Richie Incognito

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Bills Release Richie Incognito

Two years ago, the Bills moved on from their bizarre saga with Richie Incognito. They released the offensive lineman from the reserve/retired list, paving the way for him to play for another team. At the time, no one knew whether the veteran would get that opportunity. 

Incognito, a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the league’s best guards, made headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout his career. In 2013, he was alleged to have bullied and disparaged Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin, which prompted Martin to leave the team and the NFL to suspend Incognito. After missing half of ’13 and all of ’14, he returned to the league with the Bills.

On the field, Incognito continued his excellence. He played every single snap for the Bills in 2015, earned a fresh ~$16MM deal prior to 2016, and graded out as one of the league’s best guards in 2017. The advanced metrics showed that Incognito was elite throughout those three years in Buffalo – he placed No. 2, No, 7, and No. 12 in the league in each of those seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.

Then, things turned once again. In March of 2018, Incognito agreed to rework the remainder of his contract, cutting his base salary in half. Weeks later, he fired his agent via Twitter. Then, Incognito retired, citing health issues and dissatisfaction with his deal.

It pisses me the [expletive] off,” Incognito said. “The contract and all that pissed me [off] and all that, but (retiring) has nothing to do with that.

The Bills placed Incognito on the retired list on April 12, 2018. On April 15, 2018, he requested his release. Then, on May 21, 2018 – about six weeks after Incognito announced that he was done with football – the Bills granted his request. Two days after that, Incognito caused a scene at a gym in Florida and told police that he believed he was being tracked by FBI agents for his possession of secret NSA documents. One psychiatric hold and a few months later, Incognito was arrested at an Arizona funeral parlor for threatening employees who refused to cut off his father’s head, which he wanted for research purposes.

Most in the football world figured that would mark the end of Incognito’s career, but Jon Gruden gave him another chance to play last year. Towards the end of another strong season, the Raiders inked the veteran to a two-year, $14MM deal, set to begin this fall.

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Raiders, Richie Incongito Agree To Extension

The Raiders and veteran guard Richie Incognito have agreed to an extension, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first reported (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it will be a two-year, $14MM pact, including $6.35MM guaranteed.

It has been quite the turnaround for the 36-year-old, who, in 2018, agreed to a pay cut with the Bills only to “retire” for a short time and force his release from Buffalo. Days after his release, Florida police placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he hurled weights at a gym and told officers that the government is spying on him. Incognito pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct stemming from his August 2018 arrest for an incident at an Arizona funeral home, and that’s not to mention the bullying scandal that led to his exit from the Dolphins and a season (2014) out of football.

The Raiders took a chance on Incognito by signing him to a veteran minimum pact in May, and they got a strong return on their investment. After missing the first two games of the 2019 campaign due to a suspension for his off-field behavior, Incognito turned in an excellent season, paving the way for rookie RB Josh Jacobs while keeping QB Derek Carr clean. Advanced metrics were especially fond of his work, rating him as one of the best guards in the league.

As they move to Las Vegas, the Raiders will hope that the four-time Pro Bowler can stay on the straight and narrow and continue to be a force on their O-line.

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Raiders, Richie Incognito Eyeing Extension

Richie Incognito‘s return from a second full season away from football has gone well. The veteran guard has helped revitalize the Raiders’ offensive line, despite being a mid-offseason pickup.

Although Incognito is the NFL’s oldest active guard at 36, the Raiders do not want this to be a one-year partnership. The team would like to extend Incognito for the 2020 season, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Incognito would prefer that as well.

The sides have discussed the parameters of a deal, per Tafur, but since Incognito signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum in late May, NFL rules stipulate he cannot re-sign with the Raiders until 2020. A re-up would surely result in a raise for the veteran blocker, considering he’s making barely $1MM this season.

Incognito missed the Raiders’ first two games due to a suspension but has thrived since. The former Rams, Dolphins and Bills blocker grades as Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 overall guard. Taking over Kelechi Osemele‘s former post, Incognito has helped Josh Jacobs (923 yards, 4.8 per carry) become perhaps the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year favorite and keep Derek Carr clean. Football Outsiders’ chief run-blocking metric, adjusted line yards, rates the Raiders fourth; Oakland’s 15 sacks allowed ranks second in the league.

