Arden Key

AFC South Notes: Titans, Simmons, Key

The Titans struggled to develop a consistent passing game in 2022, as they tried to fill the void left by the A.J. Brown trade. Their shortcomings in that department have led to the expectation that moves at the receiver position will be made this offseason, though little has taken place so far.

Tennessee lost Robert Woods on an intra-divisional deal with the Texans after releasing the veteran amidst a slew of cost-cutting moves. They have re-signed Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on a one-year contract, but have yet to make a decision on depth contributors Chris Conley, C.J. Board and Cody Hollister. No outside additions have been made after the first few waves of the free agent period.

“We are going to look to address it,” new GM Ran Carthon recently said of the need for new pass-catchers. “We are not trying to fill everything via free agency, but if that’s where the best option comes from, we’ll address it that way. We just have to be patient, and exercise patience and allow that to come to fruition.”

Those remarks – along with the Titans’ lack of action so far – point to the draft being the source of additions to their receiving corps. The team used a Day 1 pick on Treylon Burks last year after dealing Brown to the Eagles, but they will have plenty of options this year (headlined in most evaluations by Jaxon Smith-Njigba) with the No. 11 pick. Tennessee also has a second- and third-rounder as part of their draft capital.

Here are some other AFC South notes, starting with one more out of Nashville:

  • Tennessee has been in talks on a new deal for defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. That comes as little surprise, since he is set to play on the fifth-year option in 2023 ($10.75MM), but represents an obvious priority from a finanal standpoint. The 25-year-old put together another highly productive season in 2022, earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors for the second straight year. Simmons has made clear his intention to remain with the team long-term, something which will no doubt require a hugely lucrative multi-year deal.
  • Defensive end Arden Key spent the 2022 season in Jacksonville, and put up the second most productive season of his career (27 tackles, 4.5 sacks). The Jaguars felt they would be able to re-up the veteran, as noted by ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, something which would have allowed the team to retain useful edge rushing depth. Instead, Key signed a three-year, $21MM deal in Tennessee last month, leaving the Jaguars in need of either a less costly free agent addition or a draft pick to replace him.

Titans To Sign DL Arden Key

Arden Key has parlayed a one-year, prove-it deal into a multiyear contract. The defensive lineman is signing with the Titans, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter).

Key is inking a three-year deal worth $21MM, per Garafolo. The contract has the potential to hit $24MM in value and includes $13MM in guaranteed money.

The former third-round pick showed hints of his talent during his time with the Raiders, but he truly showed his stuff with the 49ers in 2021. Key got into all 17 games that season, finishing with 6.5 sacks and 17 QB hits. Considering his limited track record, Key was only able to get a one-year deal from the Jaguars last offseason.

He continued building off that 2021 campaign. In 17 games (three starts) with Jacksonville this past year, Key compiled a career-high 27 tackles to go along with 4.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, and 15 QB hits. He finished the campaign as Pro Football Focus’ 28th edge defender (among 119 qualifying players), the second-straight season he’s finished as a top-40 edge.

In Tennessee, Key will be expected to provide some pass-rushing prowess on the defensive line. New Titans GM Ran Carthon was the 49ers’ director of pro personnel when Key had his breakout season, so he’s certainly familiar with the player’s potential.

2023 Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Super Bowl LVII provided the latest example of the value free agency can bring. The Chiefs revamped their receiving corps on last year’s market, while the Eagles acquired three defensive starters — including sack leader Haason Reddick. The Jaguars also used a March 2022 splurge to ignite their surprising surge to the divisional round.

Beginning with the legal tampering period, which starts at 3pm CT on Monday, and continuing with the official start to free agency (3pm Wednesday), the next several days represent a highlight on the NFL calendar. Which teams will change their 2023 outlooks for the better next week?

While the 2023 free agent class has absorbed its share of body blows and indeed lacks depth at certain spots, a few positions will bring waves of starter-level talent. Right tackle will invite some big-money decisions, and the safety and off-ball linebacker positions feature considerable depth. A few ascending talents and hidden gems appear in this class as well.

This list ranks free agents by earning potential. In terms of accomplishments, Bobby Wagner, Fletcher Cox and Lavonte David would lap most of the players included here. With each defender going into his age-33 season, however, the standouts’ ability to command big contracts is certainly not what it once was.

