Johnathan Abram

Broncos Attempted To Claim S Johnathan Abram

Johnathan Abram‘s inconsistent Raiders career did not stop two teams from claiming his rookie contract, one that still includes more than $1MM in salary. In addition to the Packers, the Broncos submitted a claim for Abram, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Sitting at 3-6 — their worst record through nine games since 2005 — the Packers won out over the 3-5 Broncos. Green Bay will reunite Abram with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ 2021 interim HC.

Like the Packers, the Broncos have used the same safety starters since 2019. Behind Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson, some uncertainty exists. Denver’s No. 3 safety, Caden Sterns, is on IR with a hip injury. The Broncos have fourth-year man P.J. Locke and rookie fifth-rounder Delarrin Turner-Yell as backups, and they promoted veteran Anthony Harris to their active roster earlier this week. Despite his pedigree, Harris has played in two games for his new team this season. He has yet to log a defensive snap in Denver. Ditto Turner-Yell, whose usage has come strictly on special teams in his first season.

Simmons is also on the team’s injury report this week. The Pro Bowl cover man did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury. Simmons spent four weeks on IR because of a thigh ailment sustained in Week 1. The Broncos will be eligible to use one of their injury activations on Sterns later this year, should he be healthy enough to return, but they also have Randy Gregory and Tom Compton on their way back. Denver has five injury activations remaining.

Although the Broncos’ coaching staff is new, the team has gotten a good look at Abram, 26, due to his previous AFC West employment. Drafted 27th overall in 2019, Abram made 34 starts with the Raiders. Coverage issues plagued the Jon Gruden-era draftee in Las Vegas. He will attempt to use his upcoming Wisconsin stay to generate some momentum toward what will likely be a modest free agency market.

Packers Claim S Johnathan Abram

Johnathan Abram will not reach free agency. The Packers stepped in with a successful waiver claim to land the former Raiders safety, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

The Raiders cut bait on the former first-round pick Tuesday, but he will have a chance to make a better impression in Green Bay. Abram’s rookie contract runs through season’s end, after the Raiders did not pick up his fifth-year option. Just more than $1MM is now the Packers’ responsibility.

Green Bay rosters an experienced safety tandem; Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage have started together for the past four seasons. Abram will, however, reunite with former Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who is now the Pack’s special teams coordinator. Abram also rejoins ex-Raiders safety/special-teamer Dallin Leavitt with the Packers.

Abram, 26, will trek to Wisconsin with 34 career starts under his belt. Six of those came this season. The former Mississippi State prospect began 2022 in the Raiders’ starting lineup, under ex-Packers assistant Patrick Graham, but saw his playing time reduced over the past two games. The Raiders did not use Abram on special teams over the first five weeks but began using him in that capacity in October; he played 52% of Las Vegas’ special teams snaps Sunday in Jacksonville.

Drafted with the No. 27 overall pick the Raiders obtained in the Amari Cooper trade, Abram suffered shoulder injuries that forced him to miss 15 games as a rookie. He bounced back to be a full-timer under Jon Gruden and Bisaccia from 2020-21. In going to the Packers, Abram will now be part of a fourth defensive scheme since 2020. The Raiders went from Paul Guenther to Gus Bradley to Graham from 2020-22; Abram will now work under second-year Packers DC Joe Barry.

Issues in coverage were a major part of Abram’s failure to pan out with the Raiders, who have made significant changes since adding a new regime this offseason. Pro Football Focus ranks Abram outside the top 75 at safety this season. He made 116 tackles in 2021 — second on the Raiders — and has 48 stops this year. The Packers now have six safeties on their active roster, with Abram and Leavitt joining Rudy Ford and seventh-round rookie Tariq Carpenter. That is on the high side, so it will be interesting to see if Green Bay keeps that sextet on its 53-man roster going forward.

Raiders Waive S Johnathan Abram

The Raiders dangled Johnathan Abram in trades leading up to last week’s deadline, and they are now moving on from the former first-round pick.

Las Vegas plans to cut Abram on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The veteran starter, whom the Raiders recently demoted, will be available on waivers. Abram has made 34 career starts, but the Jon Gruden-era draftee was unable to carve out a spot as a long-term Raiders piece. Just more than $1MM in base salary remains on Abram’s rookie contract. The Raiders have since announced the move.

Trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper gave the Raiders three first-round picks in 2019. The team selected Josh Jacobs with the Mack-produced draft slot and landed Abram with the Cooper-obtained pick. The Bears and Cowboys, respectively, gave the trade acquisitions second contracts. The Raiders did not pick up Abram or Jacobs’ fifth-year options. The first pick from the first Gruden-Mike Mayock draft, Clelin Ferrell, is also playing out his rookie contract after never gaining a foothold as a viable starter.

The Raiders shopped both Abram and Ferrell before the deadline, but no takers emerged. Despite being on Las Vegas’ roster bubble this offseason, Ferrell has seen a greater snap share compared to Abram in recent weeks. Abram started the Raiders’ first six games but did not open the team’s Week 8 Saints matchup in the lineup.