Should Incognito make the Pro Bowl, it would make him the oldest guard to be honored as such since Bruce Matthews and Ray Brown 18 years ago. While Incognito’s polarizing past and suspension history makes him far from a sure bet, Tafur adds the Raiders have been pleased with him as a locker room leader during this 6-4 start. Jon Gruden called the player most associated with the 2013 Bullygate scandal a “steadying force” for the team.

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Raiders C Rodney Hudson To Miss Time

Raiders center Rodney Hudson is expected to miss time while dealing with an ankle injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Hudson isn’t the only Oakland center sidelined by an ankle issue — backup Andre James is also battling a sprain, and he too could miss the Raiders’ Week 9 game against the Raiders. If neither Hudson nor James can play on Sunday, veteran left guard Richie Incognito will likely slide to center and play the pivot for the first time since 2010, tweets Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Fellow center Erik Magnuson, signed earlier today, may also be in contention to start in the middle of Oakland’s front five.

Hudson isn’t going on injured reserve, an indication the Raiders don’t believe his injury to be a long-term issue. But there’s no question the veteran center’s presence will be missed for however long he remains sidelined. Oakland, which has a 21% chance of earning a postseason berth per FiveThirtyEight.com, already had its bye in Week 6, so there’s no free week for Hudson to get healthy late in the season.

Midway through his ninth NFL campaign (and fifth in Oakland), Hudson is still playing like one of the NFL’s best centers. Through seven starts, Hudson grades as the league’s third-best pivot, per Pro Football Focus, which ranks Hudson as the NFL’s No. 2 pass-blocking center behind only Cleveland’s J.C. Tretter. As a unit, the Raiders’ offensive line ranks top-four in both pass-blocking and run-blocking, according to Football Outsiders‘ adjusted yards metrics.

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NFL Suspends Raiders’ Richie Incognito

Richie Incognito will have to wait a little while before making his Raiders debut. On Friday, the league suspended the offensive lineman for two games, per an NFL press release.

The suspension was long anticipated. This ban, in particular, stems from Incognito’s funeral home incident of last year. Incognito pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct stemming from the August 2018 arrest.

According to the arrest report, funeral home employees say the former Pro Bowler wanted his father’s head cut off for research purposes and walked through the funeral home punching caskets and throwing objects. Incognito also made a gun gesture towards an employee and told him that he had guns in his truck. When police searched Incognito’s car, they found a tan Glock 17 9mm handgun, a black Glock 35 .40-caliber handgun, three rifles and four magazines.

Incognito’s off-the-field behavior has been troubling, to say the least, but he could prove to be a strong addition to the team’s offensive line if he stays on the straight and narrow. If he sticks on the roster, he’ll be eligible to debut in Week 3 when the Raiders face the Vikings.

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Extra Points: McCoy, Incognito, Packers

Another day, another Gerald McCoy update. The biggest name left available has been taking his time, taking several visits, but it sounds like he could be nearing a decision. So far, the veteran defensive tackle has visited the Browns, Ravens, and Panthers. Although McCoy left Cleveland without a contract, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Browns are still very “much in the running” for McCoy’s services (Twitter link).

What suggests he should be signing imminently is that Kay Cabot also writes that he wants to attend his new team’s voluntary minicamp. As she points out, the Browns’ camp starts June 4th, which is in just a few days. To that end, she writes that McCoy could sign on Monday or Tuesday. It sounds like we’ll still be on McCoy-watch this weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Richie Incognito has become more well known for things not related to football than for what he’s done on the field. The Raiders raised a lot of eyebrows when they signed the veteran guard to a deal earlier this week. Incognito spent the entire 2018 season out of football before retiring and then quickly reversing his decision. His retirement came at a tumultuous time for him, and a source told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press that “security was stepped up at the Bills headquarters around the time Incognito announced his retirement,” and that “security personnel were placed on alert if Incognito arrived.” Clearly Buffalo was concerned about him, which isn’t too shocking. Raiders GM Mike Mayock recently said while defending the signing, that “at the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts.” Speaking of Incognito, he’s had some run-ins with the law that were heavily publicized, but one slipped under the radar. According to documents obtained by ESPN, Incognito plead guilty to “charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct,” last month, stemming from an August argument at his grandmother’s house. Incognito reportedly blamed his grandmother for his father’s death, which had happened just prior to the argument.
  • The Packers’ 90-man roster just got trimmed by one. Tight end Davis Koppenhaver, an undrafted rookie from Duke, “has decided to step away from the game and pursue a career outside of football,” a source told Michael Cohen of The Athletic (Twitter link). Koppenhaver never topped 157 yards during his time at Duke, so this isn’t too big of a loss for Green Bay.
  • Charges against former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin were dismissed earlier today, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Griffin was arrested last month at the NFL Draft in Nashville, and charged with misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication. A few weeks later, Houston released him. The 2013 sixth-round pick has spent his entire six-year career with the Texans, and has never played a huge role on offense. After a relatively strong 2016 season where he had 442 yards and two touchdowns, the Texan gave him a three-year, $9MM deal. The charges against him never seemed too serious, and he should resurface soon.

