Raiders

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

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USATSI

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

Le’Veon Bell isn’t returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. The running back didn't sign the franchise tag contract tender provided this offseason, and extending his contract holdout beyond Tuesday afternoon means he'll become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

According to an online sportsbook, the odds are great that he could become a Raider at that point.

The sports gambling website OddsShark, which takes its information from betonline.ag, an offshore sports gambling site that also houses an online casino, believes the Raiders have high odds of landing Bell this offseason. The Silver and Black have +500 odds to land Bell, according to the gambling website, second only to the New York Jets. The Jets have +300 odds to sign Bell this offseason.

This information isn't based on a report from any other publication covering the NFL, and there is no insight reported from any source about where Bell might sign.

Despite calls to betonline.ag by NBC Sports Bay Area, it remains uncertain how these odds were obtained.

The concept of Bell to the Raiders or the Jets was popularized Tuesday by the Twitter account @br_betting, which promoted odds of the Raiders being second in line to land the talented running back, who has missed the entire 2018 season while holding out for a long-term contract despite being given a franchise tag contract tender worth $14.544 million.

According to NFL rules, Bell had to report to the Steelers by Tuesday afternoon and sign the tag, or sit out the entire season. He chose to do the latter, but Bell will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Bell easily is one of the best professional running backs, with the tools to be considered a complete package. The Raiders are expected to have $83 million in salary-cap space entering that season, though that total will decrease after they sign players to reserves-futures contracts and earmark more money for the NFL draft pool.

[RELATED: Raiders in the driver's seat for No. 1 overall draft pick]

The Raiders chose to trade Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper over paying them in the near future, but they have plenty of money to spend should they try to go after a big-ticket player such as Bell.

It’s uncertain at this time whether the Raiders have any interest in Bell. Contacting him or his agent at this point, according to NFL rules, would be considered tampering.

Bell could be a perfect fit for Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s offensive scheme, though, considering his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and running with patience behind an offensive line.

Bell has gained at least 1,200 rushing yards in three of the last four seasons, and he has averaged 4.3 yards per carry over his six-year career. He had 1,291 rushing yards, 655 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns in 2017.

Raiders sign ex-practice squad tight end Paul Butler to bolster depth

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Raiders sign ex-practice squad tight end Paul Butler to bolster depth

The Raiders signed free agent tight end Paul Butler on Thursday.

Butler spent most of the previous two years on the Raiders’ practice squad, but was picked up late last season by the Detroit Lions as a reserve/future free agent. Butler (6 feet 6 inches, 250 pounds) also was promoted to the Raiders’ active roster in Week 17 of the 2018 season.

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Eli Apple, Panthers agree to deal after Raiders pact scrapped in April

Eli Apple, Panthers agree to deal after Raiders pact scrapped in April

Eli Apple never finalized a contract with the Raiders, and the free-agent cornerback has agreed to join their scheduled Week 1 opponents.

Apple reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, the team announced.

The Raiders are set to play the Panthers in Charlotte on Sept. 13, and the Silver and Black could line up against the man the front office initially pegged to have a shot to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair on March 18 that Apple and the Raiders agreed to terms on a deal.

[RELATED: Where Carr ranks among NFL starting quarterbacks]

But Apple never put pen to paper, and the deal officially fell apart on April 2 due in part to an inability to get a physical. The Raiders quickly changed course to bolster their secondary, adding Damarious Randall that same day and selecting defensive backs Damon Arnette (first round, No. 19 overall) and Amik Robertson (fourth round, No. 129 overall) in the draft a few weeks later. They also officially signed veteran corner Prince Amukamara on May 18.

Will the Raiders regret not bringing Apple in? It will be too early to tell after Week 1, but the Silver and Black will have all the more reason to want to take a bite out of the Panthers with Apple on the roster.

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