The Raiders are parting ways with veteran cornerback Sean Smith, a league source said on Monday morning.
The action saves $8.5 million in salary cap space, and occurred just before teams can start negotiating with representatives of pending free agents. Free agency formally opens Wednesday afternoon.
The Raiders had $15.8 million in salary cap space before the move – though Justin Ellis’ new contract will eat into that – according to the NFLPA. The cut creates some wiggle room entering free agency.
Releasing other veterans without guaranteed money can make more room. So can restructuring deals of players they’d prefer to keep.
Smith’s release is no shock. The veteran cornerback made a ton, but the Raiders couldn’t keep him even if they wanted to, due to a legal matter that will reportedly send him to prison.
Smith will plead guilty to felony assault with great bodily injury on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times, relating to a July 4 incident in Pasadena where he beat up his sister’s boyfriend. He will be sentenced to one year in jail and three years probation as part of his plea deal. He was facing felony assault and batter charges, with his trial about to start in earnest.
Smith played well after John Pagano took over as play caller, and was easily the Raiders best cornerback. He’s effective in the right system, and will be roughly 32 years old when eligible to re-enter the NFL market.
The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks on the roster. Smith and David Amerson were cut, and TJ Carrie’s a few days from free agency. The Silver and Black are expected to sign one, possibly two veteran cornerbacks in free agency, and could re-sign Carrie to a new contract.
The position group has seen great turnover during the Reggie McKenzie era, and the team’s looking for stability surrounding 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley.
NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look.
The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."
The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility.
“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”
Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.
The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.
A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news.
A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center.
Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.
So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career.
Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:
Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]
Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:
Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]
[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]
Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online.
Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)