OAKLAND – Raiders cornerback Sean Smith really wanted to play Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos. A shoulder injury called that into question.
He tested the injury twice during the practice week, and believed a harness could help him play well. Smith declared himself ready to play on Friday, and hoped to convince coaches to let him play this primetime game.
“Any true competitor would want that spotlight,” Smith said Friday. “At the cornerback position, we have the target on our back. To go out there and hold it down and win in front of our home fans and a national television audience, that’s what you work for.”
The coaching staff didn’t budge. Smith was declared inactive against Denver, giving him two more weeks to heal with a bye between Sunday’s game and a Monday night affair versus Houston in Mexico City.
TJ Carrie will see more snaps in this one as the third cornerback, with DJ Hayden expected to move outside in the base defense and inside in sub packages.
Offensive tackle Menelik Watson is active for the first time since Week 3, though Austin Howard is still expected to start on the right side. Watson and Denver Kirkland should see snaps as extra blockers in certain formations.
The Denver Broncos have cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster inactive with injury, leaving youth to play with Bradley Roby and Chris Harris Jr. when extra receivers take the field.
In addition to Smith, quarterback Connor Cook, cornerback Dexter McDonald, offensive linemen Matt McCants and Vadal Alexander, tight end Ryan O’Malley and defensive tackle Stacy McGee were ruled inactive. McGee was ruled out earlier in the week.
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.