Raiders suspend McClain

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Raiders suspend McClain

As suspected, the Raiders have suspended middle linebacker Rolando McClain two games for "conduct detrimental to the team," the team announced in a release Friday morning, rather than cut him.The longest the team can suspend a player without pay is four weeks. The Raiders have five games remaining on their schedule.With a CBSSportsline report saying a "heated" discussion between McClain and coach Dennis Allen ended with the player being sent off the practice field on Wednesday, Allen said Thursday, "Theres going to be consequences to his actions and its a team-related issue."Allen would not elaborate further.But this much is already out there: after allegedly being kicked out of practice, McClain purportedly took to his Facebook page."Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!" he wrote, before adding, "Well technically I am. But I'm mentally done. Just waiting on my papers."Later: "It's out of my hands right now." Then, "I'm gonna weigh my options. Looking forward to playing for an actual 'team.'" His final post: "I'd like to be anywhere besides here."McClain, the disappointing No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Alabama, probably gets his wish as he's most likely played his final game with the Raiders, because cutting him would actually be rewarding him, in a sense.The middle linebacker, who played inside in a 3-4 alignment in college, is still owed a prorated 285,294.12 of his 970,000 base salary for 2012. Simply cutting him would keep the Raiders on the hook for that money, and McClain would be free to sign elsewhere and double-dip paycheck-wise while being allowed to share his knowledge of the Raiders' schemes.
RELATED: Rolando McClain career stats 2012 game logs
Still, McClain has struggled mightily this season, being taken off the field in nickel packages after Week 4 this season and losing the "green sticker" on his helmet and thus, no longer being the playcaller on defense. In his career, McClain has 6 12 sacks, one interception, on forced fumble and no fumble recoveries in 41 games.Plus, it was one year ago today when McClain was arrested for, and later convicted of, charges of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to six months in jail and slapped with a 2,000 fine. Former coach Hue Jackson allowed him to play the following weekend in Miami.Since then, the Raiders are 4-12.Earlier this month, after he appealed, the charges were dropped."I'm aware of the bad publicity that I've given the Raiders," McClain said in a statement to reporters back in May. "After talking to Coach (Dennis) Allen, I have the support of the Raiders, my teammates, as well as the coaching staff. I apologize for the bad publicity that's been put out there. But it is a legal process and I can't talk much about it, but I think in due time the Raiders and the Raiders fans that are out there will see it all come to an end. It is what it is; I can't really talk much about it but it will be resolved in the near future."WIth a new regime in place at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, McClain was given a clean slate by incoming general manager Reggie McKenzie."Since we've been here, he's been great," McKenzie told a group of reporters in a roundtable session following the end of mandatory minicamp in June. "I'm not going to hold anything over his head about what he's done in the past. We're only concerned what he does from here on out."McClain is due to make 4.005 million in base salary in 2013 (with a salary cap number of 6.675 million), 5.805 million in 2014 (8.475 million cap number) and 2.665 million (5.085 million cap number) in 2015, all per his rookie contract.

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

It’s officially NFL draft week. Marshawn Lynch still isn’t a Raider.

A contract impasse remained as of Sunday morning, a few days before general manager Reggie McKenzie’s desire for a by-Thursday resolution.

Deadlines, even soft ones, prompt deals. But Marshawn is unique, adding a level of uncertainty to procedings. 

The Raiders would prefer Lynch agree to terms on a new contract so they can acquire his rights from Seattle -- that’s the easier part – and know where they stand heading into the NFL Draft.

McKenzie left several doors cracked during a Friday pre-draft presser, saying Lynch’s presence wouldn’t stop him from drafting a rusher, not having the Oakland native wouldn’t guarantee it, and that there’s always a chance Lynch could come later no matter what happens during amateur selection.

Those things could be true. Or, you know, not. McKenzie prefers mystery this time of year.

Bottom line: The Raiders need a bigger back to pair with smaller, yet elusive runners DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

The Raiders want Lynch to fill the void. Ditto for Raider Nation, especially the Oakland state. A few free-agent options remain, including LaGarrette Blount. Or the Raiders could draft a back, something the Raiders have done well in later rounds.

