. JLC writes that Arizona is mulling sweeping changes, and some sources say it would be a “major surprise” if first-year head coach Steve Wilks keeps his job. The bigger question, according to those sources, is whether GM Steve Keim is retained, but if he is not, he is a strong candidate to join the Raiders‘ front office.

Raiders Likely To Cut Nelson, Roberts?

Latest On Suspended WR Martavis Bryant

We learned yesterday that Raiders wideout Martavis Bryant had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. While it was certainly possible for the 26-year-old to rehabilitate his image and return to the league, at least one individual believes the receiver has already played his final game in the NFL.

A source told FanSided.com’s Jason Cole that he doesn’t believe Bryant “will ever play again” (Twitter link). This might not necessarily be attributed to teams’ lack of interest; rather, Cole says the wideout “seriously angered” the NFL during the process. Bryant had previously been fighting a substance abuse suspension, but a lost appeal means that he’ll be banned until further notice.

The 2014 fourth-round pick had previously served two suspensions during his stint with the Steelers: a four-game ban in 2015 and a season-long ban in 2016. He was conditionally reinstated by the league in April of 2017, and this most-recent ban was attributed to “violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement” (via NFL.com’s Austin Knoblauch).

The Raiders sent Pittsburgh a third-rounder during the draft to acquire Bryant, but the organization later learned that the wideout was facing this potential suspension. The Raiders ended up releasing the wideout at the end of the preseason, but they re-signed him to a one-year deal less than two weeks later.

Bryant was allowed to play during the appeals process, and he proceeded to play in eight games for Oakland, hauling in 19 receptions for 266 yards and no touchdowns. The team placed the receiver on the injured reserve in early December after he suffered a knee injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Did Mark Davis Want Amari Cooper Gone?

The trade of Amari Cooper from the Raiders to the Cowboys has been one of the most discussed stories this NFL season. The conventional wisdom had been that new coach Jon Gruden wanted him gone as he sought to stockpile more draft picks to completely rebuild the Raiders the way he wanted, but new information suggests that might not be the case. Cooper himself told Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link) that it was Raiders owner Mark Davis who wanted him gone and not Gruden.

Cooper shares an agent with Khalil Mack, and rumors have swirled online for a while now that there may have been bad blood between Davis and Mack’s agent after the two sides were unable to work out a new deal for the defensive end. That being said, the notion that Davis is the one who wanted Cooper off the Raiders isn’t true, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who tweets that Cooper is misinformed. It’s unclear who’s right, but it’s likely this isn’t the last we hear of this story.

Osemele Out Against Bengals

  • The Raiders have suddenly come alive and played some good games the past few weeks, upsetting the Steelers as massive underdogs last week. But they’ll be facing a tough Bengals defensive line without at least one starter on their offensive line. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has been ruled out for the game, and right guard Gabe Jackson is questionable after not practicing all week. If Jackson can’t play either it would be a disaster scenario for the Raiders, as their top reserve guard was just placed on injured reserve.

Raiders WR Martavis Bryant Banned By NFL

Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been suspended indefinitely by NFL, according to Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter). Bryant has been fighting a substance abuse suspension for months, but a lost appeal means that he will be out of the game until further notice. 

The Raiders have feared this news for quite a while, though team execs have been mum on the subject. It’s fair to say the Raiders regret sending a third-round pick to the Steelers for Bryant earlier this year.

The Bryant trade occurred after the Raiders moved down from No. 10 for the Cardinals’ No. 15 pick, plus third- and fifth-round selections. That third-round choice was shipped to Pittsburgh, bringing Bryant to Oakland. UCLA tackle Kolton Miller has potential and may prove to be a quality first-round selection, but the Raiders effectively threw away a Top 100 selection when they acquired Bryant.

Before the deal, Bryant spent his entire four-year career with the Steelers. His tenure was tumultuous, as he missed the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The 26-year-old (27 next week) showed flashes of brilliance early on, including a rookie campaign where he caught eight touchdowns, but the red flags have been long apparent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has released its annual list of minority candidates for general manager vacancies. Much like the latest batch of recommended coaching hires, the suggested GM list is more than twice as long as last year’s. 

[RELATED: Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends Head Coaching Candidates]

Here’s the full rundown, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

  • Ray Agnew (Rams)
  • Joey Clinkscales (Raiders)
  • Quentin Harris (Cardinals)
  • Alonzo Highsmith (Browns)
  • Brad Holmes (Rams)
  • Champ Kelly (Bears)
  • Martin Mayhew (49ers, ex-Lions GM)
  • Will McClay (Cowboys)
  • Jimmy Raye III (Lions)
  • Jerry Reese (ex-Giants GM)
  • Doug Whaley (ex-Bills GM)
  • Doug Williams (Redskins)

 

Clinkscales, Highsmith, McClay, and Williams were all featured on last year’s list, but none of those executives landed GM jobs. The only executive from the last round of recommendations who did not carry over to this year was Ray Farmer, the former Browns GM who is currently serving as a senior consultant with the Rams.

Of the dozen suggested executives on this list, only three sat for GM interviews in the last cycle: Mayhew (Panthers), Raye (Texans), and Whaley (Packers). McClay was asked to interview for the Texans opening, but declined the opportunity and instead signed a two-year extension to stay with the Cowboys. McClay may garner consideration again this time around, but he might not be interested in leaving Dallas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.