West Notes: Raiders, Rams, Broncos, Chiefs

During the Raiders‘ negotiations for wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers asked Oakland for a second-round pick, and head coach Jon Gruden was inclined to hand it over, as he explains to Peter King of NBC Sports. “Free-agency’s about to start and I’m thinking, ‘Man, all these slot receivers are going for $10MM. Some of these players are going for $15MM. Why don’t we just give [the Steelers] the second? Get Antonio Brown!’” In the end, the Raiders sent a third-round (No. 66) and a fifth-round pick (No. 141) to Pittsburgh. Based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s trade chart, those two choices equal the value of the 41st overall selection, so the Raiders did essentially part ways with a second-rounder. Oakland also guaranteed Brown $30.125MM and increased his three-year earning capacity to more than $50MM.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The Rams aren’t giving up any more details about the status of Todd Gurley‘s left knee, but the club does have an “individualized workout plan” for the star running back, one that doesn’t involve him participating in OTAs, as Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com writes. Gurley’s knee condition — the one that forced him to miss the final two games of the 2018 regular season and limited his action in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl — is likely an issue that needs to be “managed” and cannot be “fixed,” as Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. The Rams not only matched restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown‘s offer sheet this offseason, but traded up to draft Memphis back Darrell Henderson.
  • At one point this year, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris thought he would be traded out of Denver, as he tells James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Just before the draft, Harris demanded either a new contract or a trade, and he ultimately got his wish, with a new deal arriving on Tuesday. While the veteran defensive back didn’t receive an extension, his total 2019 payout was increased from $8.9MM to $12.05MM. Harris will receive some of that money in the very near future: he got a $650K bonus for reporting to organized team activities, and will get another $600K for showing up at training camp.
  • New Raiders guard Richie Incognito is now a client of Lil Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports agency, as indicated by agent Ken Sarnoff’s recent tweet. Incognito’s representation won’t earn much of a commission on his one-year deal with Oakland, as it’s a minimum salary contract. Given his lengthy off-field history and his year off from football, Incognito isn’t a lock for the Raiders’ roster.
  • Free agent tight end Nick Keizer will work out for the Chiefs, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). A 2018 undrafted free agent out of Grand Valley State, Keizer was waived by the Ravens at final cutdowns but was on Baltimore’s practice squad/offseason roster from November until earlier this month.

Mike Mayock On Richie Incognito Signing

On his first day as a Raider, Richie Incognito worked with the team’s first-string offensive line. The Raiders have a need at left guard, after trading Kelechi Osemele for a minimal return. The Raiders have picked a controversial player to potentially replace him, but they are not certain a suspension is in the works.

There’s a chance there could be league discipline,” Mike Mayock said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair. “We don’t know what it will be, but it’s a one-year minimum prove-it deal, and we feel that he’s incentivized properly to stay straight. We can’t control what the NFL will do.”

As far as the contradiction between the Raiders’ prioritizing high-character players in Mayock’s first draft with the team and subsequently signing Incognito, the first-year GM said the Raiders have spoken with many about signing the embattled 35-year-old blocker. Ten Raiders staffers also observed the workout that landed Incognito this latest opportunity.

“It’s a fair question. Both Jon (Gruden) and I have talked a lot about foundation. We have reinforced that with our draft. At the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts,” Mayock said. “You have to do your homework in each individual case. We’ve done our homework. We’ve talked to an awful lot of people. We talked to Richie and told him what we expect on and off the field and we’ll expect him to adhere to that. … The infrastructure will be here for him to use.”

