Four days before the Raiders begin arriving in Napa for training camp -- and eight days before the first padded, i.e., hitting practice on Aug. 1 -- Oakland was still one of nine NFL teams with at least one unsigned draft pick.In fact, Tuesday afternoon the Raiders were one of six teams with at least two of their draftees still unsigned in third-round supplemental pick Tony Bergstrom, the offensive lineman from Utah who went No. 95 overall, and fifth-round supplemental pick Juron Criner, the offseason workout program revelation at receiver who was picked 168th overall out of Arizona. And there does not seem to be any notable progress in talks.Adam Caplan of thesidelineview.com broke down the 16 unsigned rookies thusly -- five first-rounders, two second-rounders, eight third-rounders, with Bergstrom at the end of that round, and one fifth-rounder, which is Criner.As such, Bergstrom and Criner are the lowest-drafted rookies still unsigned in the NFL.So is it something for Raiders fans to worry about yet?Why they remain unsigned remains a mystery to most observers and has the potential to become an irritant to the team and first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie. Especially since the two rookies' salary is all-but slotted courtesy of where they were drafted.Documents obtained by CSNCalifornia.com show that Bergstrom would have a first-year allotment of 516,504 with a first-year minimum allotment of 512,504 and non-guaranteed base salaries of 390,000, 480,000, 570,000 and 660,000 on his four-year contract with a maximum signing bonus of 506,016. Criner, meanwhile, would have a first-year allotment of 426,140 with a first-year minimum allotment of 422,140 and non-guaranteed base salaries of 390,000, 480,000, 570,000 and 660,000 on his four-year contract with a maximum signing bonus of 144,560.So what's the holdup?Per Caplan, the Miami Dolphins had the most unsigned draft picks Tuesday afternoon with three, followed by the Raiders (2), Minnesota Vikings (2), Jacksonville Jaguars (2), Indianapolis Colts (2), St. Louis Rams (2), Cincinnati Bengals (1), Kansas City Chiefs (1) and Tennessee Titans (1).
The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.
They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.
Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.
“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”
While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.
The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.
“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.
"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”
Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.
Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.
Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.
“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”
Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.
“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”