Raiders let Murray, 2017 free agent class hit open market

Raiders let Murray, 2017 free agent class hit open market

The Raiders’ exclusive negotiating window for many of last year’s contributors has come to a close. A baker’s dozen will become unrestricted free agents on Thursday afternoon and, as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, can start taking calls from other teams.

There are four starters and several key contributors in the group, including running back Latavius Murray, linebackers Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley and cornerback DJ Hayden.

Several of those players (a complete list can be found below) won’t be brought back. All will hit the open market, a common practice for the Raiders and their unrestricted free agents. The open markets can set a value for their players that the Raiders can meet or reject. If it’s lower than the Silver and Black’s initial valuation, then a bargain can be had.

The Raiders have most key contributors under contract, and could look for upgrades over guys with expiring contracts.

Murray’s the biggest name in the group. A Pro Bowler two seasons ago, Murray scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per carry as part of a rushing rotation with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

The Raiders allowed him to reach the open market, though they haven’t eliminated a possible return. Left tackle Donald Penn went through a similar experience last season. He took some visits, but ended up staying with the Raiders.

Murray should have interest from several teams, but he’s one of several veteran running backs set for the market. Time will tell if it’s a bull or a bear. The latter might help bring Murray back, which would please many in the Raiders locker room including quarterback Derek Carr.

It’s possible another team will offer a better deal to a rusher who might have one big chance at free agency. The Raiders might try to find a veteran like Adrian Peterson or Eddie Lacy, or mine talent in the NFL draft.

Head coach Jack Del Rio was clear to say Murray isn’t being discarded.

“That’s a fluid situation. We’re not closing the door on anybody,” Del Rio said last week. “:There are a lot of players on our roster (heading for free agency). We’d love to have them all back. It doesn’t always work that way. We’ll work through it the best we can and try to remain in contact with all of our players and retain those we can. I wouldn’t close the door prematurely on anybody.”

The Raiders are expected to tender restricted free agent defensive lineman Denico Autry and most of their exclusive rights free agents.

Here’s a complete list of Raiders free agents:

UNSIGNED FREE AGENTS
Unrestricted

-- LB Malcolm Smith
-- S Nate Allen
-- CB DJ Hayden
-- QB Matt McGloin
-- WR Andre Holmes
-- OT Menelik Watson
-- LB Perry Riley
-- LS Jon Condo
-- LB Daren Bates
-- S Brynden Trawick
-- RB Latavius Murray
-- TE Mychal Rivera
-- DT Stacy McGee

Restricted
-- DL Denico Autry

Exclusive rights
-- WR Seth Roberts
-- TE Gabe Holmes
-- OL Denver Kirkland
-- S SaQwan Edwards

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.