Raiders

Raiders 2017 free agent tracker

Raiders 2017 free agent tracker

The Raiders enter free agency hoping to fortify a talented roster with some veteran improvements. General manager Reggie McKenzie generally made smart moves this time last year, which brought productive players into the fray. The NFL’s 2016 executive of the year spent in the right spots, avoided some pratfalls and helped the Raiders construct a team worthy of last season’s 12-4 record.

McKenzie will likely be less active this year, though some important needs can still be filled with veteran imports. That effort started at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the beginning of a two-day window where teams can speak with a free agent’s representative to start working on terms of a deal that can be formally executed on Thursday afternoon.

Those are the rules, which are surely broken across the league. Terms will be agreed upon over the next few days, as the Raiders contact prospective employees and try to get them to play in silver and black.

Here’s a feed of Raiders activity in free agency that will be updated regularly in the coming days. Check back often. It’s going to be a busy week.

Sunday, March 4

4:47 a.m.: The Boston Globe reports that the Raiders are among four teams with interest in New England tight end Martellus Bennett. The versatile talent has made it clear he’s looking for top dollar entering free agency, but has the size and athleticism to be a real offensive force.

Tuesday, March 7

10:47 a.m.: The Chicago Sun Times reports the Bears are among four teams with interest in signing Raiders receiver Andre Holmes. The 49ers and Lions are in the group. It's been long known the Raiders would like to re-sign Holmes, who has become an excellent special teams player while providing excellent depth as a fourth receiver. Holmes said after the season he hoped to remain in Oakland, but the promise of more offensive snaps in Chicago -- he's from Illinois -- or San Francisco may be appealing to the 28-year old. 

2:34 p.m.: NFLN reporter Stacey Dales, citing a source close to running back Adrian Peterson, reports that the Raiders are an attractive landing spot in free agency. She also mentioned the Seahawks as a possible destination for the long-time Minnesota Viking. The Raiders have been linked to Peterson for several days now, since the Vikings declined his 2017 contract option. He might not be a perfect, three-down fit in Oakland's scheme, but Peterson's production and talent is undeniable. Terms of the contract would be key to a Raiders signing, especially considering the depth of rushing talent available in this year's NFL draft. ...The St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke to Peterson's father, who said the Raiders have expressed interest, and that running behind the Raiders offensive line is attractive to his son. 

Wednesday, March 8

7:47 a.m.: According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Raiders will let linebacker Malcolm Smith, tight end Mychal Rivera and quarterback Matt McGloin leave as unrestricted free agents. Those players were always expected to leave without a contract offer. That includes Smith, who started 30 games over the last two seasons. 

7:51 a.m.: Running back Adrian Peterson has interest in the Raiders but, per ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Raiders don't have the same level of interest in him. That interest could change if Peterson's asking price drops. 

8:18 a.m.: A league source told CSN Bay Area that the Raiders gave restricted free agent defensive lineman Denico Autry an orginal round tender. Autry was an undrafted free agent out of college, meaning the Raiders won't receive any compensation if they don't match an offer sheet from another team. If Autry remains in Oakland and plays under the tender, he'll make $1.79 million next season. 

10:10 a.m.: The Denver Broncos are interested in offensive tackle Menelik Watson, per Denver television station 9News. The Raiders, however, are trying to keep him in Oakland. The team likes his athletics and demeanor. He's a productive player when healthy, with tremendous upside the Raiders hope to keep on the right side of their offensive line. 

5:53 p.m.: CSN Bay Area confirms that former Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith is talking about a new contract with teh 49ers. The Raiders were content to let Smith walk as an unrestricted free agent, and he might move to the South Bay on the first day of free agency. 

Thursday, March 9

12:16 p.m.: Defensive tackle Stacy McGee thanked the Raiders and Raiders fans for support over the first four years of his NFL career. The 2013 sixth-round pick did not include a destination in his farewell to Oakland. He was expected to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent, and he seems to have found another employer. 

1:15 p.m.: Special teams maven Daren Bates, who spent last season with the Raiders, has signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, according to ESPN.

1:25 p.m.: Stacy McGee agrees to terms on a five-year, $25 million contract with Washington, according to NFL Network. The Raiders wanted him back, but that's much more than they would've been willing to pay. 

1:39 p.m.: Latavius Murray will visit the Seattle Seahawks, per ESPN.

