Raiders cut-day tracker: Narrowing roster to 53 before deadline

Raiders cut-day tracker: Narrowing roster to 53 before deadline

The Raiders are typically among the last teams to announce their 53-man roster. It’s hard to imagine general manager Reggie McKenzie bucking that trend this year. He likes to keep moves as quiet as possible – every team can see moves, even if they aren’t public – to help get guys he wants on a 10-man practice squad.

The effort is often futile. Information started trickling out Friday morning, well before Saturday afternoon’s cut deadline. The Raiders will decrease their 90-man roster to 53 by then, and will certainly scour the waiver wire looking for defensive help.

It isn’t a fun time for anyone in the league.

“It’s always hard,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You always try to be fair, but the reality is it’s a hard day. It’s really the hardest thing that we do is to have to tell young men that are really dedicated and giving us everything that they have and really have a great desire to be here and then tell them that that dream is over. They get an opportunity here, they get an opportunity in the rest of the league and they also get an opportunity on practice squad. Not only here, but the rest of the league. There are a lot of opportunities, and I hope as many of these young men can find squads as possible.”

We’ll post information on players waived and released right here as news breaks.


5:25 p.m.: The Raiders announced the full list of roster cuts. They have waived the following players:

Are, Kareem                            OL       6-6      325     R          Florida State

Atkinson III, George               RB       6-1      220     2          Notre Dame

Borders, Breon                       CB       6-0      189     R          Duke

Boyette, Paul                          DT       6-1      310     R          Texas

Brent, K.J.                               WR      6-3      200     1          Wake Forest

Briggs, Chauncey                    T          6-6      301     R          SMU

Brown, Fadol                          DE       6-4      282     R          Mississippi

Brown, Pharaoh                     TE        6-5      246     R          Oregon

Calhoun, Shilique                    LB        6-4      250     2          Michigan State

Cioffi, Anthony                       S          6-0      205     R          Rutgers

Crockett, John                        RB       6-0      215     2          North Dakota State

Durden, Kenneth                    CB       6-1      280     1          Youngstown State

East, Andrew                          LS        6-2      220     1          Vanderbilt

Enemkpali, IK                          LB/DE 6-1      260     4          Louisiana Tech

Harris, Najee                          LB        6-1      220     R          Wagner

Hatcher, Keon                        WR      6-1      212     R          Arkansas

Holmes, Gabe                         TE        6-5      255     3          Purdue

Hood, Elijah                            RB       5-11    230     R          North Carolina

Humes, Chris                          CB       6-0      201     R          Arkansas State

Jackson, Branden                   DL       6-4      270     1          Texas Tech

Jefferson, Rickey                    S          5-11    208     R          LSU

Johnson, Rufus                        LB/DE 6-5      280     1          Tarleton State

Lewis, LaTroy                         LB        6-3      254     R          Tennessee

McWilson, Marcus                 S          6-0      198     R          Kentucky

O’Malley, Ryan                       TE        6-6      260     2          Pennsylvania

Omoile, Oni                            G         6-2      310     1          Iowa State

Sheldon, Brady                       LB        6-5      230     R          Ferris State

Silberman, Ian                         G         6-5      305     2          Boston College

Simmons, Jordan                    G         6-3      339     R          USC

Tavecchio, Giorgio                 K          5-10    180     1          California

Whitney, Isaac                        WR      6-2      204     R          USC

Woodson-Luster, Xavier        LB        6-1      219     R          Arkansas State

Zamora, Ishmael                     WR      6-3      224     R          Baylor

TE Cooper Helfet was released. WR Jayden Mickens was Waived/Injured. LB Ben Heeney was Waived/Non-Football Injury. Jelani Jenkins was placed on the Reserve/Injured List.


2:22 p.m. Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun was waived, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The Mighigan State alum never flashed this preseason and didn't produce as a rookie in 2016, but was still expected to make the roster considering he was a third-round pick last year. Calhoun played defensive end in college but was moved to strongside linebacker behind Bruce Irvin, and edge rushing position that has occassional coverage responsibility. He was technically savvy, but never showed the athleticism to compete at his position. The Raiders are woefully thin at that spot considering they also waived undrafted rookie LaTroy Lewis earlier in the day. 

10:48 a.m.: The Raiders waived offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, defensive end Fadol Brown, guard/center Ian Silberman, long snapper Andrew East, receiver Ishmael Zamora, receiver Isaac Whitney and linebacker Brady Sheldon, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. 

10:46 a.m.: Receiver Jaydon Mickens was waived, per a league source. He didn't play Thursday due to an ankle injury, though he was likely a cut with the team keeping five receivers and Johnny Holton entrenched in the No. 5 spot. 

10:24 a.m.: The Raiders waived undrafted outside linebacker LaTroy Lewis, who became a fan favorite during an excellent preseason where he had three sacks, four tackles for losses and a fumble returned for a touchdown. The Silver and Black are hoping he makes it to the practice squad, but there's no guarantee he'll clear waivers after such strong exhibition performances. 

9:52 a.m.: Linebacker Ben Heeney announced tht he's no longer a Raider. A fifth-round pick from 2015, Heeney played four games last year before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. He spent the preseason on the non-football injury list, meaning he got hurt while away from the team. He wasn't able to enter a wide-open competition to be the team's middle linebacker, and was waived with an injury. 

9:21 a.m.: Receiver Keon Hatcher was waived, per his agent. The Raiders hope he clears waivers. If so, he'll be signed to the practice squad. 

9:05 a.m.: Linebacker Jelani Jenkins bid farewell to Raiders fans on social media. He inferred that he had been released in an Instagram post early Saturday morning. Jenkins seemed to be in line to start at one of the inside linebacker spots. He did not play in the Thursday night exhibition finale to preserve health. 

Jenkins was the Raiders' only defensive free-agent signing and was the only experienced inside linebacker on the roster. He had 34 starts to his credit. The Raiders were expected to bring in outside help at inside linebacker. That seems mandatory now. 

8:53 a.m.: Safety Anthony Cioffi was waived, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. It seems the Raiders will keep four safeties on the roster

8:47 a.m.: Receiver K.J. Brent was waived, per a league source. Brent spent last season on the practice squad, and had several good stretches working with the first unit. The Wake Forest alum has the size and hands to be an NFL receiver. 


1:40 p.m.: Offensive lineman Oni Omoile confirms his release on social media. He spent last year on the practice squad, and is capable of playing guard and center. 

12:29 p.m.: Tight end Gabe Holmes has been waived, according to the Houston Chronicle. Holmes had fans on the coaching staff, but never flashed this preseason. He spent time on the 2015 roster, and was on injured reserve all last year with an ankle injury. 

11:57 a.m.: The Raiders release running back George Atkinson III, per the Houstin Chronicle. The Raiders were set at running back and returner when they signed the son of former Raiders defensive back George Atkinson during training camp, so this move was among many expected cuts. He flashed in the preseason, though ball security remains an issue.

11:50 a.m.: Offensive lineman Kareem Are and safety Rickey Jefferson were informed of their release, per the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.