Raiders

Raiders 2017 free agent tracker

Raiders 2017 free agent tracker

The Raiders enter free agency hoping to fortify a talented roster with some veteran improvements. General manager Reggie McKenzie generally made smart moves this time last year, which brought productive players into the fray. The NFL’s 2016 executive of the year spent in the right spots, avoided some pratfalls and helped the Raiders construct a team worthy of last season’s 12-4 record.

McKenzie will likely be less active this year, though some important needs can still be filled with veteran imports. That effort started at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the beginning of a two-day window where teams can speak with a free agent’s representative to start working on terms of a deal that can be formally executed on Thursday afternoon.

Those are the rules, which are surely broken across the league. Terms will be agreed upon over the next few days, as the Raiders contact prospective employees and try to get them to play in silver and black.

Here’s a feed of Raiders activity in free agency that will be updated regularly in the coming days. Check back often. It’s going to be a busy week.

Sunday, March 4

4:47 a.m.: The Boston Globe reports that the Raiders are among four teams with interest in New England tight end Martellus Bennett. The versatile talent has made it clear he’s looking for top dollar entering free agency, but has the size and athleticism to be a real offensive force.

Tuesday, March 7

10:47 a.m.: The Chicago Sun Times reports the Bears are among four teams with interest in signing Raiders receiver Andre Holmes. The 49ers and Lions are in the group. It's been long known the Raiders would like to re-sign Holmes, who has become an excellent special teams player while providing excellent depth as a fourth receiver. Holmes said after the season he hoped to remain in Oakland, but the promise of more offensive snaps in Chicago -- he's from Illinois -- or San Francisco may be appealing to the 28-year old. 

2:34 p.m.: NFLN reporter Stacey Dales, citing a source close to running back Adrian Peterson, reports that the Raiders are an attractive landing spot in free agency. She also mentioned the Seahawks as a possible destination for the long-time Minnesota Viking. The Raiders have been linked to Peterson for several days now, since the Vikings declined his 2017 contract option. He might not be a perfect, three-down fit in Oakland's scheme, but Peterson's production and talent is undeniable. Terms of the contract would be key to a Raiders signing, especially considering the depth of rushing talent available in this year's NFL draft. ...The St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke to Peterson's father, who said the Raiders have expressed interest, and that running behind the Raiders offensive line is attractive to his son. 

Wednesday, March 8

7:47 a.m.: According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Raiders will let linebacker Malcolm Smith, tight end Mychal Rivera and quarterback Matt McGloin leave as unrestricted free agents. Those players were always expected to leave without a contract offer. That includes Smith, who started 30 games over the last two seasons. 

7:51 a.m.: Running back Adrian Peterson has interest in the Raiders but, per ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Raiders don't have the same level of interest in him. That interest could change if Peterson's asking price drops. 

8:18 a.m.: A league source told CSN Bay Area that the Raiders gave restricted free agent defensive lineman Denico Autry an orginal round tender. Autry was an undrafted free agent out of college, meaning the Raiders won't receive any compensation if they don't match an offer sheet from another team. If Autry remains in Oakland and plays under the tender, he'll make $1.79 million next season. 

10:10 a.m.: The Denver Broncos are interested in offensive tackle Menelik Watson, per Denver television station 9News. The Raiders, however, are trying to keep him in Oakland. The team likes his athletics and demeanor. He's a productive player when healthy, with tremendous upside the Raiders hope to keep on the right side of their offensive line. 

5:53 p.m.: CSN Bay Area confirms that former Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith is talking about a new contract with teh 49ers. The Raiders were content to let Smith walk as an unrestricted free agent, and he might move to the South Bay on the first day of free agency. 

Thursday, March 9

12:16 p.m.: Defensive tackle Stacy McGee thanked the Raiders and Raiders fans for support over the first four years of his NFL career. The 2013 sixth-round pick did not include a destination in his farewell to Oakland. He was expected to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent, and he seems to have found another employer. 

1:15 p.m.: Special teams maven Daren Bates, who spent last season with the Raiders, has signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, according to ESPN.

1:25 p.m.: Stacy McGee agrees to terms on a five-year, $25 million contract with Washington, according to NFL Network. The Raiders wanted him back, but that's much more than they would've been willing to pay. 

1:39 p.m.: Latavius Murray will visit the Seattle Seahawks, per ESPN.

1:46 p.m.: Top special teams player Bryden Trawick agreed on a contract with the Tennessee Titans, CBS Sports reported. Trawick flashed some ability playing strong safety at the end of his only season as a Raider, when he was use primarily in special teams coverage. The Raiders wanted him back, but a a two year deal worth up to $6.85 million was too much for the Silver and Black. 

3:13 p.m.: The Raiders are still in the mix to re-sign receiver Andre Holmes, a source told CSN Bay Area, though he has other suitors for his services. The Raiders want to bring him back, especially with some core special teams players signing elsewhere. 

