Raiders

Raiders waive Bruce Irvin; captain had team-leading three sacks

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USATSI

Raiders waive Bruce Irvin; captain had team-leading three sacks

The Raiders have waived edge rusher and team captain Bruce Irvin, the team announced Saturday.

"We would like to thank Bruce Irvin for his years of service to the Oakland Raiders and we wish him the best," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement.

The team’s only established pass rusher had seen his role diminish in recent weeks, to the point that he played just nine defensive snaps Thursday night against the 49ers.

The Raiders weren’t using him, and Irvin wasn’t happy. The Silver and Black tried to move him before last week’s NFL trade deadline and got some nibbles, but they couldn’t complete a deal.

Irvin was halfway though an $8 million salary, and a team would’ve assumed that pay rate had it acquired him in trade. The Raiders now are on the hook for the whole thing, unless a team claims him on waivers. His 2019 salary was not guaranteed and now is null and void.

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Irvin said he will "always cherish" his time in Oakland. 

The Athletic was first to report the news that Irvin had been cut.

Irvin must clear waivers before becoming a free agent. He could be claimed by a pass-rusher-starved team, or sign with one shortly after.

A reunion with Ken Norton Jr. and the Seattle Seahawks, the team that originally drafted him, seems like an obvious landing spot, though there will be competition for his services.

The Raiders have generated an NFL-worst (by a long shot) 59 quarterback pressures this season, but they still chose to use Irvin less and less. This coaching staff moved him from strongside linebacker to defensive end in more of a traditional 4-3 base alignment, but his role was reduced to sub packages during the season despite him being regarded as a solid edge run defender and adept at forcing fumbles.

He has a team-leading three sacks on the season.

Irvin was impacted most by the Sept. 1 Khalil Mack trade. He was an excellent secondary edge rusher, capitalizing on attention paid to Mack across the line.

Irvin and Mack also were great friends, and losing his partner on the field made life far tougher on him to generate quarterback pressure. Irvin isn’t a solid scheme fit either, which led to a downturn in his production when he was on the field.

The Raiders will use the same combination of defensive ends as they have been, with Frostee Rucker, Arden Key and Shilique Calhoun, and Clinton McDonald playing out of position on the outside.

This is yet another move that doesn’t help the 2018 Raiders’ on-field product, much like the Mack and Amari Cooper trades. Rucker is the leader up front, with fellow team captain Reggie Nelson fronting the secondary.

The Raiders are off through the weekend, and will return to practice Monday.

NFL free agency: Raiders target George Iloka agrees to Cowboys contract

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AP

NFL free agency: Raiders target George Iloka agrees to Cowboys contract

The Raiders added one former Bengals defender earlier this week. They were not able to add another.

Safety George Iloka, who reportedly visited the Raiders earlier in the week, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

The team announced the deal on Saturday.

The Raiders reunited linebacker Vontaze Burfict with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther on Tuesday, and tried to do the same with Iloka, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 28-year-old spent the 2018 season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Missing out on Iloka isn't the worst thing in the world for the Raiders. They addressed the safety position over the last week with the additions of Lamarcus Joyner and Curtis Riley.

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

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USATSI

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

The Raiders wanted an experienced backup quarterback behind Derek Carr, and got one Friday by signing Mike Glennon.

Now they hope he never plays. It’s still a vital role in meeting rooms and on-the-field, should an emergency arise on game day. Young bucks can get caught in the headlights. Veterans won’t be as good as the starter, but can generally function better being inserted into a game without many practice reps.

He has hopped into action during five seasons and has 22 starts, meaning he can handle short-relief or a stretch as the starter.

That calms some fan's nerves after the Raiders released AJ McCarron, who has already signed with the Houston Texans, leaving Nathan Peterman as the only non-Carr quarterback on the roster.

Glennon steps into the No. 2 slot having completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 5,107 yards and 35 touchdowns with 20 interceptions over five seasons.

Peterman is still with the Raiders on a futures contract, and is the No. 3 guy at the moment.

Many will look at the signing and wonder if it impacts the possibility of drafting a quarterback next month. It’s hard to rule anything out, but the disciplined choice would be to address the pass rush early and often in the 2019 NFL Draft, though a quarterback could get taken later in the selection process.

But…having Glennon on the roster won’t prohibit the Raiders from taking Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Would the Raiders eliminate the prospect of taking Quinnen Williams because interior pass rushers P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst were drafted last year? Absolutely not.

A edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and must be addressed with quality and quantity before the season starts.

The Raiders don’t have to take a quarterback now in the draft, and adding Glennon takes the pressure off the demand to get another one down the line. Glennon should be viewed as a reliable backup who can step into service if Carr isn’t available.