The Raiders announced they have officially released tight end Kevin Boss, saving the team 4 million in "real money" in 2012 while giving Oakland 2.5 million in salary cap relief.According to documents obtained by CSNCalifornia.com, Boss was to earn a base salary of 2 million with a roster bonus of 2 million due within the week. With the release, Boss' cap number was reduced from 4.75 million to 2.25 million.Earlier in the day, Boss' agent Scott Smith Tweeted that his client would be released on Wednesday.Boss, who signed a four-year, 16-million free-agent contract last summer to replace Zach Miller, endured an injury-filled season with the Raiders. He suffered a knee injury in the exhibition game at the 49ers on Aug. 20 and missed the first two regular season games. Boss then suffered a concussion against Kansas City on Oct. 23 and missed a game before getting knocked out of the season finale against San Diego with another concussion after catching a 22-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer.Yet even with the injuries, many thought Boss was not used properly by then-coach Hue Jackson.In 13 games, Boss caught 28 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns, his worst statistical season since his rookie year.The Raiders still have three tight ends on the roster in Brandon Myers, David Ausberry and Richard Gordon.Boss joins cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson and safety Hiram Eugene as cut Raiders. Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley could also be on the chopping block -- 17.5 million in salary through 2014 becomes guaranteed on Saturday -- as well as defensive tackle John Henderson, who has a cap number of 4.75 million.The Raiders restructured contracts with quarterback Carson Palmer, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, free safety Michael Huff and linebacker Aaron Curry to help them get in cap compliance -- the salary cap for 2012 is 120.6 million, slightly more than the 120.375 million cap of 20111 -- before Tuesday's 1 p.m. PT deadline.Plus, Oakland has also utilized its purported 6.2-million franchise tag on strong safety Tyvon Branch while announcing Monday it had made one-year contract tenders to restricted free agent defensive lineman Desmond Bryant and to three exclusive rights free agents in defensive end Mason Brodine, cornerbackkick returner Bryan McCann and fullback Marcel Reece.The price tag for the tenders is not known but with the Boss move now official, the Raiders should be 6.063.766 million under the capbefore factoring in the four tenders to Bryant, Brodine, McCann and Reece, which would eat up some cap space.With some wiggle room, the Raiders should now be able to get into the NFL's free agent frenzy, albeit in a smart manner.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio have done three pre-draft press conferences now. They’ve got the routine down, knowing when to deflect questions, when to put people off the scent and, more importantly, how to seem unpredictable.
They were in lockstep again Friday, less than a week before the 2017 NFL Draft.
During their first, McKenzie offered one criticism of his head coach.
“Can you guys get Jack out of my office?” McKenzie said in 2015, with tongue firmly in cheek.
The rhetorical question was answered with a laugh. McKenzie was acknowledging how much Del Rio and staff wanted to support the scouting process. McKenzie ultimately pulls the trigger on draft day, but Del Rio has a loud voice in the room as he looks for players who fit his locker room and his schemes.
McKenzie has open ears, taking advice from the entire coaching staff while arranging his draft board. This time of year especially, coaches and scouts are working together.
“It’s been unified since Day 1,” Del Rio said. “Reggie and I are very unified and much on the same mission and that is to bring a world championship home to this organization. Everything we’re doing is attacking that, adding these impact players where we can.”
The pair was focused on improving a lackluster roster that featured Derek Carr and Khalil Mack but finished 3-13 the year before. Now their partnership is entering Phase II.
They must decide which players to add, and decide which previously drafted players to keep. There are some obvious extensions in the works, with Carr, Mack and Gabe Jackson. They had to let some homegrown talent go in free agency as they attempt to upgrade depth and build a championship roster that can build on last year’s success.
“There’s a whole different phase that we’re about to go through as an organization as you begin to mature, some of those players have to be re-signed or not. Those are decisions you have to make in all of this. This is year three for us working together and I feel like the relationship with the scouts and the coaches and the sharing of information is excellent. We want to continue to work that way.”
The Raiders have an opening in their secondary.
Finding a slot cornerback is a top priority with DJ Hayden now in Detroit. TJ Carrie is an option there, but the Raiders could add a young, versatile talent capable of taking a more prominent role down the line.
That’s true despite the fact Sean Smith signed a free-agent deal through 2019 last year and David Amerson received a contract extension through the 2020 season. Those contracts, however, become pay-as-you-go deals after this season.
The dead money goes away, freeing the Raiders to look for long-term upgrades if they see fit.
Head coach Jack Del Rio loves creating competition and depth, especially at such an important position in today’s NFL. The Raiders like larger, physical cornerbacks with ball skills, and there are plenty in this year’s draft.
Many analysts have the Raiders taking a cornerback at No. 24 overall, and that’s a realistic possibility. They could certainly look to help last year’s No. 24-ranked secondary in the early rounds.
Let’s take a look at some top options available in this week’s draft:
Good fits:There are quite a few quality cornerbacks who could be available at No. 24 overall, even if there’s an early run on the position.
Oakland native and Washington alum Kevin King visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and certainly fits what the Raiders like in a cornerback. He’s confident and aggressive, unafraid to use great physical traits to make plays on the ball. He’s tall and long and isn’t afraid to tackle.
USC’s Adoree Jackson has the quality ball skills the Raiders like, and is adept high-pointing the ball. Analysts say he can play several coverage techniques and has the agility to make up for mistakes. He can work in the slot, but at 5-foot-10 isn’t as tall as the Raiders like. They’d have to take him in the first round. He may not last beyond that.
San Jose native and Colorado product Chidobe Awuzie is another interesting local defensive back ready to turn pro. He can play outside or in the slot, and analysts say he has excellent one-on-one coverage skills but needs tackling work. He was a solid slot blitzer at Colorado, and could fill an immediate need crucial against so many three and four receiver sets.
Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White has experience playing the slot, and could help right away there before transferring outside if asked. He can cover extremely well, though analysts say he isn’t much of a tackler. He might be a tweener as far as the Raiders are concerned, not worthy of the No. 24 pick but long gone before the Raiders pick in the second round.
Central Florida’s Shaquill Griffin visited the Raiders this spring, and rightfully so. A willing run defender with good ball skills and tackling ability who could be available in the third round should intrigue them.