ALAMEDA – Justin Ellis is no longer a Raider.
The veteran defensive tackle received a settlement and was released from injured reserve. Since he’s a vested veteran, he is not subject to waivers and is now a free agent.
He was placed on season-ending IR just before the regular season began due to a knee injury.
Ellis is a free agent and is free to sign with any team at this point. The nose tackle was a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 and was a regular contributor during his rookie contract, signing a three-year extension before the 2018 season.
He has barely played in the Jon Gruden era. He got hurt in the 2018 season opener and was placed on short-term injured reserve. He returned later in the year but didn’t make much of an impact. He had just seven tackles in six games.
Ellis started this training camp well, but got hurt again in a relatively short span. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden gets frustrated with players who are rarely available, and wasn’t willing to wait for Ellis to regain health while making his initial 53-man roster.
Ellis’ departure was a foregone conclusion at that stage, and it was only a matter of time before the team released him off IR.
The Raiders are happy with Johnathan Hankins taking a huge interior role, working alongside Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall and Corey Liuget.
Ellis was part of the Raiders’ famed 2014 NFL draft class that included Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson, Ellis and T.J. Carrie. Now, just Carr and Jackson remain.
Isaiah Johnson coming back soon
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson will return off of injured reserve, possibly returning to practice on the Monday after the bye week completely off.
Gruden also mentioned quarterback Nate Peterman as a possible candidate to return off IR, though that’s uncertain.
“We’ll make a determination on them here in the next couple of days,” Gruden said.
Gabe Jackson still working his way back
The Raiders hope to get right guard Gabe Jackson back in time to play the Green Bay Packers in Week 6, though that’s far from a guarantee. Gruden hopes to have Jackson back to practice next week when the team resumes activity. While that isn’t a lock, Gruden has been encouraged by the progress Jackson made while away from the team during that two-game road trip without a return to Oakland.
“I’ve been getting videos from the trainers while I’ve been in London and Indiana about Gabe’s process and it’s exciting,” Gruden said. “This guy has clearly worked hard. He looks better, I think, than he’s ever looked. He’s really gotten himself in great shape. We’ll be smart about it. We hope if it’s not this coming game, hopefully it’s the next. He’s a valuable member of our team. Certainly he’ll give us a jolt when he comes back.”
Jackson has been out since injuring his MCL on Aug. 8 during a joint practice with the Rams.
Good(-ish) news on Arden Key
Defensive lineman Arden Key hurt his patellar tendon during Sunday’s victory over Chicago, though the Raiders were actually happy the MRI results weren’t worse.
“I don’t believe there’s any serious structural damage, but he might be out for a week or two,” Gruden said. “That’s what I’m being told right now. We worked out four guys this morning, but no signings are imminent right now.”