ALAMEDA – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials have recently met with Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith, but still haven’t ruled on his application for reinstatement.
He has been banished as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy, though he has been eligible for reinstatement since Nov. 17.
Goodell hasn’t acted Smith’s application for reinstatement, but responded to a question about the edge rusher’s status during a Wednesday press conference at an NFL owners meeting in Texas.
He was asked if it’s realistic if Smith could be back in time to play during the regular season or the playoffs.
Goodell said there is no timetable for a ruling on Smith, and that information regarding Smith’s case is still being vetted.
“I think it was good for us to be able to meet with Aldon, to hear from him directly and hear from his representative. The union was also represented there,” Goodell said. “We’re going through all of the information to make sure we have it all absolutely accurate, and that we understand exactly where he is in the process of trying to get himself in a position where he has his life in order enough to resume an NFL career.
“It was good for me to hear from him personally. When we get to that (final) decision, we’ll certainly announce it.”
The Raiders have three games remaining, including Sunday’s contest at San Diego. They could clinch a playoff spot by beating the Chargers.
Smith is in great physical shape and wouldn’t need much practice time before being ready to play.
Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.
NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression
Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.
That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.
The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.
It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.
Marshawn Lynch restructured his contract this week, virtually locking him in for the 2018 Raiders season.
The veteran exchanged some base salary for guaranteed funds and an increased incentive package, according to contract details obtained Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review Journal.
His base salary drops from $4 million to $2.5 million, but becomes guaranteed. None of the funds Lynch had coming in his previous deal were guaranteed. He has a $1 million roster bonus coming on Saturday, just six days after receiving a $1 million roster bonus as required in his old contract.
That essentially guarantees him $4.5 million, as sure a sign as any he’ll be the Raiders feature back. Lynch will lead his position group, with support from veteran addition Doug Martin. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are also on the roster, though it’s uncertain if both guys will remain there this fall.
Lynch can also earn $3.75 million in incentives, a significant increase from the $2 million available in the previous deal.
The Raiders saved $500,000 in salary cap space with the new deal.