They got Latavius Murray in the sixth round four years back, and he provided quality before changing uniforms this offseason. They got Washington in the fifth last time and pulled Richard from undrafted free agency. They could mine talent again this year. Waiting seems more likely if Lynch is around. 

Quality abounds in this draft class, with several worthy of early selections and talent easily found late. Let’s inspect McKenzie’s draft options at running back, should he need one:

Good fits: It’s hard to see the Raiders looking at a rusher in the first round, considering the draft’s depth at the position and major defensive needs. A first-round talent might be considered in the second. If controversial former Oklahoma rusher Joe Mixon is available following a free fall due to off-field issues described in detail here, a running back might come early.

Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara could be another Day 2 option, an explosive talent who analysts say has wiggle and power to create coveted yards after contact. He could be a three-down back thanks to quality as a receiver.

Odds are, however, the Raiders will look deeper into the draft. Wyoming’s Brian Hill was an excellent college producer who runs strong and might fit well into the Raiders rotation. Round projections vary, but he should be available on Day 3.

Pittsburgh’s James Conner offers great power at 233 pounds. He could run through tacklers and wear down defenses for the Raiders’ shift backs. He's also well known for drive and work ethic. He is projected as a fifth or sixth round pick.

Brigham Young’s Jamaal Williams might offer value and power rushing later in the draft. Clemson’s Wayne Gallman has tackle-breaking ability, but analysts say he isn’t a strong pass protector.

 

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

The Raiders had an NFL-worst 25 sacks last season, and that’s with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin in their employ. That duo had 18 sacks (and 11 forced fumbles) between them. That left only seven for everyone else. Stacy McGee and Denico Autry had 2.5 each, and McGee isn’t here anymore.

Mario Edwards Jr. was certainly missed last season, when he missed 14 games with a preseason hip injury. The versatile defensive lineman is a solid edge run defender and internal pass rusher in the sub package.

If he’s healthy, Edwards Jr. could pose a real threat rushing the passer next to Irvin or Mack.

“Having Mario healthy will make us a better defense, and that’s not just as a pass rusher,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in March. “He’s a solid run player. We’ve just got to have him healthy.

“But we’ll continue to add there, too.”

McKenzie subtracted one Tuesday, releasing Dan Williams to free salary cap space. He hasn’t yet added a defensive tackle in free agency, but could certainly do so in next week’s NFL draft.

There’s some quality interior pass rushers in this class. Let’s take a look at some options the Raiders could select and when:

Good fits: The Raiders select 24th overall in this draft, far lower than years past. Some quality defensive tackles might be a proper fit there, especially with depth at positions of need.

They could use some versatility, players like Edwards Jr. who can play multiple techniques. Michigan State’s Malik McDowell is an strong, athletic freak who analysts believe needs to improve his effort and technique. McDowell could develop into a top talent and be viewed as a steal at No. 24, or not realize full potential.

Michigan’s Chris Wormley is a versatile player in the Edwards Jr. mold, a player who seems to fit Raiders needs. Analysts says inconsistency is troubling but has the leadership quality and character the Raiders love. He can be a base end and move inside when required. He also has the size at 6-foot-5, 298 pounds and could develop well at the NFL level while making an immediate impact.

Florida’s Caleb Brantley is also an intriguing prospect adept at reaching the offensive backfield. Analysts say he’s a powerful player with quickness and an ability to work through blocks despite being slightly undersized. Brantley is potential to be a quality NFL pass rusher, and is confident in his ability. He didn’t play a high snap count at Florida, but the Raiders might use him in sub packages as a rookie and fill an important role right away. He’s viewed as a second round pick, and the Silver and Black might cross fingers he’s available at No. 56.

Auburn’s Montravius Adams could help if the Raiders are looking for more of a run stuffer. Clemson’s Carlos Watkins could also play multiple spots and could be available later in the middle rounds. Old Dominion’s Rashaad Coward also fits that mold and would be available in later rounds, though he hasn’t had much pass-rush production.