In terms of possible destinations, not every team is represented equally. Some teams will bring more needs and cap space into this year’s marketplace than others. With some help from Adam La Rose, here is this year’s PFR top 50 free agents list, along with potential landing spots for each player.

1. Orlando Brown Jr., T. Age in Week 1: 27

As the 49ers did two years ago with Trent Williams, the Chiefs will let Brown hit the market. This could end up benefiting the veteran tackle, who was offered a deal with an average annual value north of Williams’ tackle-record $23MM per year before last July’s franchise tag deadline. Citing insufficient guarantees, Brown turned it down. Kansas City’s offer did contain a bloated final year to bump up the AAV to $23.1MM, but will Brown – a quality left tackle but not a top-shelf option at the position – do as well this year? He will soon find out.

Brown has now made four Pro Bowls and carries positional versatility that would intrigue were he open to a return to right tackle, which by all accounts he is not. The 363-pound blocker can struggle against speed-rusher types, but he is set to be the rare accomplished left tackle in his prime to hit the market. The Chiefs sent a package including a first-round pick to the Ravens for Brown, whose bet on himself led to a $16.6MM tag and an open market. The bidding will run high, though it might not reach the places the Williams pursuit did in 2021.

The Chiefs’ exclusive negotiating rights with Brown end March 13; they have had nearly two years to complete a deal. The market will determine if the league views the sixth-year blocker as an elite-level left tackle or merely a good one. Then again, bidding wars drive up the prices for O-linemen on the market. O-line salary records have fallen four times (Williams, Corey Linsley, Joe Thuney, Brandon Scherff) in free agency since 2021. This foray could give Brown the guaranteed money he seeks, and it puts the Chiefs at risk of seeing their two-year left tackle depart. The Ravens also passed on this payment back in 2021, in part because they already had Ronnie Stanley on the payroll.

The defending champions have Brown and right tackle Andrew Wylie eligible for free agency; some of their leftover funds from the Tyreek Hill trade went to Brown’s tag. Although some among the Chiefs were frustrated Brown passed on last year’s offer, the team will be hurting at a premium position if he walks. Given the importance the blindside position carries, fewer teams are in need compared to right tackle. The Titans losing Taylor Lewan and continuing to clear cap space could point to a run at Brown, though the team has a few needs up front. The Jets likely have needs at both tackle spots. Would the Bears relocate Braxton Jones to the right side? Ryan Poles was with the Chiefs when they traded for Brown, and the Bears could outmuscle anyone for cap space.

Best fits: Titans, Chiefs, Commanders

2. Mike McGlinchey, T. Age in Week 1: 28

Teams in need of right tackles will participate in one of the more interesting markets in recent memory. Above-average-to-good offensive linemen do well in free agency annually, and this year will send three experienced right tackles in their prime to the market. A five-year starter in San Francisco and former top-10 pick, McGlinchey has a good case as the best of this lot. The five-year vet’s run-blocking craft eclipses his pass-protection chops exiting Year 5, but he will walk into a competitive market. The former Notre Dame left tackle should have a lucrative deal in place during next week’s legal tampering period.

Although mutual interest existed regarding a second 49ers-McGlinchey agreement, John Lynch acknowledged the only viable path for McGlinchey to stay in San Francisco would be his market underwhelming. That seems unlikely, so right tackle-seeking teams – and there are a handful – will jockey for the sixth-year veteran. McGlinchey turned 28 in January, making this his obvious window to cash in. He rated fifth in ESPN’s run block win rate stat last season, bouncing back from the quadriceps injury that ended his 2021 season.

There is no shortage of Kyle Shanahan– or Sean McVay-influenced schemes around the league. The Bears employ Luke Getsy as their play-caller; Getsy worked for Shanahan/McVay tree branch Matt LaFleur, and the Bears’ cap space dwarfs every other team’s. After fielding a shaky O-line (on a team full of substandard position groups), Chicago needs a better idea of Justin Fields’ trajectory. Outbidding the field for the top right tackle available is a good start. The Patriots want a right tackle – on a line without a big contract presently – and the Raiders might have a say here as well. In need at multiple O-line spots, Las Vegas will have cash as well if it passes on a big QB investment.

