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.

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

 

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...