Raiders

Raiders sign first-round draft pick Josh Jacobs to rookie contract

Raiders sign first-round draft pick Josh Jacobs to rookie contract

And that’s a wrap. The Raiders have now signed every member of their 2019 NFL draft class.

No. 24 overall pick Josh Jacobs formally inked his rookie deal on Tuesday, the team announced, a four-year deal slotted to pay $11.9 million over four seasons. That sum includes a $6.69 million signing bonus, and there’s a fifth-year team option standard for all first-round draft picks. The payout is fully guaranteed, according to NFL Network, and stands as the last such guarantee in the NFL's draft order. The first 24 players will it this time, when all contracts are signed. Baltimore did not give No. 25 overall pick Marquise Brown that luxury, which stands as the dividing line for full guarantees. 

The Jacobs deal comes three weeks after the Raiders signed their other two first-round draft picks, Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram.

There’s rarely drama in these deals, with a rigid rookie wage scale established in this collective bargaining agreement that compensates players based upon draft slot. There are a few spots for sticking points, though this deal got done well ahead of when Raiders rookies report to training camp on June 23. 

Jacobs was drafted using one of two first-round picks acquired from Chicago on Sept. 1, 2018 for Khalil Mack. There’s another first-rounder coming next year, though the Raiders had to give up a second-round pick to get it.

Jacobs is Oakland's feature back, possibly a three-down player who rarely needs a spell considering his diverse skill set. He can play physical running inside, break outside the tackles, catch passes in the pattern and pass protection. Just because he can play three downs doesn't mean he will. Jon Gruden will feed his primary back heavily, but likes using multiple rushers. Jalen Richard will play an active role in the offense, especially as Jacobs weathers his first season since high school as the clear-cut No. 1 back. 

Doug Martin and Richard are locks in reserve. DeAndre Washington and Chris Warren III are battling for a fourth running back spot if there is one.

[RELATED: LT: Jacobs should be rookie of the year]

Jacobs will spend the remaining offseason and training camp preparing for a heavy workload he never absorbed at the University of Alabama, but the Raiders believe he’ll handle it well as a professional over the life of the rookie contract he’ll play under now that it’s officially signed.

Raiders legend Cliff Branch denied in latest Pro Football Hall of Fame bid

Raiders legend Cliff Branch denied in latest Pro Football Hall of Fame bid

The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted an expanded class in honor of the NFL’s 100th season, providing an opportunity to right some wrongs from way, way back.

They formed a blue-ribbon panel to select a larger group for induction, including 10 seniors who played at least 25 years ago, two coaches and three contributors.

But that still was not enough to get Cliff Branch in the Hall.

The legendary Raiders receiver was not included among the inductees, a disappointing turn for a Raiders franchise still mourning Branch’s loss.

Branch passed away last summer at the age of 71. Making the Hall of Fame proved elusive for the three-time Super Bowl champion and dangerous deep threat known for elite athleticism and speed.

[RELATEDBranch leaves lasting NFL legacy, earned Hall of Fame induction]

He had 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards per reception. Those totals match some of his contemporaries who have been enshrined, but his case has yet to be validated with a positive vote.

This was Branch’s best chance to get in. Now he’ll be reliant on the senior committee, which nominates one or two older players for enshrinement every year. Quarterback Ken Stabler was the last Raider inducted by the senior committee in 2016.

Roger Craig, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991, also was not selected.

The centennial class of enshrinees will be joined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 by five modern-era players who will be elected the day before Super 54 in Miami.

Here is the complete list of inductees selected by the blue-ribbon panel as part of the 2020 Hall of Fame Class that consists of 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches:

Coaches

Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993 (Dallas Cowboys(, 1996-99 (Miami Dolphins)

Contributors

Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 (NFL Films)
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 (NFL)
George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 (Baltimore Colts), 1975-78 (Miami Dolphins), 1979-1997 (New York Giants), 1998-2001 (NFL)

Seniors

Harold Carmichael, WR – 1971-1983 (Philadelphia Eagles), 1984 (Dallas Cowboys)
Jim Covert, T – 1983-1990 (Chicago Bears)
Bobby Dillon, S – 1952-59 (Green Bay Packers)
Cliff Harris, S – 1970-79 (Dallas Cowboys)
Winston Hill, T – 1963-1976 (New York Jets), 1977 (Los Angeles Rams)
Alex Karras, DT – 1958-1962, 1964-1970 (Detroit Lions)
Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Duke Slater, T – 1922 (Milwaukee Badgers), 1922-25 (Rock Island Independents), 1926-1931 (Chicago Cardinals)
Mac Speedie, E – 1946-1952 (Cleveland Browns AAFC/NFL)
Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB/E – 1944-1955 (Chicago Bears)

NFL rumors: Raiders fire D-line coach Brentson Buckner after one season

NFL rumors: Raiders fire D-line coach Brentson Buckner after one season

Brentson Buckner's time with the Raiders appears to be over after only one season. 

NFL Media's Jim Trotter reported Tuesday that the Raiders have fired Buckner and will name Rod Marinelli as their new defensive line coach. As Trotter pointed out, the Raiders improved tremendously under Buckner in 2019, improving their sack total by 19 compared to the previous season. 

Buckner reacted to the news later Tuesday afternoon.

While the Raiders vastly improved their sack numbers, they still finished the regular season tied for 24th in the NFL. But fifth-round draft pick Maxx Crosby finished the season with 10 sacks and 14 QB hits this season as a rookie, and there's no doubt Buckner played a large role in Crosby's fast transition to the NFL.

Marinelli served as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator since the 2014 season. He coached the team's D-line the year before. 

[RELATED: Gruden, Mayock spotted at East-West Shrine Bowl practice]

The Cowboys ended 2019 with 39 sacks, good for 19th in the league.

Coach Jon Gruden's decision to fire Buckner as one year in Silver and Black surely comes as a surprise.