Raiders have work to do as free agency formally kicks off


Raiders have work to do as free agency formally kicks off

NFL free agency opens Wednesday afternoon in name only. Teams were allowed to contact reps for untethered players starting Monday, and open negotiations proved fruitful.

Most big names found a home during this window, with big money being promised to marquee members of this unrestricted free agent class.

The Raiders weren’t a part of that whirlwind stretch. They took a measured, patient approach to the period, refusing to overpay for well-known talents. They have a budget and they’re sticking to it, ever mindful of the extension due Khalil Mack down the line.

That prompted plenty of hand wringing from an on-edge fan base hoping for a big splash in free agency’s first wave. Raider Nation got receiver Griff Whalen and blocking tight end Derek Carrier instead.

Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler and Allen Robinson and many other names you know who could’ve filled Raiders needs, all signed for beaucoup bucks.

The receiver market went nuts. Cornerbacks got paid for playing a premium position, and the run on free-agent quarterbacks is nearly complete.

So many agreed on terms that Wednesday’s 1 p.m. free-agency kickoff might be anti-climactic.

The Raiders enter the offseason’s formal signing period with the same needs they had a few days back. They’re looking for veteran help at cornerback, interior defensive line, receiver and maybe offensive line.

They want to re-sign NaVorro Bowman, and have been working on a deal to bring him back. Zach Brown, a free-agent target last offseason who ended up in Washington, could be another option.

Defensive lineman Denico Autry wants to test the market some, but a return hasn’t been ruled out. TJ Carrie has reportedly attracted Denver’s eye, though the Raiders want him back at the right price.

Carrie would certainly ease the burden at cornerback, though another veteran is coveted. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports there has been some contact between the Raiders and former Indianapolis cover man Rashaan Melvin.

Several cornerbacks are spoken for, with second-tier options Prince Amukamara, Bashaud Breeland and Aaron Colvin off the market.

Miami’s set to release Ndamukong Suh on Wednesday, and would be an intriguing fit in Oakland. General manager Reggie McKenzie was interested last time Suh hit the market, but was quickly priced out. The same could happen this time – Suh might soon be the best the best free agent on the market – even with mutual interest between player and team.

Valued defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson remains on the open market as well, though Star Lotulelei, Muhammad Wilkerson and Haloti Ngata are already off the board.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the Raiders have shown interest in Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson, and states he’s headed to the highest bidder. He would fit the Raiders system, considering Mike Zimmer and Paul Guenther run the same system.

The Raiders were disappointed Paul Richardson ended up in Washington for big money, but reportedly have Jordy Nelson coming in for a visit Wednesday afternoon. Jordan Matthews could offer an upgrade in the slot if Nelson doesn’t stick. Mike Wallace offers take-off-the-top speed the Raiders lack.

The Raiders will start filling free-agent needs this week, ever mindful of a Khalil Mack extension coming down the pike, properly using funds to tackle several issues as opposed to spending all their cash in one spot.

It may not come at a pace fans appreciate, or with the marquee names that make March more fun, but free-agency will still fill an important role constructing the first roster of Jon Gruden’s second tenure.

Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection


Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection

The Raiders entered this free agency period needing defensive help throughout the depth chart. They signed presumptive starters earlier in this veteran acquisition process, but didn’t stop there.

The Silver and Black have added depth this week especially, signing a key cog in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on Wednesday afternoon.

Lamur spent the last two years in Minnesota and the previous four in Cincinnati with new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther was his position coach from 2012-13 and his DC from 2014-15. He also knows Raiders linebackers coach David Lippincott from the Bengals days

Lamur has primarily been a reserve, but Guenther gave him an opportunity to start in 2014. He had 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts that year as a strongside linebacker.

The Raiders have options at that spot, but no firm starter at this stage if Bruce Irvin plays defensive end full time.

Lamur hasn’t played much defense the last two years, but is known as a quality special teams contributor. The Raiders have signed several of those players in an attempt to improve coverage and returns.

All told, the Raiders have signed 14 unrestricted free agents with a shot to make the 53-man roster since last week began. The roster will turnover significantly in Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders, and it’s possible he signs more players in coming days.

The Raiders are still looking for upgrades at receiver, and might add another bargain defensive lineman.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

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.