The Raiders special teams coverage units have taken a beating this offseason.
Brynden Trawick and Darren Bates took heftier paychecks from the Titans last week.
The Raiders lost another key component on Saturday afternoon, when receiver Andre Holmes signed with the Buffalo Bills. NFL Network reports the deal is worth $6.5 million over three years.
This one foreshadowed. National reports of a pact with Buffalo surfaced on Wednesday due to a contract offer run through the NFLPA system that looked like an agreed-upon deal.
Holmes refuted the completed deal on Twitter, a social media service he rarely uses.
He confirmed the Buffalo contract on Twitter, saying “What’s up #BillsMafia”
Holmes was a long-serving Raiders, someone who suffered through rough seasons in 2013 and ’14 before helping usher in improved results the last few seasons.
Holmes was solid deep threat and a red-zone target on offense, and developed into an excellent special teams player. That was especially true on punt coverage, where he was adept downing Marquette King’s punts inside the 20-yard line.
Holmes fell back on the depth chart after the Raiders drafted Amari Cooper and signed Michael Crabtree, though he had 14 catches for 126 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Holmes expressed a desire to remain with the Raiders, especially after being with the team during lean years and helped the Silver and Black rise to prominence.
The 28-year old’s departure seemed set after the Raiders signed Cordarrelle Patterson, an All-Pro return man who is a solid gunner in coverage. Patterson will also slide into Holmes No. 4 receiver slot.
Holmes took time to thank Raiders fans before focusing on his new team:
Reggie Nelson has been on a reunion tour since signing with the Raiders. He first worked under Jack Del Rio, his head coach in Jacksonville and someone who choose to make him 2007’s No. 21 overall draft pick.
That link held for two years. Then Del Rio got run out for Jon Gruden’s favor and Nelson hit the free-agent market. The 34-year old – he’ll be 35 in September – wasn’t expected back after a down year in 2017.
Another blast from the past created a road back to Oakland, where he reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. NFL Network reported news of Nelson’s act.
Nelson thrived, with 23 interceptions and 62 passes defensed during six seasons in Cincinnati. New Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was linebackers coach and then Bengals DC (for two years) during Nelson’s time in the Queen City.
Nelson had five picks in 2016, his first year with Oakland, but seemed to slow down some last season. He had 60 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2017.
Nelson will help teach a system familiar to him but foreign to most Raiders, but will certainly angle for steady snaps despite increased competition at his spot.
He’ll compete for snaps at safety despite last week’s signing of Marcus Gilchrist, who was thought to take his spot. The Raiders also have Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu at that position. Melifonwu must earn a role in this defense. The other three have starter’s experience and will compete for that opportunity. Gilchrist also has experience covering the slot, which could help the secondary if a career cornerback isn't found to fill that role.
SAN FRANCISCO — Former Oakland Raiders player Aldon Smith surrendered to police Friday on charges he violated a domestic violence restraining order.
San Francisco police said the 28-year-old Smith turned himself and was booked on three misdemeanor charges of violating a court order to stay away from a domestic violence victim.
Earlier this month, Smith pleaded not guilty to domestic violence and other charges and a judge issued a protective order prohibiting him from contacting the victim.
Police said Smith violated the restraining order earlier this week.
Smith’s attorney, Joshua Bentley, did not return a voicemail message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The Raiders released the linebacker days after his arrest on the domestic violence charges.
He had been on the suspended list since late 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.