The Raiders only have one restricted free agent heading into this offseason’s signing period.
Defensive lineman Denico Autry is in that spot after playing 742 defensive snaps despite dealing with a wrist injury most of the year. The Raiders hope to keep the versatile defensive lineman around, but they’ve left themselves vulnerable to losing him on the open market.
They gave Autry an original-round contract tender, a league source confirmed on Wednesday morning. That tender gives the Raiders the right to match an offer sheet accepted by Autry, or receive a draft pick commiserate with the defensive lineman’s draft slot if they don’t. Since Autry went undrafted, the Raiders wouldn’t get anything back if Autry left.
A market should develop for Autry, who can play anywhere on the defensive line, and has 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He is also adept at batting passes and field goal attempts at the line of scrimmage. Solid rotational pieces are important at defensive tackle, and while the Raiders will certainly supplement that position group this offseason, losing Autry could be a setback on the interior.
According to ESPN, the original round tender is worth $1.797 million. First-round or second-round tenders are more expensive but virtually secure that player’s services.
The Raiders lost a restricted free agent last season, when they declined to match Benson Mayowa’s offer sheet from Dallas. He was also an undrafted player who received an original round tender, meaning the Raiders didn’t get anything in return. He had 25 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble for the Cowboys last season while the Raiders struggled to find reliable reserve edge rushers behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.
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.
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.