Abram, 26, played at least 75% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps over their first six games. The Raiders saw the former No. 27 overall pick’s rookie season nullified by a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum. He bounced back to return to the starting lineup in 2020 and tallied 116 tackles in 2021. During his final three Raiders seasons, Abram has played in three defensive systems. The Raiders have gone from Paul Guenther to Gus Bradley to Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator over the past three seasons. The Raiders’ defense, which has struggled regardless of coordinator for most of the 21st century, ranks 28th in both points and yards allowed.

Coverage issues have plagued the Mississippi State alum as a pro. While Pro Football Focus rates Abram outside the top 75 among full-time safeties this season, the advanced metrics site has Vegas starter Trevon Moehrig slotted in the bottom five at the position. The Raiders’ Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler regime brought in ex-Patriot Duron Harmon this offseason; the veteran has worked as a full-timer at safety since arriving.

Abram’s exit during his rookie contract makes him the fourth Raider first-rounder over the past four years who failed to play out his rookie deal. The Raiders cut Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette within a two-week period last fall, with off-field incidents leading to each’s exit. Alex Leatherwood did not make it into his second season, being waived after training camp this year. Although the Gruden era produced draft hits like Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow, the first-round misses have undoubtedly set the Raiders back.

Raiders Shopping DL Clelin Ferrell, S Johnathan Abram

With a new regime in place, the Raiders could be looking to move on from a pair of 2019 first-round picks. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Raiders have talked with teams about trading defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram.

Since Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels were brought on board, the Raiders have been busy reworking their roster. As one NFC executive told Fowler, the organization is valuing players “who fit their personality,” and it’s not overly surprising that they’d be looking to move from a pair of players who were drafted by the former front office.

Abram’s name has been “circulating a lot,” per Fowler. The safety missed the majority of his rookie campaign with a torn rotator cuff and labrum, but he’s otherwise been a reliable defender for the Raiders. He finished with 116 tackles in 2021, with Pro Football Focus grading him as an above-average linebacker (especially when it came to pass rush). However, the Ziegler/McDaniels combo had little time to evaluate Abram before having to decide on his fifth-year option, which they ultimately declined. The 25-year-old is still seeing a significant role in 2022; he’s started all five games while collecting 32 tackles. However, after appearing in almost all of the team’s defensive snaps through the first four games, he was limited to only 75 percent of the Raiders defensive snaps in Week 5.

Similar to Abram, Ferrell also didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up by the new front office. The fourth-overall pick in 2019, the defensive lineman has disappointed during his time with the organization. He started all 26 of his appearances through his first two seasons in the NFL, compiling 6.5 sacks. He didn’t start any games in 2021, and while he’s seen time in all five games in 2022, he’s still appearing in less than half of his team’s defensive snaps.

Meanwhile, Fowler notes that the Raiders could be a match in a trade with New England if the Patriots decide to move on from wide receivers. Ziegler has already pulled off a handful of trades with his former organization, and he played a role in the Patriots adding their current crop of wideouts. Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are among the names that have been mentioned as traded candidates, per Fowler.

Raiders S Johnathan Abram Seeing Expanded Role

Johnathan Abram‘s future with the Raiders both in 2022 and beyond seemed to be in question this offseason. His status as a starter was once in doubt, but his tenure under the team’s new coaching staff has begun with a somewhat surprising new role. 

As noted by Tashan Reed of the Athletic (subscription required), Abram has not only remained a starter, but he has seen time at a number of different positions. The 25-year-old has been aligned at both safety spots, but also inside and outside linebacker, along with cornerback and nickelback. That represents a stark contrast to the sense dating back to July that Abram could be relegated to backup duties.

That sentiment was fueled in part by the fact that veteran Duron Harmon was signed during free agency to compete for a first-team spot. On a larger scale, the team’s decision to decline Abram’s fifth-year option makes the 2022 campaign a contract year for the former first-rounder. Instead of being phased out, Abram has been an effective and productive member of new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham‘s unit.

The Mississippi State product has played all but one defensive snap through two weeks, making 19 tackles. He has also put up better numbers in coverage than his previous seasons in the league, something which had been a sore spot early in his career.

“He’s a smart guy,” head coach Josh McDaniels said. “I mean, we put a lot on him. He’s been able to handle the duality of the multiple roles that we’ve given him. He’s a big cog in terms of the overall communication on the defense.”

Staying healthy and in control with respect to his physicality will, of course, remain important factors in determining Abram’s success this season. If he continues to wear multiple hats, though, he could not only help the Raiders’ defense in general, but also boost his own free agent stock heading into the spring.

Raiders S Johnathan Abram Not Guaranteed To Start

In 2019, the Oakland Raiders used a first-round pick acquired by trading wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cowboys to draft Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. Since being selected at No. 27 overall, Abram has been a starter in the Raiders’ secondary, whenever he’s healthy. That presumed role as a starter may be in jeopardy, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed. 

