Raiders in 'wait and see' mode on possible Aldon Smith return

Raiders in 'wait and see' mode on possible Aldon Smith return

ALAMEDA – Aldon Smith was spotted at a Warriors game last week, and told a reporter he expects to be back with the Raiders soon.

That would be a huge boon for the Silver and Black defense to add a top-flight pass rusher down the home stretch.

"I'll be back in two weeks, you can ask me all the questions then," Smith told the Associated Press on Nov. 3.

Whether that timeline’s realistic remains uncertain. Smith applied for reinstatement to the NFL in late October, a requirement after being banished at least one calendar year as a repeat violator of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Smith is eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 17, though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must approve his application. There is no set timetable for Goodell to meet with Smith or make a final decision.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio can’t have contact with Smith during his suspension – only player engagement director Lamont Winston can have contact with Smith – but he certainly hopes Smith can come back.

“That’s a wait-and-see, hope-for-the-best situations,” Del Rio in his Monday press conference. “The way I’ve thought about it, and I haven’t thought a whole lot about it since, is that let’s let the young man get his life in order first. If he can do that, then we can talk about football. Let’s make sure his life is in order, and I’m sure that’s what the commissioner will do before he decides whether he’s going to reinstate him or not.”

Many fans are salivating over the prospect of adding Aldon Smith and Mario Edwards Jr. – he’s on injured reserve rehabbing a hip injury, but the team expects him to return – to the defensive front posthaste.

Del Rio isn’t focused on possible reinforcements. He’s worried about those currently available and getting them to continue playing better defense.

“We’re not going to wait for that,” Del Rio said. “We have to continue to grow and do the things that have helped us play much better defensively the last several weeks and build on that.”

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.