Raiders special teams takes another hit, Holmes agrees on contract with Bills

Raiders special teams takes another hit, Holmes agrees on contract with Bills

The Raiders special teams coverage units have taken a beating this offseason.

Brynden Trawick and Darren Bates took heftier paychecks from the Titans last week.

The Raiders lost another key component on Saturday afternoon, when receiver Andre Holmes signed with the Buffalo Bills. NFL Network reports the deal is worth $6.5 million over three years.

This one foreshadowed. National reports of a pact with Buffalo surfaced on Wednesday due to a contract offer run through the NFLPA system that looked like an agreed-upon deal.

Holmes refuted the completed deal on Twitter, a social media service he rarely uses.

He confirmed the Buffalo contract on Twitter, saying “What’s up #BillsMafia”

Holmes was a long-serving Raiders, someone who suffered through rough seasons in 2013 and ’14 before helping usher in improved results the last few seasons.

Holmes was solid deep threat and a red-zone target on offense, and developed into an excellent special teams player. That was especially true on punt coverage, where he was adept downing Marquette King’s punts inside the 20-yard line.

Holmes fell back on the depth chart after the Raiders drafted Amari Cooper and signed Michael Crabtree, though he had 14 catches for 126 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Holmes expressed a desire to remain with the Raiders, especially after being with the team during lean years and helped the Silver and Black rise to prominence.

The 28-year old’s departure seemed set after the Raiders signed Cordarrelle Patterson, an All-Pro return man who is a solid gunner in coverage. Patterson will also slide into Holmes No. 4 receiver slot.

Holmes took time to thank Raiders fans before focusing on his new team: 

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.