Raiders

Antonio Brown posts Jon Gruden phone conversation on YouTube video

Antonio Brown posts Jon Gruden phone conversation on YouTube video

It just won't end.

We thought we were free of Antonio Brown drama when the wide receiver reportedly apologized to the Raiders on  Friday morning and coach Jon Gruden announced he would play against the Broncos on Monday night.

But just a few short hours later, things have picked up again.

The latest twist is a YouTube video that Brown posted shortly after 6:30 p.m. PT on Friday evening. The video features a recorded phone conversation between Brown and Gruden.

Warning: The video contains NSFW language.

It's unclear of Gruden knew the phone conversation was being recorded, but ESPN's Chris Mortensen spoke to a team source that says the coach is "truly amused" by the video.

There are several interesting back-and-forth exchanges between the two, with the first coming just 15 seconds into the video.

Gruden: "What the hell is going on man?"

Brown: "Just a villain all over the news, man."

Gruden: "You're not a villain. You're just the most misunderstood f---ing human being in my entire life that I've ever met."

The second exchange comes a minute into the video.

Gruden: "Let me ask you this: Do you want to be a Raider or not?"

Brown: "Man, I've been trying to be a Raider since Day 1. I've been f---ing working my ass off harder than anyone. I don't know why it's a question of me being a Raider. It's like, do you guys want me to be a Raider?"

Gruden: "Please stop this s--t and just play football. How hard is that? You're a great football player. Just play football."

Brown: "I'm more than just a football player, man. It ain't about the football. I know I can do that. I show you guys that on the daily. This is my life. Ain't no more games."

The video ends there with Brown's Stick Talk logo popping up.

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Brown's video comes an hour after ESPN's Ed Werder reported, citing a source, that the Raiders are fining the receiver for his behavior directed at general manager Mike Mayock,

We guarantee the Raiders aren't going to be thrilled about this. Guess what? This isn't over by a long shot.

Nick Kwiatkoski explains why Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency

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AP

Nick Kwiatkoski explains why Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency

Nick Kwiatkoski doesn’t have a massive social media following, but a tweet the veteran linebacker sent out on March 16 quickly went viral.

It didn’t include a single word. It contained a picture of Allegiant Stadium and nothing more, but it was a clear sign that the Las Vegas Raiders had landed their first unrestricted free agent while representing their new market.

Sources later confirmed Kwiatkoski agreed to join the Silver and Black on a three-year, $21 million contract, showing the Raiders were serious about upgrading a long deficient linebacker corps.

The deal came together quickly, on the first day of free agency’s open negotiating window, because Kwiatkoski loved what the Raiders had to say. He would join the Raiders as a full-time, three-down middle linebacker.

“I felt that I’ve earned that spot, and that’s something I looked for in free agency,” Kwiatkoski said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, available in its’ entirety on the Raiders Insider Podcast. “When they told me that, it was very appealing.”

That wasn’t the only reason former Chicago Bear signed with the Raiders.

“They called very early and, when I spoke to them, it was very clear there’s an excitement around the whole organization with the move to Las Vegas,” Kwiatkoski said. “That was one of a number of reasons why I [made my decision]. When we played them in London last year and I just loved the mentality they brought to the game where they come right at you. With their defensive scheme, I thought I’d fit right in. I gave it some time and took some other calls, but I ended up thinking the Raiders were the best fit for me.”

There was some thought he’d fit in well as the Bears’ middle linebacker, but that prospect was eliminated when Danny Trevathan signed a contract extension on March 9. Kwiatkoski proved worthy of a starting gig after taking over following Trevathan’s Week 9 elbow injury that was ultimately season-ending.

There was no going back after an excellent eight-game stretch with 58 tackles, two sacks and interception, not with teams looking to make him a major player ready to court him on the open market.

While those numbers look solid, the clip below shows exactly what the Raiders are getting in Kwiatkoski, and he doesn’t even record a stat.

Kwiatkoski put Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook on his back during a Week 4 win over the Vikings, blowing up a play with raw power and aggression.

“That’s an example how I enjoy playing. I like being physical, going downhill,” Kwiatkoski said. “That’s how I have always played, and I plan on continuing to do that.”

He’ll do that with the Silver and Black, while paired with fellow free-agent signing Cory Littleton.

“He’s a great linebacker,” Kwiatkoski said. “To be able to line up with him and call him my teammate is going to be fun.”

The former L.A. Ram is a true sideline-to-sideline presence and an excellent coverage linebacker, a perfect complement to Kwiatkoski’s strengths going downhill as a run defender and blitzer. The former high school safety, who converted to linebacker at West Virginia, is also confident in coverage and running a defense from the middle linebacker spot.

Chicago’s fourth-round draft pick back in 2016 has always worked hard and capitalized on opportunities when presented, helping him earn a lucrative deal with a Raiders team counting on him to be a consistent playmaker. Earning this opportunity is certainly a point of pride as he moves on to the next chapter of his career.

“There were definitely times where I got down on myself after certain things happened, but to see how it has all played out … for me, no matter what my role was or what the situation was, I just put my head down and kept working,” Kwiatkoski said. “For that to all payoff is really gratifying. You can only control what you can control, and that’s what I focused on. I never lost sight of my goals. No matter what my role was, I was determined to work like a starter and play each day like it’s my last. For it to work out the way it has, with this new opportunity, it’s really gratifying.”

Raiders restructure Rodney Hudson's contract to create 2020 cap space

Raiders restructure Rodney Hudson's contract to create 2020 cap space

The Raiders took on a bit more salary in free agency than they were legally allowed, but restructured center Rodney Hudson’s massive contract to get back under the NFL salary cap.

The team’s cap and contracts people got creative with the deal, obtained by ESPN on Wednesday morning, to provide relief in 2020 and push increased cap hits down the road where they have more flexibility.

The Raiders converted $11.6 million of Hudson’s base salary into a signing bonus, freeing up $9.28 in cap space for 2020. His cap hits will go up $2.32 million in subsequent seasons, which includes two voidable years at the end of the deal to spread out his cap hits.

The Silver and Black had to do that now to get Carl Nassib’s deal in while staying under the cap. He’s set to make $25 million over three years, with a $7.75 million cap hit in 2020, per OverTheCap.com.

After factoring in the Nassib deal, the Hudson restructure and some other small additions, OTC reports the Raiders have $5.214 million in cap space. They might have to make another cap adjustment down the road, with $9.408 million required to pay their draft picks as currently slotted. They won’t have to make that move until later in the spring and summer, when they start signing draft picks.

[RELATED: Ranking Raiders' offensive players ahead of 2020 NFL draft]

The Raiders own the Nos. 12 and 19 overall selections, with three third-round picks and one each in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Hudson signed a long-term contract extension last season worth $33.7 million over three years, with $24.4 million guaranteed. Moving money around helps the Raiders stay right with the cap without hurting future standing and keeping all the talent the Raiders currently employ.