Raiders mulling franchise tag options

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Raiders mulling franchise tag options

Feb. 3, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

The Raiders have not been shy in recent years about using the franchise andor transition tags to keep free agents they like in house.So with the NFLs senior vice president and general counsel Peter Rucco telling the Boston Globe teams can use the tag starting Feb. 10 for a two-week period, speculation has begun as to on which player the Raiders should use it.Especially since it had been thought the tags could not be used, what with the collective bargaining agreement expiring March 3 and the threat of a work stoppage looming.The CBA hasnt expired, and the CBA has the right to franchise players, Rucco told the Globe, so we are telling clubs that you have the right to franchise players, and then depending on what the new agreement says, that will take into account.The Raiders have 31 contracts expiring. Fourteen of them are from players who would be unrestricted free agents with the current CBA rules in place; seven more with five years of service time; and six that would be restricted free agents.GUTIERREZ: Eyeing Oakland's free-agent merry-go-round
Last year, the Raiders slapped the franchise tag on defensive tackle Richard Seymour and he earned 12.4 million for his Pro Bowl season (he pulled out early, though, with a strained hamstring).Hes the obvious candidate to be franchised again, though he would get a 120 pay increase as a result, bumping him to 14.88 million. Or, it would be the new franchise number, whichever is higher, and Macs Football blog says Seymour would get between 14.273 million and 15.57 million from the Raiders, depending upon which franchise tag (exclusivenon-exclusive) designation they place upon him.Owner Al Davis has already expressed a reluctance to pay All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha 17 million, so would he go just under that for a defensive lineman? (Asomugha is not eligible to be tagged, as part of his contract voiding)It makes more financial sense to lock Seymour up to a longer-term deal, though he will be 32 years old next season.A very unscientific poll on Twitter found fans backing a franchising of Seymour, followed by tight end Zach Miller, running back Michael Bush and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.A look then at the purported candidates to be franchised by the Raiders, should they choose to use the tag again:Seymour: It would be quick and dirty but might actually anger tweak Seymour, who seemingly wants more security than a one-year deal. Still, hed be paid handsomely. Almost too much. Just keep in mind that Davis has no issue in overpaying for players he likes.Miller: Coming off his fourth season, hed be a restricted free agent under current rules, meaning the Raiders would have first right of refusal in contract negotiations. Hes coming off his first Pro Bowl season and has led the Raiders in receptions the past three years running. The expected franchise number for tight ends for 2011 is 7.285 million, which would be a nice raise for Miller, who made 466,760 last season.Bush: Like Miller, Bush is a fourth-year guy who has shown flashes of being an every down back and was talked about glowingly by Davis in his media conference. But does Darren McFaddens breakout season make Bush expendable, or does McFaddens injury-prone past worry the Raiders enough to keep the two together? The expected franchise number for running backs for 2011 is 9.864 million. Bush also made a relatively paltry 466,760 in 2010.Wimbley: The first-year Raiders strong-side linebacker led Oakland in sacks with nine after coming over from Cleveland in a trade. He was part of the teams overhaul at linebacker with rookie Rolando McClain in the middle and Quentin Groves and rookie Travis Goethel sharing time on the weak side. The expected franchise number for linebackers in 2011 is 10.191 million. He made 685,000 last year.What'syour take? Email Pauland let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.

 

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

ALAMEDA -- Todd Downing and Calvin Johnson go way back. The Raiders offensive coordinator got to know the retired Detroit receiver during four seasons coaching Lions quarterbacks, a relationship benefitted current Silver and Black receivers this week.

Johnson is in Alameda as a special guest and advisor for the first week of Raiders OTAs, offering tips and tricks learned during an excellent career.

“(Downing) thought it’d be a great idea for our wide receivers to just pick his brain and have him be around and give us a point here or there,” Del Rio said. “Talk about some of the things that he did so well in his career and how we might be able to have some of our guys learn from that. It’s great to have him out here.”

Amari Cooper gravitated towards Johnson, and has spent significant time picking his brain

“I’ve just been asking him a whole bunch of questions,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “How does he run certain routes? What was his regimen like? And how he was so productive? He’s a really cool guy. He’s been giving me some really great feedback, so he’s nice to have around.”

Johnson’s a unique talent, a difficult cover at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. Cooper operates in a smaller frame and has different receiving strengths, but still found wisdom in working with Megatron.

“He just gave me some really good tips on like how I can run some of my routes,” Cooper said. “…he’s a different receiver than I am, obviously. But I really admire the way he high-points the ball and that’s something that I try to do as well.”

Cooper does most everything well, and has had a productive start to his NFL career. He’s just the third receiver in NFL history to exceed 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – Odell Beckham and Marques Colston are the others – and made the Pro Bowl after both campaigns.

He continues to tinker with his approach and offseason workouts, trying to finish seasons stronger and become an even more dynamic player. Cooper has no problem learning from others, especially the greats.

“I seek advice all the time,” Cooper said. “My rookie year, when I was fortunate enough to go to the Pro Bowl, I asked Adrian Peterson like when did he start working out, how did he go about his offseason. And I tried to pattern after him a little bit.”

Cooper is smarter and working better thanks to information absorbed from others, which he hopes will help him become a deadly weapon.

“I know he’s just scratching the surface of what he wants to accomplish in this league,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Very prideful. Amari has always been very serious about the game and works hard at everything, really. His conditioning level and understanding what he needs to be able to do to play at a high level. Again, talking and having a guy like Calvin here as we’re getting started in these OTAs, to be able to share some of the insight of what he experienced playing that position is very valuable for us.”