Abram has plenty of talent to offer the Raiders’ defense, but one reason that he may get relegated from his starting duties is that he can’t seem to keep that talent on the field. Injuries have bitten Abram early and often during his time in the NFL. After competing in his first NFL game, it was reported that Abram would be out for the remainder of his rookie season with a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Abram missed three games in the 2020 NFL season (one due to COVID-19) and ended the 2021 season on injured reserve after undergoing shoulder surgery, forcing him to miss the team’s final three regular season games and their first playoff game since the 2016 season.

When he has been on the field, Abram has developed into a gifted safety in the box. While that’s all good and well, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense usually requires safeties to play in multiple roles. Abram does have three interceptions and 11 passes defensed over three years, but he has yet to show the versatility required of him to consistently cover deep zones. So far Abram hasn’t been able to show he isn’t a liability in coverage. Last year, Abram led all safeties, being targeted 68 times and allowing 54 receptions, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Another factor that hurts Abram’s chance to remain at the top of the depth chart is the offseason signing of veteran safety Duron Harmon. The former long-time Patriot has spent the past two seasons in Detroit and Atlanta. Despite leaving New England at 29-years-old, Harmon broke out in his new cities, going from a part-time starter to starting every game for the Lions and Falcons. Harmon has more ability in coverage than Abram, recording at least one interception in every season and maxing out at 4 interceptions in a season twice. Since earning a starting role, he’s also increased his play on ball carriers, more than doubling his average tackles per season as a starter. He also has some familiarity with Graham from the three seasons they spent together in New England.

Last year’s rookie, Trevon Moehrig, will likely man one starting spot while Harmon pushes Abram for the other. According to PFF, Moehrig rated 25th among all NFL safeties. Harmon, at 68th, just edged out Abram, 75th, in the positional rankings.

The good news for Abram, is that he’s shown improvement every year he’s played in the NFL. He will continue to be targeted by NFL quarterbacks until he proves he can keep the ball out of receivers’ hands. Fortunately, he’s impressed his coaching staff so far this offseason, but whether that means they can count on him to not be a liability in the secondary this year has yet to be seen.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Raiders Decline Fifth-Year Options On Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram, Clelin Ferrell

The Raiders trading previous cornerstones Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper gave them a prime opportunity in the 2019 draft. Three years later, each of the first-round picks from that draft will enter a contract year.

New Raiders GM Dave Ziegler confirmed Friday the team is declining the fifth-year options on Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram and Clelin Ferrell. All are on track for free agency in 2023. Although the Raiders’ Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime hit on Day 3 picks Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow, their 2019 offseason — which featured misses on Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner and Tyrell Williams — contributed to the franchise’s change of direction.

Mack’s departure did the most to hurt the 2018 squad, which finished with a staggering 13 sacks. That led to the Raiders’ own 2019 first-rounder coming in at No. 4 overall. Ferrell, viewed as a reach at 4 when taken, has not panned out. The Clemson product has eight sacks in three seasons, and one-and-done defensive coordinator Gus Bradley slashed the defensive end’s snap rate to 24% in 2021.

Jacobs, the pick obtained via the Mack trade, has been by far the best of the three 2019 first-rounders. The Alabama alum was eligible for the Tier 2 option price ($8MM) because of his 2020 Pro Bowl nod. Although Jacobs’ passing-game usage spiked in 2021 (54 receptions), Ziegler and Josh McDaniels put the three-year starter on track for free agency. Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2019 and finished second to Kyler Murray for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he finished that season and the 2020 campaign on IR. Jacobs, however, finished strong in 2021 and was instrumental in Las Vegas qualifying for the playoffs.

Chosen 27th overall (the Cooper slot), Abram missed almost all of his rookie season because of a Week 1 injury. He still started 27 games from 2020-21 and made 116 tackles last season. A late-December labrum tear ended Abram’s 2021 season, however. Patrick Graham will be his third DC in three years.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/25-12/26/21

Here are the NFL moves from Christmas and today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Raiders S Johnathan Abram Done For Season

Johnathan Abram‘s season has come to an end. The Raiders safety is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery tomorrow, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).

Up until Week 15, the 2019 first-round pick hadn’t missed a defensive snap for the Raiders in 2021. He was limited to “only” 80 percent of his team’s defensive snaps during Monday’s win over the Browns. Pelissero notes that Abram wanted to play through the injury, “but doctors advised him to shut it down” before the end of the season. The defensive back is expected to be fully healthy in time for the 2022 campaign.

A torn rotator cuff and labrum limited Abram to only one game as a rookie, but he ended up starting each of his 13 games in 2020. Abram has had a productive campaign in 2021, collecting 116 tackles, four passes defended, and one interception. The Raiders will have to make a decision on the player’s fifth-year option this offseason.

The Raiders are going to have to dig deep into their roster to fill the hole in their secondary opposite Trevon Moehrig. Special teamer Dallin Leavitt could be an option at safety, as could former undrafted free agent Roderic Teamer.