The Raiders brought free-agent running back Isaiah Crowell in for a visit Thursday. He’ll leave with a new contract and a new team.
Oakland signed the 26-year-old to a one-year contract on Thursday, the team announced. Crowell could get up to $2.5 million next season, a source said.
Crowell is a productive do-it-all back the Raiders prefer, someone adept as a receiver out of the backfield. He can also be a tough runner inside the tackles and out, averaging. 4.8 yards per carry last year for the New York Jets.
He exceeded 1,000 yards of total offensive in 2016 and 2017, working then with Cleveland. He’s a bigger back at 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, and will be an important part of a running back corps that should look different than last year.
The Raiders are looking closely at draft options, trying to find a young feature back. Jalen Richard will be back on a restricted free agent tender, but it seems likely at this point Doug Martin will play elsewhere. Chris Warren will compete for regular-season snaps after missing 2018 with a knee injury.
The Raiders are slow-playing Marshawn Lynch despite him being healthy and ready to play after missing most of 2018 with a groin injury. The team could evaluate the position after the draft before making a call on Lynch.
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Crowell should have a roster spot and a role in 2019. Who he’s running with and how big it will be, should be determined by additions to the position group.
The Raiders challenged for the playoffs last season, but if the data-driven Pro Football Focus player rankings are to be believed, Las Vegas’ new NFL team may struggle to do that again.
No Raiders made PFF’s top 50, but nine players from their three AFC West rivals were ranked.
Five of those were from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs — quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 2, defensive tackle Chris Jones at No. 16, tight end Travis Kelce at No. 19, wide receiver Tyreek Hill at No. 22 and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz at No. 23.
It’s an old tradition that will carry on in the Raiders’ new Las Vegas location.
The Al Davis Memorial Torch will continue to be lit in honor of the late long-time team owner. It was debuted on Wednesday through the massive retractable lanai doors in the backdrop at Allegiant Stadium:
It’s a more updated version of the original torch, but the message remains the same. According to Raiders.com, that vision is “the fire that burns brightest in the Raiders’ organization is the will to win.” That was a quote by the late Davis and before every home game, fans pay tribute to him with a flick of the flame.
Former Raiders and celebrities have created the flame including Bay Area-native rapper MC Hammer, former Super Bowl-winning head coach John Madden, Marshawn Lynch and many, many more.
[RELATED: Raiders moving training facility from Napa to Nevada]
Current owner Mark Davis admitted he was sweating a little bit on the construction of the 65,000-foot, $2 billion stadium amid the July 31 deadline.
But for now, at least a part of Al Davis will be there.
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