Best fits: Bears, Patriots, Raiders

3. Jawann Taylor, T. Age in Week 1: 26

As expected, the Jaguars took Evan Engram off the market via the franchise tag. The tight end tag being $7MM cheaper than the $18.2MM offensive lineman tag always pointed Taylor toward free agency, and after never missing a start in four Duval County seasons, Taylor will be tough for the Jags to retain. They already drafted Walker Little in the 2021 second round, and no team that is currently paying a left tackle top-10 money (Cam Robinson is seventh) has a top-10 right tackle contract on the books. Taylor is expected to land at least a top-10 right tackle deal, with a $17MM-AAV figure being floated. That would place the former Florida Gator in the top five at the position, depending on how McGlinchey fares next week.

Taylor resembles the genre of player that usually populates the top of a position’s free agency market: a dependable performer who checks in below the top tier at his job. Taylor enjoyed his strongest year in his platform campaign. The former second-round pick dropped his hold count from 11 in 2021 to two in 2022. While PFF charged Taylor with five sacks allowed, Football Outsiders measured his blown-block rate at a career-low 1.3%. Offering a disparate skillset compared to McGlinchey, Taylor has fared better as a pass protector than in the run game. PFF slotted him as a top-10 pass protector among right tackles but viewed him as a dismal run-blocker.

The Jags have presumably made Taylor an offer, but other teams will probably top it. The Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a five-year, $75MM deal in 2022 but have needed a right tackle ever since Ja’Wuan James’ 2019 exit. They were forced to start in-season pickup Brandon Shell for much of the year and have cleared more than $45MM in cap space over the past two days. The team just picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option, and the league’s lone southpaw starting QB needs better blindside protection after a season in which he suffered at least two concussions. Overspending on O-linemen is not the Patriots’ M.O., but they have a need at right tackle and do not have big dollars devoted to quarterback or any position up front. New England is on the hunt for a right tackle upgrade, and the team’s 2021 free agency showed it would spend when it deemed expenditures necessary.

Best fits: Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars

4. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Age in Week 1: 31

The quarterback market cleared up this week, seeing Geno Smith and Daniel Jones extended and Derek Carr’s lengthy street free agency stretch end with $70MM in practical guarantees. Garoppolo’s injury history will affect his value, but teams kind of make it a priority to staff this position. The former Super Bowl starter is in his prime and on the market for the first time. How high this market goes will depend on what the Raiders want and what Aaron Rodgers decides.

The 49ers’ 12-game win streak that included Brock Purdy’s stunning displays began with Garoppolo at the controls. Guiding San Francisco to four straight wins, Garoppolo was at or close to his best when he suffered a broken foot in Week 13. He sported a 7-0 TD-INT ratio during that win streak and closed the season 16th in QBR. He would have walked into a better market had the injury not occurred; the setback came after a string of health issues. He tore an ACL in 2018, missed 10 games in 2020 after an ankle sprain and was significantly limited by the end of the 2021 slate due to a three-injury season. Garoppolo’s March 2022 shoulder surgery hijacked his trade market.

Ideally for Garoppolo, Rodgers returns to Green Bay or retires. While that is looking unlikelier by the day, it would put the Jets in a desperate position following Carr’s decision. The Raiders represent the other wild card. Garoppolo would slide into Josh McDaniels’ system seamlessly, given the parties’ three-plus years together in New England. The Raiders have operated a bit more stealthily compared to the Jets; they have been connected to Rodgers, Garoppolo and rolling with a rookie. Plan C here would be a tough sell given the presences of 30-year-old skill-position players Davante Adams and Darren Waller, but Las Vegas’ plans cloud Garoppolo’s market. If the Raiders pass and Rodgers chooses the Jets, Garoppolo’s earning power could drop.

McDaniels not fancying a Garoppolo reunion opens the door for the Texans, who hired ex-49ers pass-game coordinator Bobby Slowik as OC, and others. Houston’s situation may not appeal to Garoppolo, but Slowik and Nick Caserio being in Houston make this connection too clear to ignore. The Buccaneers and Commanders are in win-now positions but are giving indications they do not want to spend much at QB. The Commanders were deep in talks for the then-49ers QB last year, however. Garoppolo will test those squads, along with the Falcons, who are entering Year 3 of the Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime. The Panthers’ acquisition of the No. 1 pick likely takes them out of the running, and Carolina not being in the mix could also affect how high the Garoppolo price goes.

Bottom line, there should be enough teams interested in staffing their 2023 QB1 spots that the best free agent option should do OK no matter what happens with Rodgers.