Days after his release from the Bills last year, Florida cops placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he hurled weights at a gym and told officers that the government is spying on himIncognito claimed that he drew interest even after that event, but as far as we know, the Raiders were the only team to show any interest in him this year. Incognito pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct stemming from his August 2018 arrest for an incident at an Arizona funeral home. The turbulent 2018 points to a likely 2019 suspension.

Prior to the bullying scandal that led to his exit from Miami and a season (2014) out of football, Incognito had a divisive reputation with the Rams. They released him midway through the 2009 season. He became an high-level guard with the Bills, making the Pro Bowl in each of his three Buffalo seasons before missing another full season in 2018.

He will nevertheless receive another chance. The Raiders had a glaring need at left guard, with Denzelle Good previously penciled in as the starter there.

We have done a one-year, prove-it deal with him and that means both on and off the field,” Mayock said. “There are some expectations he has to meet in both areas. He turns 36 in July. We think he’s going to be a good football player and allow himself to compete for the left guard job.”

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Raiders To Sign Richie Incognito

The Raiders have agreed to sign offensive lineman Richie Incognito, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a one-year, minimum salary deal for the controversial veteran as he makes his return to the NFL, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter) adds. 

There has been longstanding mutual interest between the Raiders and Incognito, but the team debated the signing internally because of the suspension that is likely coming down the pike. Ultimately, they didn’t see much risk in adding Incognito on a cheap deal that they can easily shed if things don’t work out.

The former Rams, Bills and Dolphins guard has a checkered past, but he’s also a proven commodity on the field. In 2017, Incognito graded out as the 12th best guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked seventh amongst all guards in 2016 and second in ’15, making him the Bills’ top-rated offensive lineman in that three year period. He also earned his third straight Pro Bowl nod in 2017, giving him four in total.

Last year, Incognito agreed to a pay cut with the Bills only to “retire” for a short time and force his release from Buffalo. Days after his release, Florida cops placed Incognito in a mental hospital after he hurled weights at a gym and told officers that the government is spying on himIncognito claimed that he drew interest even after that event, but as far as we know, the Raiders were the only team to show any interest in him this year.

On the plus side, Incognito is reportedly feeling well, both mentally and physically. If that’s the case, Incognito could factor into the Raiders’ starting left guard competition following the trade of Kelechi Osemele to the Jets. The Raiders say that Gabe Jackson will remain on the right side, which currently leaves Denzelle Good as the leader in the clubhouse at LG.

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AFC Notes: Raiders, Incognito, Ravens, Ansah

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Mutual interest exists between the Raiders and Richie Incognito, but the team is hesitant at the moment because of the suspension the embattled guard is likely to receive. The former Rams, Bills and Dolphins guard obviously has a checkered past, and the Raiders would like some clarity on the soon-to-be 36-year-old’s situation before moving forward, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Jon Gruden‘s failed gamble on Martavis Bryant last year factors into this caution, Tafur writes, though it does not sound like an Incognito ban would nix a potential deal.
  • The Raiders have added the following players to their wideout room: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow and Jalin Marshall. They also re-signed return specialist Dwayne Harris. But Gruden told UDFA Keelan Doss he has a “solid” chance of making the 53-man roster, Tafur writes (subscription required). An Alameda, Calif., native, Doss turned down better offers from other teams to play with his hometown squad, Tafur adds. Doss finished his UC Davis career with 312 catches and 4,069 yards — both school records.
  • Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is currently slotted in as the Ravens‘ third quarterback behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III, but the team may have bigger plans for the rookie. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the team is envisioning him playing a similar role to Taysom Hill on the Saints. McSorley is expected to take a few reps at quarterbacks, get a handful of carries, contribute on special teams, and perhaps make a few cameos at safety.
  • Zrebiec also believes the Ravens will make a push to sign defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah. The organization already met with the free agent several weeks ago, and it was rumored that the 29-year-old would wait to sign a contract until he wasn’t attached to a compensatory pick. Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year before his shoulder took him out of action. However, Ansah has shown serious potential in the past with two 12+ sack seasons. As recently as 2017, Ansah profiled as one of the best edge rushers in the game.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.