Raiders, No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell agree to four-year contract


Raiders, No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell agree to four-year contract

The Raiders signed one of their three first-round draft picks Tuesday, and it’s the richest deal of them all.

No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell inked a four-year contract slotted for $31.2 million, with a fifth-year team option standard to all first-round picks, the team announced Tuesday.

Every dime of these rookie deals is fully guaranteed, with a $20.8 million signing bonus.

The Raiders still must sign No. 24 overall pick Josh Jacobs and No. 27 selection Johnathan Abram, but there’s no real concern about a holdup in either case.

Rookie contracts don’t contain much wiggle room thanks to a wage scale that slots players into deals by draft spot.

Ferrell locked up his hefty sum after the Raiders took him higher than many expected. The Clemson edge rusher is an ideal scheme fit with high-level college production the Raiders believe will translate into a steady three-down NFL player capable of contributing right away.

“Clelin is exactly what I’m looking for,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. "That’s the kind of guys we had (with the Bengals). The Michael Johnson and the Carlos Dunlaps we had in Cincinnati that are every-down ends, that are big men that can both rush and play the run. So he’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

[RELATED: AB setting new standard for all Raiders during offseason]

The Raiders' offseason program ended last week, but rookies can stick around another week to work with strength and conditioning staff and the player engagement department.

Why linebacker Tahir Whitehead is certain Raiders will exceed expectations


Why linebacker Tahir Whitehead is certain Raiders will exceed expectations

The Raiders justifiably were frustrated after losing to Kansas City. They shut the Chiefs out for three quarters, but a 28-point, second-quarter outburst dashed the Silver and Black’s upset bid in the 28-10 defeat.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead understood the disappointment permeating the postgame locker room, but knew it wouldn’t last long. He expected the Raiders to rally, not sulk.

Sure enough, he was right. The Raiders haven’t been sulking while preparing for Week 3’s game at Minnesota. Young squads can be emotional in those moments, but Whitehead knew they’d be all business.

“We have a great locker room, from the young guys all the way up to the captains,” Whitehead said on this week’s Raiders Talk podcast. “After suffering the first loss, I wasn’t worried one bit about how the team was going to react. I got to know this team and the guys I’m dealing with. They aren’t going to ride that emotional roller coaster. I knew we weren’t going to be dealing with that. Guys were upbeat, and ready to get back to work.”

That wasn’t always the case last year. The locker room was reeling most of the 2018 season, frustrated by top talents being shipped out during the year and all the losses piling up.

Veterans left regularly during that campaign, with the personnel getting younger all around Whitehead. He was a rare constant, someone who played nearly every snap of that struggle. He learned a lot about himself during that time, and the importance of being a beacon for others who have lost their way.

“I learned that you have to be a focal point in difficult times, and I played almost every snap last year,” Whitehead said. “You really have to understand what’s going on around you. When there’s chaos going on all around, you have to be a centerpiece that brings everyone together. Last year, I learned that, when things are going on off the field, I have to bring focus back to doing my job, my 1/11th. …I take that approach, and tell other guys to do the same.”

[RELATED: Should Raiders trade for Ramsey, who wants to play in Vegas?]

Whitehead went through a tough time in 2018, and he knows how tense things got. He considers the 2019 experience night and day to last year’s, and takes great confidence in the progress made already knowing there’s more yet to come.

“Being in the second year of the scheme goes a long way,” Whitehead said. “Guys are comfortable. Even from the coaching staff, those guys were new. You have players trying to mesh and coaches trying to mesh. That’s hard at first, but you can see things start to pick up as the season went on. We took that momentum and carried it to the offseason and OTAs, and from there to training camp and on into the season.

"You can see that we’ve steadily been building. It’s a sight to see. It’s encouraging, and that’s why I can walk in every day with a smile on my face, knowing that we’re better than what people think we are, and we’re better than we’ve shown. We’re going to keep chasing it.”

Anonymous Raider really wants Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey traded to Oakland


Anonymous Raider really wants Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey traded to Oakland

Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville, and (at least) one Raider wants the cornerback in Oakland. 

An anonymous member of the Silver and Black made the case for his team to bring in the talented, trash-talking 25-year-old to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. 

Ramsey would help just about any NFL team play the kind of defense it aspires to. In four NFL seasons, the Florida State product has grown into one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, if not the best. Pro Football Focus ranked Ramsey the second-best cornerback coming into the season, and early-season struggles in a situation he clearly wants no part of -- just ask Doug Marrone -- won't dissuade any interested suitors.

[RELATED: Davis trade gives Raiders speed in return game, on offense]

In theory, the Raiders should be one. As NBC Sports California's Josh Schrock noted earlier this week, acquiring Ramsey would allow the Raiders to slide their cornerbacks down the depth chart and into roles in which they could thrive. Ramsey won't come cheap when his contract is up after next season, either, but the Silver and Black is set up to have plenty of salary-cap space when the team moves to Las Vegas in 2021.

After orbiting around Antonio Brown's star for fewer than six months, the Raiders conceivably could want no part in acquiring another disgruntled player forcing his way out of the team that drafted him. If the Raider who spoke up is to be believed, the locker room might think it's worth the risk.