Best fits: Raiders, Texans, Commanders

5. Jamel Dean, CB. Age in Week 1: 26

The Buccaneers retained Carlton Davis last year, but their dire cap situation should force a Dean departure. Dean’s age/performance combination should make him this year’s top cornerback available. With corner a position of need for many teams, the former third-round pick stands to do very well. Dean has only been a full-time starter in one season, however, seeing his defensive snap share jump from 67% in 2021 to 90% last season.

Excelling in press coverage, Dean played a major role for the 2020 Super Bowl champion Bucs iteration and overtook fellow free agent Sean Murphy-Bunting last year. Dean did perform better in 2021 compared to 2022, allowing no touchdowns and limiting QBs to a collective 50.0 passer rating; those numbers shot up to four and 86.0 last season. Still, PFF rated Dean as last year’s 10th-best corner. J.C. Jackson did not break into the top five among corners upon hitting the market last year; Dean should not be expected to do so, either. But many teams will be interested.

The Patriots have paid up for a corner previously, in Stephon Gilmore (2017), but Jonathan Jones – forced to primarily play a boundary role in 2022 – wants to re-sign and will be far cheaper than Dean. The Falcons need help opposite AJ Terrell and trail only the Bears in cap space. Although a Terrell payment is coming, it can be tabled to 2024 due to the fifth-year option. The Dolphins are clearing cap space and now have a corner need, with Byron Jones no longer with the team after his missed season.

Best fits: Dolphins, Falcons, Patriots

6. Jessie Bates, S. Age in Week 1: 26

Bates stands to be one of this free agency crop’s safest bets, combining extensive experience – the final two years as a pillar for a championship threat – with a host of prime years remaining. Beginning his career at 21, the Wake Forest product has started 79 games and anchored the Bengals’ secondary for most of his tenure. The Bengals did not tag Bates for a second time, passing on a $15.5MM price. With the team planning to let Bates test the market, it looks like the sixth-year defender will leave Cincinnati.

The Bengals and Bates went through two offseasons of negotiations, ending in the 2022 tag. The Bengals have some big payments to make at higher-profile positions. Safety does not qualify as such, but Bates has been a cornerstone in Lou Anarumo’s defense and will be handsomely rewarded. Bates finished as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 overall safety in 2020 and, after a shakier 2021 in which he admitted his contract situation affected his play, Bates came through with impact plays in the postseason. He graded as a top-25 safety, via PFF, in 2022.

Safety is one of this year’s deeper positions in free agency. Of the top 10 safety contracts, however, only one went to a free agent (Marcus Williams in 2022). Bates should be expected to join the Ravens defender, who signed for $14MM per year. It will be interesting if he can climb into the top five at the position; Justin Simmons’ $15.25MM-AAV accord sits fifth. Bates should be expected to approach or eclipse that, though moving to the Derwin JamesMinkah Fitzpatrick tier will be more difficult. Still, after the Bengals offered Bates less than $17MM guaranteed last summer, he should depart for more guaranteed money.

The Browns are interested in Bates, who will cost more than John Johnson cost Cleveland two years ago (three years, $33.75MM). Clear of the record-setting Matt Ryan dead-money hit, the Falcons have cash to spend and a Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime entering Year 3. The Falcons need to make progress, and they do not have much in the way of talent or costs at safety. The team has not featured much here since the Keanu NealRicardo Allen tandem splintered. Bates would be a way to remedy that.

Team fits: Falcons, Browns, Raiders

Read more

Contract Details: Howard, Trubisky, Key, Jones

Here are some details on deals recently reached around the NFL:

  • Xavien Howard, CB (Dolphins): Five-year, $90MM. The contract, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, has a guaranteed amount of $36.3MM consisting of a $17.12MM signing bonus and the next two seasons of base salary worth just $1.04MM in 2022 and jumping to $18.15MM in 2023. On the third league day of the 2024 season, $4MM of the 2024 base salary (worth $15.4MM) becomes guaranteed. Howard will receive roster bonuses of $3MM on the second league day of each of the 2024, 2025, and 2026 seasons. He also will receive an additional $1MM for each Pro Bowl and 1st-Team All-Pro selection and $100,000 per year as a workout bonus. Howard had three years remaining on his deal before signing his extension. It’s extremely rare for a team to draw up a new deal with that much time remaining, but Miami’s willingness to keep Howard happy is a testament to how important he is to the franchise.
  • Mitchell Trubisky, QB (Steelers): Two-year, $14.29MM. The contract, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, has a signing bonus of $5.25MM set to apply evenly over both years of the deal. Trubisky’s base salary in 2022 is only $1.04MM and jumps up to $8MM in 2023. The deal holds a potential $8.5MM in incentives. $4MM of play-time incentives each year should be easily reached if Trubisky wins the starting job and stays healthy. The remaining $500,000 would be earned in $250,000 increments if Trubisky makes the Pro Bowl in either year.
  • Arden Key, DE (Jaguars): One-year, $4MM. The contract, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, has a guaranteed amount of $3MM consisting of the signing bonus and base salary, each worth $1.5MM. The remaining $1MM comes in the form of a $500,000 roster bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus. Key will receive a per game active bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. Wilson also reports that Key can earn up to $3MM of additional money in sack and Pro Bowl incentives.
  • Ronald Jones, RB (Chiefs): One-year, $1.5MM. The contract, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, consists of a $250,000 signing bonus and a $1.25MM base salary. The deal was originally reported as “up to $5MM”, but Auman clarifies that any money past the listed $1.5MM would consist of incentives.

Jaguars Sign Arden Key

On Wednesday, the Jaguars announced the signing of Arden Key. The defensive end will receive a one-year deal that could be worth up to $7MM (Twitter link via’s Mike Garafolo).

Key has always been viewed as an elite talent, dating back to his college days. Once considered a first-round prospect, Key fell to the Raiders in the third round of the 2018 draft. He didn’t shine with his original team, but he seemed to put it all together with the 49ers in his platform year. After notching 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits, his career year led to a strong free agent market.

The Lions, Ravens, and Chiefs all looked into Key, but the Jaguars seem to have come away with the winning bid. The Niners, meanwhile, will be leaning more on Kerry Hyder for quarterback pressure.

The Jaguars could still look to add more pass rushers in the draft, but Key figures to be an important part of the edge rotation no matter what. It’s a huge step up for Key, who looked to be trending in the wrong direction as recently as 2020. In that year with the Raiders, Key played on roughly 40% of the defensive snaps but couldn’t manage a single sack.

It’s worth noting that another strong season could position Key for a much larger payday next year, especially since he won’t turn 26 until May.

Chiefs To Meet With DE Arden Key

Former Raiders and 49ers defensive end Arden Key has generated extensive interest this offseason. He is set to make the Chiefs his latest visit, Field Yates of tweets.

The Chiefs and Key will huddle up Friday. Kansas City has a need opposite Frank Clark, who has not lived up to expectations since the Chiefs’ 2019 trade, and the team might face the prospect of its top defensive end being suspended in connection with his two gun-related arrests last year.

[RELATED: Chiefs, Clark Agree On Reworked Deal]

Once a first-round prospect, Key fell to Round 3 in 2018 and did not produce consistently for the Raiders. With the 49ers, however, the LSU product delivered an interesting contract year. He finished with 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits — far and away career-high marks — and that has led to offseason interest. The Lions, Ravens and Jaguars have met with Key since free agency opened last week. The 49ers brought back Kerry Hyder, who played a similar role to Key for their 2020 team, providing an indication Key will soon commit to another team.

Kansas City traded for Melvin Ingram and saw the ex-Charger Pro Bowler do well to stabilize its pass rush, allowing the team to end its misbegotten Chris Jones-at-defensive end experiment. Ingram’s supplementary impact aside, the Chiefs still ranked 29th in sacks last season. Ingram is a free agent. Given Clark’s inconsistency and potential availability issues, the team certainly needs help on the edge.

Ravens Meeting With Arden Key

The Arden Key tour continues. On Wednesday, the free agent defensive end will meet with the Ravens (Twitter link via’s Mike Garafolo). 

[RELATED: Ravens To Meet With R. Green]

Key, a 2018 third-round pick of the Raiders, spent three seasons with his original team, starting in ten of his 37 games. He fell out of favor over time, however, and wound up getting released last year Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson made their way to Las Vegas.

Key stayed local, moving on to the 49ers on a one-year deal. The change of scenery served him well as he recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks, plus 22 stops, five tackles for loss, and one pass defensed while playing in all 17 games.

The Niners used Key as a supporting piece, but other teams may consider giving him a chance at the starting lineup, depending on how the rest of the offseason goes. In addition to the Ravens, the Jaguars and Lions have also checked in with Key — they likely see him as a supplement to their incoming rookie class, which will likely feature some big-name DEs.

