Raiders

Report: Aldon Smith will be reinstated in March

Report: Aldon Smith will be reinstated in March

Aldon Smith has been banished from the NFL for some time now. It seems his indefinite suspension has an end date.

The Raiders edge rusher will be reinstated in March if he remains compliant with the substance abuse policy, the NFL Netwotk reported on Sunday morning.

Smith was banished under as a repeat offender of the NFL’s substance abuse on Nov. 15, 2015, and hasn’t been with his team since. He missed the entire 2016 season, though the team hoped he would return to help their playoff push.

That didn’t occur. Smith applied for reinstatement in October and was eligible for it on Nov. 17, but the NFL didn’t rule on it and ultimately tabled one until March 2017.

Head coach Jack Del Rio wasn’t happy with that decision.

“I’m a little disappointed, honestly,” Del Rio said. “I feel like, from everything I’ve gathered – it’s obviously not my job to make a ruling – he has done his duty to take care of everything he needs to take care of. I see some of the guys that have been allowed back, and my question is, ‘What’s the difference?’

Smith expressed frustration through an acquaintance after the NFL didn’t rule quickly. He met NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials in early December, but that didn’t prompt league action.

His banishment stems from an Aug. 2015 incident that led to misdemeanor charges of DUI, hit and run and vandalism and ultimately prompted the 49ers to release him. Those charges are outstanding. He signed with the Raiders just before the 2015 regular season, and had 3.5 sacks in nine games played.

He’s been banished ever since, a decision that prohibits Smith from having contact with Raiders officials outside the player engagement director. He re-signed with the Raiders last offseason, and will have a year left on his contract.

He voluntarily entered a rehab program last summer, shortly after an internet video appeared to associate him with a hand-rolled cigarette. He remained there for 120 days. Smith stayed in great physical shape in hopes of a 2016 return that never materialized.

If Smith is reinstated in March, he will be able to participate in the Raiders offseason program, which starts in mid-April.

Smith will be part of a pass rush that features Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Mario Edwards Jr.

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

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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.

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

The Raiders continued fleshing out their secondary on Friday agreeing on terms of a contract with safety Curtis Riley, the team announced Friday. The former New York Giant visited the team’s Alameda facility on Thursday and left without a deal, but he ended up taking the Raiders offer despite interest from other teams.

Riley hinted at a pact on Twitter on Friday, saying he was coming to the Bay Area. He’ll exchange coasts after starting all 16 games at free safety with last year’s Giants. He had 75 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups for that squad.

He’ll have an opportunity to play significant snaps in the Raiders secondary. High-priced free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is also a free safety, but is expected to play slot cornerback regularly in 2019, likely shuttling back and forth between positions.

Riley could step in as the free safety in sub packages that defenses spend significant time in nowadays. Erik Harris will compete for that role opposite strong safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders have options in the secondary now, with the aforementioned safeties and depth at cornerback. Gareon Conley’s a virtual lock to start at one outside cornerback spot. Daryl Worley’s expected to return on a second-round free-agent tender, through Thursday’s signing Nevin Lawson will compete for time there as well. Last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson will have to fight for time with this new defensive back depth chart.

The Raiders could well draft another defensive back as well, especially if a good one slips and becomes a great value pick.

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News of Riley’s agreement should excite quarterback Derek Carr. Riley’s a fellow Fresno State alum. and was teammates with Carr in 2013.

The Raiders also had interest in George Iloka, who played with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Iloka visited the Raiders complex Thursday, but left without a deal and scheduled other visits.