Raiders

NFL rumors: Melvin Gordon plans to play for Chargers before Raiders game

NFL rumors: Melvin Gordon plans to play for Chargers before Raiders game

The Chargers open the 2019 NFL regular season without one of the premier players in the game. Running back Melvin Gordon has continued his holdout in hopes of a new contract. 

But it appears he will be playing this year, right in time for the Raiders. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Gordon plans to report to the Chargers between Week 6 and Week 8. The Raiders face the Chargers in Oakland on Thursday Night Football during Week 10. 

Gordon's return certainly would spell bad news for the Silver and Black. The 26-year-old is a two-time Pro Bowler and scored 14 combined touchdowns last season on the ground and receiving. 

The Raiders last faced Gordon in a 23-22 win over the Chargers at the Coliseum last season, but the running back did his part. Gordon carried the ball 18 times for 93 yards and added another 72 yards on five receptions while scoring one touchdown. 

Earlier this week, Gordon caught Raiders and 49ers' fans attention when he followed both teams on Instagram. But it looks like he'll still play with Philip Rivers and Co. 

[RELATED: Report: Raiders tried to trade AB before releasing him]

There's always free agency, though. 

Gordon must report by Week 10 -- the Raiders game -- to have this season count and qualify for free agency next year. Once he hits the open market next year, Gordon will be looking for a hefty payday. 

2020 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. explains his two Raiders selections

2020 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. explains his two Raiders selections

In an offseason full of Tom Brady-to-Las-Vegas rumors, one thing is for certain: The Raiders must find upgrades at receiver and linebacker. 

With two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders can do exactly that in slightly over two months. They're sure to look at the free-agent market as well, but finding instant contributors on rookie contracts is a must for a team looking to make the leap next season. 

This is especially true with the Raiders reportedly willing to offer Brady a two-year, $60 million contract.

Still, Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock can shore up their two biggest positions of need right away in the draft. That's exactly what ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. did in his latest mock draft. Kiper gave the Raiders receiver Jerry Jeudy at No. 12 and linebacker Kenneth Murray at No. 19. 

The longtime draft expert explained his selections in a conference call on Wednesday. 

"I have Kenneth Murray going there at 19, linebacker from Oklahoma, and have them taking Jerry Jeudy from Alabama at 12," Kiper said. "So you get the linebacker -- whether it's Murray or Patrick Queen from LSU at 19, then you get the receiver. I think it's CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma or it's Jeudy from Alabama at No. 12." 

In an ideal world for the Raiders, Clemson's do-it-all hybrid linebacker Isaiah Simmons would fall right in their lap. Kiper said he simply can't see that happening without a major trade from Mayock. He has the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Simmons with the No. 9 pick. 

Myself and Josh Schrock, however, have Simmons going even higher at No. 4 to the New York Giants in our latest mock draft. We do agree with the positions Kiper has the Raiders targeting, but gave the Silver and Black his second options. 

While Kiper has Lamb going to the New York Jets at No. 11 and Jeudy to the Raiders one pick later, we sent Lamb to Las Vegas and Jeudy being taken by the Indianapolis Colts with the next pick. The two are that close and either one would instantly boost the Raiders' receiver corps. 

[RELATED: How Raiders' 2019 rookies are laying bedrock for success]

Murray originally wound up as a Raider in our first two editions of our mock draft, but Queen seems like he has more upside and is a better fit for the modern NFL. Murray is a fine athlete in his own regard, but Queen is much more explosive and better in coverage.

Queen's side-to-side range is what truly sets him apart. 

Either way, the consensus is out that the Raiders likely will target receivers and linebackers in this year's draft. Any combination of Jeudy, Lamb, Murray or Queen will be huge for the Raiders' rise after a seven-win season. 

Why one NFL exec sees Tom Brady-to-Raiders as QB’s 'fallback position'

Why one NFL exec sees Tom Brady-to-Raiders as QB’s 'fallback position'

When there's smoke, there's fire. And until Tom Brady re-signs with the New England Patriots, rumors will keep swirling regarding him joining the Raiders in Las Vegas. 

Brady has spent his entire 20-year NFL career with the Patriots, but if he does move on, the Raiders could make sense. The Raiders' stellar rookie class from last season should take another step forward in 2020 and between coach Jon Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and owner Mark Davis, the Silver and Black want to start their Las Vegas tenure with a bang.

This team still might be going through a bit of a rebuild, but there the above trio won't wait forever. They want wins. And nobody is better at that then Brady. 

But one NFL executive believes the Raiders aren't quite yet Brady's first option. 

“The Raiders become a fallback position for Brady in my view," the anonymous exec said to The Athletic's Mike Sando. "If it turns out Brady really wants to get away from Bill Belichick and he is out of there no matter what, then I think the Raiders become the next best possibility.”

The Patriots reportedly are willing to offer Brady upward of $30 million a year, but NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported earlier this month that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is willing to let the six-time Super Bowl champion see what's out on the market before coming back to the Patriots with his demands. If that's the case, it sounds like the Raiders are ready to open their wallets for the future Hall of Famer. 

longtime sportswriter Larry Fitzgerald Sr., -- who also is the father of Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. -- dropped an eye-opener on Valentine's Day. 

Would the Raiders really be willing to give $60 million to a QB who will be 43 years old next season? The Raiders are slated to have around $55 million in salary cap room entering the offseason. Though they'd prefer to get Brady on a cheaper deal, the Raiders, in theory, can afford to give him a hefty sum. 

[RELATED: Why Raiders signing Brady could make sense for both sides]

This of course all depends on if Gruden and Co. are ready to move on from a much-younger quarterback Derek Carr. When you have a chance to add Tom Brady, though, you at least take a long look at the possibility. 

The Raiders certainly seem to have their eyes on Brady. But it could take a lot to break up a long marriage between a legendary QB and legendary coach in Brady and Bill Belichick.