7:43 p.m.: The Raiders offered contract tenders to three exclusive rights free agents a source told CSN Bay Area. Receiver Seth Roberts, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and tight end Gabe Holmes will re-join the club next season. 

8:50 p.m.: Safety Nate Allen will visit the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Herald reported. Allen will look for an opportunity to start after being a reserve last season. He was a starter his first five NFL seasons after getting drafted by Philadelphia. 

Friday, March 10

5:36 a.m.: Former Raiders first-round pick DJ Hayden agreed on terms of a one-year contract worth up to $5.25 million, according to ESPN.

12:59 p.m.: Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson, a second-round pick in 2013, agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos, a source said, reportedly worth up to $18 million. 

1:17 p.m.: Safety Nate Allen is close to completing a deal with the Dolphins, the Miami Hearld reports. Allen visited that team's facility last night. He is from the southern part of Florida. 

1:21 p.m.: Minnesota receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson will visit the Raiders facility, according to the NFL Network. He previously visited Washington's football club, but left without a contract. He had a career-high 52 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns last season, though his primary value comes on special teams. He has five kickoff return touchdowns in four years, and averages 30.4 yards per return in his career. The Raiders have looked hard for a dynamic return man. Patterson would certainly fit that bill. 

9:26 p.m.: The Raiders agreed on terms of a two-year contract with offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse, a league source told CSN Bay Area

Saturday, March 11

5:36 a.m.: The Raiders are among four teams to show "preliminary interest" in defensive tackle Dontari Poe, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

7:15 a.m.: Receiver Andre Holmes will visit the Lions, accordong to NFL Network. The Raiders remain hopeful that Holmes will return. 

1:36 p.m: Vikings receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to meet with the Raiders on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

2:33 p.m.: Raiders free agent running back Latavius Murray is scheduled to meet with the Jaguars on Monday and the Seahawks Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

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AP

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward injured his foot during the team's offseason program and hasn't seen the field since. Last year's second-round pick had it surgically repaired, and missed training camp rehabiltating. 

He's finally ready to go. He passed a physical on Monday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. The team had a walk-through on Monday. Ward should be active for Tuesday afternoon's practice, the first back at their Alameda practice facility. 

The Illinois product had 30 tackles in 13 starts last season, playing significant snaps with Mario Edwards Jr. out due to a hip injury. He'll have to compete for a spot in the rotation, even after working with the first unit during the offseason program. Rookie third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes has played well in his absence and could be a three-down player inside. 

Ward was a raw, yet athletic talent capable of playing several techniques across the line. The teams sees great potential, though Ward must continue to develop as a player. 

In addition, the Raiders activated tight end Cooper Helfet off the non-football injury list.

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

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AP

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

OAKLAND – The Los Angeles Rams assigned two blockers to Khalil Mack, a common practice against the reigning defensive player of the year. Sometimes it works. This time it didn’t.

The Raiders edge rusher split the double team, found his target and pounced. Jared Goff stood zero chance. There was no evading this one. Mack brought last year’s No. 1 overall pick down with authority, claiming a sack that ultimately won’t count in his 2017 total.

The sacks highlighted a dominant performance that also included three quarterback pressures, four total tackles and two for a loss. All that in three series.

Mack’s clearly ready for the regular season. As a whole, the Raiders defense is not.

Saturday’s 24-21 loss to the Rams at Oakland Coliseum proved that point. A below average offense had no trouble scoring on a starting unit that looks a bit lost.

“I thought our defense was poor, in particular early when we started the game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a postgame press conference. “We’re going to have to get a whole lot better there.”

It has to happen quickly, with the regular season bearing down and the Raiders still trying to correct the same old thing. Making proper reads and improved communication has been an emphasis this offseason as coaches work to get this defense playing better together. It’s still preseason and there’s time to teach and coach and fix problems, but the defense isn't quite right.

“I think we’ll go a long way when we clean some of those things up,” Del Rio said. “The things that we’ve talked about for too long in terms of communication errors, eye violations and things like that that just keep you from ever being really good on defense. Those just have to get cleaned up.”

Issues are present in the front seven but more obvious in the back, where explosive pass plays continue to plague the starting unit. The Raiders allowed two plays over 20 yards on the first series and six plays of 10 or more yards in three series on Saturday, when the full starting unit was active. The Rams scored 14 points – Mack’s sack squashed the lone non-scoring drive – in three series.

Del Rio was bothered by misreads and “eye violations,” in coverage, which make things easier for an opposing offense.

“When you see them, it’s not a good thing,” Del Rio said. “Yeah, I mean it’s really simple. You don’t have your eyes where they belong and you’re playing man? You’re playing man or even in zone. If you’re not seeing what you need to see, it makes it hard.”

Fixing these problems could improve execution and make life harder on opponents. It needs to happen this summer or the Raiders will have to win a lot of shootouts.

“Obviously, I identify what the problem is,” Del Rio said. “Getting it fixed is the challenge.”