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Free agency could help solve Raiders' cornerback conundrum


Free agency could help solve Raiders' cornerback conundrum

General manager Reggie McKenzie has drafted five cornerbacks, signed seven expected starters in offseason free agency and claimed another on waivers during his Raiders tenure. He doesn’t have much to show for it.

The veteran additions rarely lasted long – in fairness, most were viewed as stopgaps -- averaging 1.25 seasons in silver and black, though one vet, Sean Smith, remains under contract at least to this point.

Amateur selections haven’t panned out, though there’s hope Gareon Conely can anchor his position group after a rookie season lost to a shin injury.

Last year’s first-round pick is penciled into the starting lineup, but uncertainty reigns at that position.

David Amerson was cut earlier this offseason. Smith remains on the roster, though it’s likely the $8.25 million he’s due is taken off the books. TJ Carrie is a week from unrestricted free agency.

The Raiders need to find solutions, long-term preferably, at this vital spot.

There are some top-flight cornerbacks in this draft, though it’s possible Ohio State’s Denzel Ward is gone before the Raiders select No. 10 overall.

There’s a strong belief, after speaking to league sources at the NFL Scouting Combine, that the Raiders will address the position in free agency.

Virtual sure things cost significant funds, and Raiders salary-cap folks will be mindful of the massive extension eventually due to Khalil Mack.

There’s quality set to hit the open market. L.A. Rams cover man Trumaine Johnson and New England’s Malcolm Butler headline that list. Kyle Fuller received the transition tag – it only gives Chicago the right to match an offer – and could be had with a weighty, well-crafted deal and no compensation sent the Bears’ way. Chicago, however, clearly wants to keep him. Indianapolis’ Rashaan Melvin should also be available after a breakout year disrupted some by a hand injury.

There’s also quality in the next tier – those guys would be better economic fits -- to get a No. 2 corner with Conley as the top guy.

Acquiring an established veteran shouldn’t stop the Raiders from re-signing Carrie. He wants to remain in Oakland, and the Raiders like him. He is a quality contributor who could prove a steady No. 3 with starter’s experience in 2018. Bringing him back would be a smart play.

The Raiders could still draft a prospect later on to provide injury protection and possibly fortify the group long-term.

That’s essential for a team that has ranked 20th or worse in five of McKenzie’s six seasons as general manager and no better than 24th the past three years, after he has a chance to finally fix the secondary.

Steph Curry's 30th birthday party was so epic that the Warriors cancelled Tuesday's practice

Kevin Durant/Instagram

Steph Curry's 30th birthday party was so epic that the Warriors cancelled Tuesday's practice

Steph Curry turns 30 years old on Wednesday, but with the Warriors playing the Lakers, his friends and family decided to hold the party for him on Monday night.

Most of Curry's Warriors teammates attended the bash. Things must have gone late into the night because the team cancelled the planned practice for 11am on Tuesday.

Special guests included E-40, Paramore  and Lecrae. Curry himself took a turn on the mic and belted out a few bars.

Based on the videos from the party, it appears Curry may have gotten a small yacht for a present.

Don't feel bad that you weren't invited. There were enough videos posted on Instagram Stories by Steph, his wife Ayesha, his sister Sydel, his brother Seth and E-40, among others. Check out some of the best here:

Counting down top plays of Steph Curry's career before 30th birthday -- No. 2

Counting down top plays of Steph Curry's career before 30th birthday -- No. 2

Programming note: In the lead up to Stephen Curry's 30th birthday on March 14th, we will be unveiling the top plays of his historic career. Check back Wednesday for the No. 1.

Curry No. 2: Epic 35-foot game-winner in OT vs Thunder on Feb. 27, 2016

The Warriors are locked in an epic battle against an Oklahoma City team featuring Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and it looks bad when Curry leaves in the third quarter after rolling his left ankle.

He not only returns but also conquers, scoring 46 points, including 12 3-pointers, punctuated by pulling up from 35 feet to sink the game-winner in OT. It is the biggest shot of the regular season.

[RELATED: Counting down top plays of Steph Curry's career before 30th birthday -- No. 3]