Raiders

Hard to imagine Raiders as Kareem Hunt destination if he stays in NFL

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Hard to imagine Raiders as Kareem Hunt destination if he stays in NFL

Kareem Hunt needs a job. The running back lost his previous one Friday, when he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs after a video of him shoving and kicking a woman spread online.

It’s unknown when that next job will come. It’s extremely unlikely, though, that the Raiders will sign Hunt's paychecks, no matter when that day comes.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has taken a hard-line stance against signing players with domestic violence in their background.

"It's just something we can't tolerate," Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015. "I don't know how to fix it in society, but I know we can't have it on our team."

However, there have been some exceptions.

Hunt, who was supposed to play against the Raiders on Sunday at the Coliseum, now will go on waivers after being cut, and we’ll know if a team has claimed him by Monday afternoon. This immensely talent runner led the NFL in rushing last year as a rookie, and he was putting together another great season until a Feb. 10 incident in a Cleveland hotel caught up with him.

Hunt was contrite and apologetic in a live Sunday morning interview with ESPN, clearly set on trying to repair a sullied image.

It’s possible, though seemingly unlikely, that a team will claim Hunt on waivers despite him being ineligible to practice or play while still getting paid on the commissioner’s exempt list. He’ll stay there until the NFL completes an investigation into the incident that now includes a video the NFL was unable to attain in its original inquiry, despite TMZ succeeding in doing so.

A six-game ban without pay is expected. That’s the NFL standard punishment for perpetrators of domestic violence or assaults on women while playing in the league.

The Athletic reported Saturday night that the Chiefs would vouch for Hunt in his search for another job, hoping to help him avoid the exile that Ray Rice received after he was caught on video punching his significant other.

[RELATED: Hunt just the latest chapter in long-running NFL story]

The Raiders haven’t signed a player with issue like that in his background, but there has been a willingness to do so recently. 

The Silver and Black did meet with Bay Area native Joe Mixon before the 2017 NFL draft, and general manager Reggie McKenzie came away impressed but didn't draft him. The former Oklahoma running back was caught on video hitting a woman in Norman, Okla., as a freshman. He ended up with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Raiders also reportedly offered a contract to Junior Galette, the edge rusher said, despite him being suspended by the NFL for domestic violence. 

While players with that background aren't on the roster, offensive line coach Tom Cable is. The former Raiders coach and current assistant has been accused of domestic violence in the past, and that wasn't an issue in his hiring. 

The Raiders have a long-term need at running back, with Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin headed for unrestricted free agency. Coach Jon Gruden has intimated that he’d like Martin to return, and it’s uncertain if Lynch wants to continue his career in Oakland or anywhere else. He's currently on injured reserve.

The Raiders have myriad options in the draft -- young running backs have paid great dividends in recent seasons -- and they could be cheaper, especially if Hunt is able to repair his image and build a competitive market for his services.

Plenty of running backs in the draft or free agency don’t have incidents involving violence against women in their past. There doesn’t seem to be a strong sentiment to specifically add Hunt to the Raiders' roster, though anything remains possible.

Brian Billick says Mike Mayock has to get used to Jon Gruden cussing him out

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Brian Billick says Mike Mayock has to get used to Jon Gruden cussing him out

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has never worked in an NFL front office, but that's not the only thing he will have to get used to, at least according to an ex-NFL head coach.

"On a daily basis, he has to get used to the fact that Jon's gonna come into the office and motherf--k him," Brian Billick told Bleacher Report's Mike Tanier. 

But Billick, a current NFL Network analyst who was a colleague of Mayock's while he was the outlet's draft expert, thinks Mayock will be able to hold his own in his relationship with Gruden. The Super Bowl-winning coach called Mayock "as good of an evaluator of talent as I have been around." 

"He does the work, he grinds the tape, he goes to workouts," Billick told Tanier. "He knows what talent is."

Gruden and Mayock's dynamic is unique, to say the least. Not only is Mayock a first-time executive, but the head coach ultimately has final say over the Raiders' personnel decisions. 

On top of that, the Silver and Black enter a critical offseason. After trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper last year, the Raiders are armed with three picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. They also have more salary-cap space than all but six teams, according to Over The Cap.

Yet success can't be expected overnight, according to Billick. Mayock will have to develop as an executive and surround himself with the right staff, Billick said, and that takes time.

"Putting that infrastructure around him, he's not had to do that before," Billick said. "How's the scouting department going to work? Who will do what? What's the interaction going to be?"

[RELATED: Why Raiders could try to sign star RB Bell in free agency]

He will have to learn on the job, but time is a luxury that Raiders fans in the Bay Area don't necessarily have. The team is in conversations to spend one final season at the Oakland Coliseum in 2019, but the Raiders intend to complete their move to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.

Gruden spoke about wanting to give Oakland fans "two of the best years of football that I can possibly help deliver" when he took the job last January.

The first was a 4-12 season highlighted by the trades of two former first-round picks. If the Raiders are going to improve upon that in 2019, Mayock will have to learn a lot very quickly. 

NFL free agency: Why Le'Veon Bell to Raiders could be perfect signing

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NFL free agency: Why Le'Veon Bell to Raiders could be perfect signing

Finally, Le'Veon Bell will get his wish and become a free agent

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told local reporters the team will not place a franchise or transition tag on Bell this offseason. The two-time All-Pro running back sat out the entire 2018 season while in contract disputes with the team. 

"Le'Veon is still a great player," Colbert said. "We can't afford to use any other type of tags. Le'Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."

Bell appeared to be pretty happy about the decision.

Bell declined to sign a franchise tender last year, turning down $14.5 million as he held out the entire season. 

Now that he will be a free agent, Bell certainly won't remain a Steeler. Could he join the Raiders, though? 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller thinks he could be a good fit.

Bell certainly does fit all three phases for the Raiders -- need, money and big name. Let's start with need. 

The Raiders' top two running backs from last season -- Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch -- are both unrestricted free agents. Both are also over 30 years old, and have nowhere near Bell's talent. And the team's third-leading rusher, Jalen Richard, is a restricted free agent. 

When Bell, who just turned 27, last played in 2017, he rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. The Raiders' trio previously mentioned combined for fewer than 100 more yards rushing in 2018. Plus, Bell is a threat as a receiver as well -- he has 2,660 career receiving yards, too. 

[RELATED: Le'Veon Bell to Raiders? Oddsmakers like Jon Gruden and Co.'s chances]

Secondly, the money. Bell wants to get paid, and the Raiders have the cash to do so. They will have roughly $81 million in salary cap space this offseason, with plenty of holes to fill on the roster. 

Lastly, the star power. The Raiders could certainly use and Bell certainly has it. Year 1 of Jon Gruden's return didn't go as planned.

To turn things around and kick off their move to Vegas in 2020, Bell could be the perfect player as the new face of their franchise.