Injury report: Raiders' McGee returns, Edwards Jr remains out

Injury report: Raiders' McGee returns, Edwards Jr remains out

ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive tackle Stacy McGee had a case of cabin fever over the past few weeks. He’s been in the team complex during recent practice weeks, working to rehab an ankle sprained in a Week 7 victory at Jacksonville.

He did a day’s side work during the week spent in Florida, but has been huddled up at home getting treatment inside.

McGee was finally cleared to practice on Thursday, the final workout of the bye week. Players spread across the country after that session with five straight days off prior to prep for the Houston Texans on Nov. 22 in Mexico City.

McGee is staying put in order to continue treatment on an ankle he hopes is healthy enough to play the Texans.

Getting back to practice is a major hurdle, one McGee was happy to clear.

“It felt good to be out there running around with the team again,” McGee said. “It felt good to get out of this building and touch the grass and contribute in a practice.”

Cornerback Sean Smith practiced during both days during the bye, with the hope that he can return for the Texans game.

The Raiders rested a few players this week, including running back Latavius Murray, and offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele, Donald Penn and Rodney Hudson.

“The guys that can work, worked, and we backed down some guys of our own choosing,” Del Rio said. “It’s about developing players as we go through the year. We’ll expect to be better as a team as the season moves on.”

Defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. remains out rehabbing a hip injury. He was placed on injured reserve before the season opener, and is eligible to practice and play at this stage. He has not been cleared to practice, making it less likely he’ll be ready to play the Texans as the Raiders had hoped.

His return date remains uncertain. He’ll need some prep time considering he hasn’t played since injuring his hip in the preseason opener, but there is no timetable set between when a player on IR can return to practice and then play.

Del Rio didn’t update Edwards Jr.’s status on Thursday afternoon. His recovery has been slower than originally expected, though he is still expected to return at some point this season.

NOTE: Raiders running back Latavius Murray was named the FedEx Ground player of the week on Thursday, after he rushed 20 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Denver on Sunday night. The weekly award is given to the best rusher, and is determined by a fan vote. 

Gruden, McKenzie set to sell Suh on the Silver and Black


Gruden, McKenzie set to sell Suh on the Silver and Black

UPDATE (March 21, 12:02 p.m.): Free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will no longer make a scheduled Wednesday trip to visit the Raiders, according to NFL Network. He is at home, considering the Rams, Titans and Saints. 


Ndamukong Suh’s coming to Alameda. Jon Gruden, Paul Guenther and Reggie McKenzie will have a chance to make a pitch, explaining exactly why the superstar defensive tackle belongs in the Silver and Black.

McKenzie (and owner Mark Davis) would’ve relished this opportunity last time Suh was a free agent. The Raiders had plenty of cap space in 2015 but oh, so many needs coming off a 3-13 campaign, and weren’t prepared for his market value to go nuclear. McKenzie steered clear of the mushroom cloud, and Suh’s deal set a new market for defensive players.

He made $60 million over three years in Miami, but didn’t see his contract’s second half after lackluster team results and hints of inconsistent effort. The Dolphins are reportedly angling for a culture change, and didn’t think Suh would help the transition.

That put him back on the open market, with more guaranteed dollars dancing in his head. Suh’s on a free-agent tour rare in the modern NFL, where dollars are committed quick once free agency opens. Suh’s slow playing this one, thus far hopping from New Orleans to Tennessee to L.A. to see the Rams on a private jet. His charter will land in Oakland Wednesday, according to a Tuesday report from ESPN, to see what the Raiders have to offer.

There’s little doubt what Suh can bring. He might be the best interior defensive lineman east of L.A.’s Aaron Donald -- yes, there are a few other top talents -- and would be a perfect fit for Guenther’s scheme. That system needs a Geno Atkins type. He made the Guenther’s Bengals go in recent seasons, and Suh’s certainly as good or better when going strong.

The real question’s what the Raiders can offer that others can’t. The Titans and Rams have more salary-cap space, as it stands right now. The Raiders are the only non-playoff team in his bunch, with the other three seemingly on the rise.

The Raiders could champion playing with Khalil Mack. The Rams have Donald, the Titans have Jurell Casey and the Saints have Cam Jordan. Suh has made reference to the final three in interviews with Yahoo! Sports.

Gruden, however, is certainly a selling point. Several signed free agents cited the A-list head coach as an attraction to joining the Raiders. A healthy, impactful Derek Carr and Suh’s addition to the defense could make the Raiders a real contender right away, something that will obviously get brought up in Wednesday’s visit.

Suh’s an Oregon kid, and the Raiders are the closest team to home. That might help.

He could make a pros and cons list about market, state tax issues, chances of winning, coach and locker room culture, but the almighty dollar can’t be ignored.

Can the Raiders put together an attractive financial package, one that would make them truly appealing? That’s the (multi-)million dollar question?

The Raiders don’t have tons of salary-cap space. In fact they're up against the threshold, though cutting veterans without guaranteed money easily creates space. The Raiders could keep Suh’s 2018 cap number lower through a signing bonus and fat roster bonuses in future years.

Make no mistake: the cap is not an impenetrable road block. The Raiders might have to get away from contract structuring practices that McKenzie’s people used to reach excellent salary-cap standing. That’s especially true considering the monster deal given to Carr last year and the mega-extension Mack will get soon.

We say all that with one caveat. Suh’s exact team-selection criteria aren’t clear. There’s no telling if this Alameda trip could help create a robust market, or if he’s taking the Raiders seriously. Making the trip means something, however, and will at least give Gruden and Co. a chance to woo Suh, lock him down and radically change expectations for the 2018 season.

Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere


Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere

The Raiders missed out on signing Ryan Grant. The former Washington receiver visited the team’s Alameda training complex, but left without a contract and ultimately chose to sign a one-year, $5 million deal with Indianapolis.

They lost that one, but are undeterred in their quest to upgrade the receiver corps.

They already signed Jordy Nelson and let Michael Crabtree walk, hoping for steady production and quality locker room leadership in the exchange.

Cordarrelle Patterson was traded to New England on Sunday, creating a spot in the position group.

The Raiders tried to fill it with Grant. No go, no matter.

They hosted veteran Eric Decker on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. They also declared interest in Allen Hurns, a player the Jaguars released Tuesday morning.

Hurns listed the Raiders among interested teams – he said there were 10 in total – in an interview with KFNZ radio in Charlotte, N.C.

Hurns has a 1,000-yard season to his credit – his biggest year came with now-Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson as Jacksonville's O.C. -- and two relative down years since. Injuries have also played a part in that.

Decker had a stellar four-year run with Denver and the New York Jets, but was less effective during two seasons in Tennessee. The 31-year old has experience in the slot, and could be a productive No. 3 option in Jon Gruden’s offense.

Gruden doesn't mind working with veteran receivers, something clear from his past and willingness to add Nelson as a major contributor. 

Even if the Raiders don't land a veteran receiver, they could also look for a receiver in the NFL draft.

Amari Cooper will remain the No. 1 option. Seth Roberts has $4.45 million guaranteed in 2018. Johnny Holton, Isaac Whitney and Keon Hatcher are also on the roster.