The Ravens are also meeting with Rasheem Green today, a Seahawks free agent who is also coming off of a strong platform year.

Latest On DE Arden Key

After a breakout year in San Francisco, defensive end Arden Key is generating a market for himself. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that he is visiting with the Jaguars today, having already done so with the Lions (Twitter link). 

Key was a third round pick of the Raiders in 2018. He played three seasons in Oakland/Vegas, starting 10 of 37 games. He played only in a rotational role after his rookie campaign, however, and totalled 49 tackles and three sacks. After the team brought in more established names like Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson along the front seven, however, he was cut last offseason.

The LSU product signed with the 49ers less than one week later, and enjoyed the best season of his career in San Francisco. While he was still only used in a rotational capacity, playing just 35% of the team’s defensive snaps, his stated goal of improving as a pass-rusher was realized. He registered 6.5 sacks and another five tackles for loss, which has earned him outside interest.

The Lions’ defensive front is headed by the likes of Michael Brockers and recent draftees Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill. On the edges, they have Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris, each of whom are under contract for one more season. That holds true for Dawuane Smoot of the Jaguars as well, who also have Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson in their edge-rushing corps.

While both the Jaguars and Lions could add more pass rushers with the top two picks in this year’s draft, Key would represent a solid depth addition to either team. Garafolo adds that there may be other teams meeting with him, so his final destination may not be known for a little while longer.

Raiders Notes: Ruggs, Key, Joyner

The Raiders will kick off their regular season on Monday Night Football against the Ravens tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s round up a few recent items on the Silver-and-Black:

  • The 2020 wide receiver draft class was absolutely loaded, and plenty of pundits believed Jerry Jeudy was the cream of the crop. Although no WR had been selected by the time the Raiders were on the board with the No. 12 overall pick, Las Vegas ultimately chose Henry Ruggs over Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. As Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes, there were Jeudy supporters in the Raiders’ war room, but head coach Jon Gruden wanted his own version of Tyreek Hill, and he saw Ruggs as a player who fit that bill.
  • The Raiders selected DE Arden Key, who was once believed to be a first-round talent, in the third round of the 2018 draft. But the LSU product posted just three sacks in three seasons, and Vegas deemed him surplus to requirements in April. He was quickly scooped up by the 49ers, and he did not mince words when asked about his time with the Raiders. “To be honest, I wanted to get out of there,” Key said (via Jacob Hutchinson of “I been wanting to get out of there. I wasn’t surprised. I was more happy than surprised. I wish it happened a little earlier but, hey, I got what I wanted and I’m good.” Key went on to say that the Raiders’ defensive scheme was a poor fit for him, and while he did not explicitly say so, it seems he is happy to be away from Gruden.
  • Count Lamarcus Joyner as another ex-Raider who is happy to be away from the club. The Raiders deployed Joyner — who primarily played safety with the Rams before signing a big-money free agent contract with Vegas — as a nickelback over the past several seasons, and he struggled in that role. The Raiders released him in March, and he signed with the Jets 10 days later. Gang Green will deploy him as single-high safety, and he is pleased with how things turned out. “I’m pretty sure the whole world knows that (I’m happy to be away from the Raiders),” he said. “I made that known. I’m so happy it’s over and I’m here with coach [Robert] Saleh right now” (via Rich Cimini of Joyner was clear that he didn’t have an issue with Gruden personally.

49ers, DE Arden Key Agree To Deal

The 49ers have added depth pieces on offense and defense Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after San Francisco’s Wayne Gallman agreement surfaced, Ian Rapoport of tweets the team agreed to terms with Arden Key.

Like Gallman, Key visited the 49ers this week. Formerly an Oakland Raiders third-round draft choice, the three-year defensive end contributor will head back to the Bay Area on a one-year deal.

Las Vegas waived Key last week, doing so after adding former San Francisco defensive end Solomon Thomas in free agency. The 49ers lost Thomas and Kerry Hyder, who signed with the Seahawks, and injuries significantly affected their defensive end group last season. Both Nick Bosa and Dee Ford missed most of the season. Key may be in position to see frequent time, depending on how the 49ers proceed in the draft.

While Key went in the 2018 third round, he was viewed as a possible first-round pick at one point. The LSU product registered 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2016. While he has not produced much as a pro (three sacks in three seasons), Key did post 11 quarterback hits last season as a Raider reserve. Next season will be Key’s age-25 campaign.