1:46 p.m.: Top special teams player Bryden Trawick agreed on a contract with the Tennessee Titans, CBS Sports reported. Trawick flashed some ability playing strong safety at the end of his only season as a Raider, when he was use primarily in special teams coverage. The Raiders wanted him back, but a a two year deal worth up to $6.85 million was too much for the Silver and Black. 

3:13 p.m.: The Raiders are still in the mix to re-sign receiver Andre Holmes, a source told CSN Bay Area, though he has other suitors for his services. The Raiders want to bring him back, especially with some core special teams players signing elsewhere. 

7:43 p.m.: The Raiders offered contract tenders to three exclusive rights free agents a source told CSN Bay Area. Receiver Seth Roberts, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and tight end Gabe Holmes will re-join the club next season. 

8:50 p.m.: Safety Nate Allen will visit the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Herald reported. Allen will look for an opportunity to start after being a reserve last season. He was a starter his first five NFL seasons after getting drafted by Philadelphia. 

Friday, March 10

5:36 a.m.: Former Raiders first-round pick DJ Hayden agreed on terms of a one-year contract worth up to $5.25 million, according to ESPN.

12:59 p.m.: Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson, a second-round pick in 2013, agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos, a source said, reportedly worth up to $18 million. 

1:17 p.m.: Safety Nate Allen is close to completing a deal with the Dolphins, the Miami Hearld reports. Allen visited that team's facility last night. He is from the southern part of Florida. 

1:21 p.m.: Minnesota receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson will visit the Raiders facility, according to the NFL Network. He previously visited Washington's football club, but left without a contract. He had a career-high 52 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns last season, though his primary value comes on special teams. He has five kickoff return touchdowns in four years, and averages 30.4 yards per return in his career. The Raiders have looked hard for a dynamic return man. Patterson would certainly fit that bill. 

9:26 p.m.: The Raiders agreed on terms of a two-year contract with offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse, a league source told CSN Bay Area

Saturday, March 11

5:36 a.m.: The Raiders are among four teams to show "preliminary interest" in defensive tackle Dontari Poe, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

7:15 a.m.: Receiver Andre Holmes will visit the Lions, accordong to NFL Network. The Raiders remain hopeful that Holmes will return. 

1:36 p.m: Vikings receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to meet with the Raiders on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

2:33 p.m.: Raiders free agent running back Latavius Murray is scheduled to meet with the Jaguars on Monday and the Seahawks Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

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AP

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”

Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR

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AP

Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR

ALAMEDA – Obi Melifonwu participated in a Raiders practice Tuesday afternoon, his first session in months.

The second-round safety has been on injured reserve all season and hasn’t done football activities of any kind since suffering a knee injury in a preseason game in Dallas.

He had arthroscopic knee surgery and was put on the shelf for the season’s first half. Melifonwu's professional career barely started and then quickly stopped. That's why Wednesday's practice was such a big deal. 

“It was awesome to get back out there, finally,” Melfonwu said. “It’s been a while. It was beyond fun to just be out there and practice with the team."

He nearing a return to game action. That’s why the Raiders designated him to return off injured reserve. Wednesday marks the start of a three-week practice window where the Raiders can decide whether to put him on the 53-roster.

He’s expected to do so when eligible. Melifonwu was first able to practice this week, and can join the 53-man roster after Week 8. His NFL debut could come in Week 9 at Miami.

He can't wait, especially because he's physically ready now. 

"I feel 100 percent," Meilfonwu said. I feel fine."

The Raiders still struggle covering the aforementioned skill players, using young linebackers or an undersized safety against those guys. The Raiders have given up the most yards to tight ends and running backs in the NFL this season. Melifonwu was drafted to help cover tight ends and running backs right away in sub packages, with a long-term eye on a full-time starting spot.

"I bring versatility, and I think I’m a guy who can fit into a lot of different spots," Melifonwu said. "Wherever the coaches need me to fit and help the team win, I’m all for it."

He has missed significant development time while out. He also missed most of training camp with an apparent ankle injury. The team hopes he can be ready to contribute when eligible despite missing so much time. The downtime was difficult, but Melifonwu now hopes to hit the ground running.

"It was definitely tough," he said. "As a competitor, you always want to be out there helping your team win. As a guy who hasn’t been hurt, it was pretty tough. It comes with playing football. I’m just glad to be out there now."