Raiders' Nevin Lawson suspended one game for using helmet as weapon


Raiders' Nevin Lawson suspended one game for using helmet as weapon

The Raiders just finished a season that saw them lose key players left and right as they stumbled to a 7-9 season, barely missing the NFL playoffs. 

We are five days into the offseason and the Raiders already are down a cornerback for Week 1 next year, as Nevin Lawson was suspended one game for using his helmet as a weapon during the end of the Silver and Black's Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Friday. 

He will be eligible to return in Week 2 of the 2020 season. 

Lawson was ejected at the end of the loss in Denver. There was a skirmish after the Raiders' failed onside kick attempt and Lawson was ejected from the game. Television cameras didn't show what led to the skirmish, but NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan cited a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 17.

"A player may not use a helmet that is no longer worn by anyone as a weapon to strike, swing at, or throw at an opponent," the rule states.

The Raiders will enter the offseason with rookie Trayvon Mullen firmly entrenched as the team's top corner. Opposite cornerback Daryl Worley is set to be a free agent and rookie Isaiah Johnson never got playing time after suffering a facial fracture in the preseason. 

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Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock undoubtedly will want to bring in another corner or two either in free agency or in the draft. Lawson wasn't effective when he did play, and it's unlikely he would be a starter entering next season, but it's just one more thing for the Raiders to deal with as they prepare to move to Las Vegas.

NFL rumors: Tom Brady, Patriots appear very far apart in free agency

NFL rumors: Tom Brady, Patriots appear very far apart in free agency

It's negotiating season, and the most high-profile soon-to-be-free-agent in NFL history seems to be wielding his power.

Thursday morning, multiple reports dropped centering around Tom Brady and the reported gap between him and the New England Patriots, opening the door further for the six-time Super Bowl champion to exit Foxboro, Mass. 

ESPN's Jeff Darlington also reported that Brady is entering free agency with the idea that he will be playing for a new team when he is under center in 2020.

All this likely is was leaked from Brady's camp in an effort to get the Patriots to offer him the money he desires and agree to surround him with the necessary weapons to win a championship. While agent Don Yee seems to be trying to strong-arm the Patriots, it's beginning to appear more and more likely that Brady and Bill Belichick will say their peace and go their separate ways after two decades of dominance.

The 42-year-old quarterback is expected to test free agency, and the Raiders, along with the Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers have been heavily linked to the legendary quarterback, hoping to give their rebuild a jolt by adding the greatest quarterback of all-time.

On its face, the Raiders adding Brady would appear to go against the idea of a ground-up rebuild. But can Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock really say no to Brady if he indeed wants to call Sin City his new home? Should they?

Mayock said he was pleased with quarterback Derek Carr's play in 2019, but the Raiders will evaluate and look to upgrade any and all positions, including quarterback. Signing Brady, even at age 42 going on 43, would qualify as an upgrade. Brady's numbers dipped in 2019, but it was a product of having a receiver group that couldn't get separation, had drop issues and was one of the most undynamic groups in the league.

That's an issue for the Raiders, who had their own wide receiver issues last season. But starting with a core of Hunter Renfrow, Tyrell Williams and tight end Darren Waller is appealing, and the Raiders are sure to use at least one of their two first-round picks on a receiver. They also have over $50 million in cap space to use in free agency, although a large chunk of that would go to Brady.

Couple that with a powerful running game spearheaded by Josh Jacobs and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and the Raiders' cupboard isn't as bare as it might seem.

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Adding Brady would force the Raiders to aggressively ramp up their rebuild. His time is limited and he wants to win at least one more Super Bowl.

Can the Raiders promise to quickly build a winning team around in him a division with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs? It's a dicey proposition.

The smart money still is on Brady returning to New England, but he and the Patriots clearly aren't seeing eye-to-eye as free agency draws near,

NFL rumors: Raiders could be free-agent option for QB Philip Rivers

NFL rumors: Raiders could be free-agent option for QB Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers and the Raiders have locked horns for the last 16 years.

But now that the veteran signal-callers time with the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers is over, could Rivers really turn in his powder blues for silver and black?

When discussing the 38-year-old's free-agent options Wednesday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport noted the Raiders could be an option for Rivers if the Indianapolis Colts don't bring him in.

Alright, the Tom Brady rumors I understand. He's the GOAT, and if he wants to come, you agree to accelerate the rebuild and make it happen

But Rivers? No shot. Zero. Zilch. Not gonna happen.

First of all, Rivers looked completely and utterly washed last season for the Bolts. Yes, he racked up the yards (4,615) but he also threw 20 interceptions and looked pretty awful in both of his showings against the Raiders, who weren't exactly trotting out the '85 Chicago Bears on defense.

We also seem to forget that Derek Carr is the starting quarterback and is coming off an efficient season that saw the Raiders sitting at 6-4 through 10 games. A lack of weapons and Antonio Brown's preseason meltdown hampered Carr's overall production, but general manager Mike Mayock said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he was "pleased" with his quarterback. 

Mayock did, however, say the Raiders would look to upgrade any and all positions.

The keyword there is "upgrade." Rivers, at 38 and way over the hill and rolling into the valley, doesn't fit the description.

The Raiders are a young, rebuilding team hoping to take another step. Not a fully finished product in need of a competent quarterback to take them up a notch. And at this stage, Rivers certainly wouldn't be an upgrade over Carr.

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If the Raiders do elect to move on from Carr, it will be for Brady. That's the list. They aren't going to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Teddy Bridgewater isn't coming to town.

It's Carr or Brady. Rivers isn't in the equation.