Report: Raiders agree to terms with former Chiefs linebacker Johnson


Report: Raiders agree to terms with former Chiefs linebacker Johnson

Derrick Johnson has spent more than a decade as a Raiders rival. The longtime Kansas City Chief is reportedly switching allegiance.

The 35-year old middle linebacker agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Silver and Black, NFL Network reported on Friday morning.

That addresses a need unfilled during last week’s NFL draft, when the Raiders didn’t take a linebacker until the sixth round.

Johnson provides instant leadership, football smarts and veteran savvy to the linebacker corps, though his athleticism has waned some. He suffered his second Achilles’ tendon tear in three seasons during a 2016 victory over the Raiders, and he didn’t show the same range last season.

He visited the Raiders facility on Thursday to meet with coaches and personnel staff.

Johnson can still help a position previously manned by second-year pros Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow, who would’ve formed a platoon at middle linebacker if help didn’t arrive.

Johnson has long been a three-down linebacker, though his exact role with the Raiders remains uncertain. Head coach Jon Gruden will be available to the media Friday afternoon following a rookie minicamp practice at the team’s Alameda complex.

Johnson had 70 tackles and a sack last season, but remained strong in coverage. Passers had a 77.0 rating when targeting Johnson’s man.

The four-time Pro Bowler will join a linebacker corps featuring free-agent signings Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur.

Johnson’s addition could mean the end of a fruitless pursuit to re-sign Navorro Bowman. The veteran played well after signing with the Raiders – the 49ers cut him after Week 5 – but didn’t deem contract offers satisfactory.

The Raiders wanted to re-sign Bowman before free agency began, but couldn’t agree on terms. His agent met with the team at the NFL owners meetings in late March, but a pact wasn’t reached and he remains on the open market.

Arden Key signs, entire Raiders 2018 draft class now under contract


Arden Key signs, entire Raiders 2018 draft class now under contract

The Raiders drafted nine players back in April. Now they’re all under contract.

Third-round edge rusher Arden Key was the last to ink his rookie deal, putting pen to paper on a four-year rookie deal Friday morning.

Key will make an estimated $3.57 million over the league of the deal with a $834k signing bonus, per athletic salary site

The current collective bargaining agreement and its rookie wage scale makes signing draft picks far easier, with little wiggle room to negotiate deals.

The Raiders locked up their last rookie the day after the offseason program’s conclusion. NFL teams largely go quiet during this time, until training camps begin in late July.

The Raiders are excited about Key’s potential. The LSU product believes he’s a first-round talent who dropped due to off-field concerns and a drop in his 2017 production over the previous year.

Key has flashed great athleticism, quickness and bend. He could make an immediate impact as a third edge rusher behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

“Arden Key,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said, “has got some special pass-rush ability.”

Reports: Raiders WR Martavis Bryant's standing with NFL in question

Reports: Raiders WR Martavis Bryant's standing with NFL in question

The Raiders gave up significant draft capital to acquire receiver Martavis Bryant. The trade cost a third-round pick, something the Silver and Black were willing to sacrifice for a game-breaking talent missing from their arsenal.

They might've traded for a player who will be unavailable. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported Thursday night that the Raiders are concerned the NFL will discipline Bryant. The report also states discipline is believed to stem from poor standing with the substance abuse policy.

That would be news to Bryant. As of late Friday morning, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area, the NFL had not notified Bryant about issues with his standing with the league.

An NFL spokesman declined comment when asked if the league was considering discipline for Bryant.

Bryant violated the NFL substance abuse policy multiple times while playing in Pittsburgh. The Clemson product has been suspended twice over failed drug tests, and missed the entire 2016 season as a repeat offender of the substance abuse policy.

He was conditionally reinstated prior to the 2017 campaign. The receiver must now follow stringent guidelines, including tests and meetings, to remain compliant with the substance abuse policy. In short, more than a failed drug test can get a player in some trouble.

The NFL Network reports the league has identified an issue with Bryant, but that it is not clear if it will result in a delay in his availability – he was held out for the start of training camp last year with Pittsburgh – if the issue can be simply remedied clerically or if it will result in a suspension. NFL Network also reports Bryant met with the league at its New York office in late April, and was in good standing at that time.

Bryant did not participate in Thursday’s Raiders minicamp practice, the last session of their offseason program.

Bryant has not spoken to the press since April 27, when he said the Raiders trade offered a “clean slate” he planned to maximize.

“I’ve had my difficulties in my past, but I’ve come a long way from that,” Bryant said. “It’s all about keeping the right resources around me and continuing to stay on the right path. I’m going to make sure I get that done.”

Bryant has one season left on his contract, originally signed with Pittsburgh. He has looked good in practices open to the press, flashing great speed and an ability to use his 6-foot, 5-inch frame well.