Raiders

Source: Jeff Heath, Raiders agree to two-year contract to aid defense

Source: Jeff Heath, Raiders agree to two-year contract to aid defense

The Raiders were on the hunt for safety help in free agency. They tried to land Jimmie Ward on Monday night, but didn’t get him. He ended up staying with the 49ers.

Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock kept on pushing and landed Jeff Heath on a two-year contract Tuesday afternoon, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

ESPN's Todd Archer first reported the news and said Heath’s deal is worth up to $8 million.

The 28-year old former Dallas Cowboy has been a full-time starter the past three seasons. He has eight career interceptions and five forced fumbles.

The Raiders have been looking for someone to pair with 2019 first-round pick Johnathan Abram, who missed 15 games last year with a shoulder injury. He’ll be healthy and ready to go whenever the Raiders offseason is allowed to start following an indefinite postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Heath had 63 tackles in 13 games played in 2019, allowing 31 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns in coverage, per analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Erik Harris will compete with Heath for playing time alongside Abram after starting at free safety most of last year.

The Heath signing also makes it far more likely Karl Joseph signs elsewhere. The Raiders’ 2016 first-round pick was playing his best football in 2019 before suffering a season-ending foot injury. The Raiders declined his fifth-year option last spring, making him an unrestricted free agent.

[RELATED: Follow the latest signings in our NFL free agency live tracker]

Heath was the third former Cowboy the Raiders signed on Tuesday, joining defensive tackle Maliek Collins and tight end Jason Witten in committing to the Silver and Black.

Heath becomes the fourth presumed defensive starter added in free agency. Collins should start on the interior defensive line, with Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski has frontline linebackers. The Silver and Black would still like to add a cornerback, if possible, to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. 

Source: Raiders moving training camp from Napa to new Nevada facility

Source: Raiders moving training camp from Napa to new Nevada facility

The Raiders were set to conduct their offseason and training camp in the Bay Area before leaving permanently for Las Vegas. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out all football business at the team’s Alameda training complex, including most of a 2020 offseason program now conducted virtually with players, coaches and team officials staying home.

The team still had plans to hold training camp in Napa, but it seemed less likely in recent weeks with the team considering other options. Now that’s out of the question with the NFL mandating teams conduct training camp at their home facilities due to the ongoing public health crisis.

The Raiders will conduct their camp at their new facility currently under construction in Henderson, Nev. The complex is scheduled for completion by the end of this month, leaving plenty of time to be ready when camps start later in July.

A league source confirmed news on Tuesday afternoon that was first reported by ESPN.

Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the edict in a Tuesday memo to all 32 teams, stating that the league and the NFLPA wanted to limit travel and the need to maintain two facilities during the summer. The NFL and NFLPA have also banned joint practices this preseason, an increasingly popular trend the Raiders had joined the last two preseasons with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams, respectively.

This is a one-year mandate to train at home, not a permanent policy switch that impacts 10 teams who go away for camp. That means the Raiders could return to the Napa training camp facility, and owner Mark Davis loved during the team’s 25 summers spent in Wine Country. Davis didn’t rule out training in Napa even after moving to Las Vegas in an interview last summer, though that’s ultimately uncertain at this stage. The team does not have a contract to return to Napa in 2021.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

While it’s extremely hot in Nevada during summer months when training camps are held, the Raiders have an indoor practice bubble as part of their facility. They could also conduct intense workouts early in the morning before temperatures rise. 

The Raiders will be fully entrenched in Nevada soon. Some moving trucks have already transported property from Alameda to Henderson, where the Silver and Black are building a gorgeous training facility. Allegiant Stadium is nearing completion just off the Las Vegas Strip, with July 31 as a scheduled completion date.

[RELATED: Raiders' offseason additions have Jon Gruden primed for playoff return]

Several Raiders players, including quarterback Derek Carr, have already moved to the Las Vegas area and are training in small groups at local gathering spots in the region.

The NFL is planning to start training camps on time, with government mandated shelter-in-place restrictions loosening as the economy begins to re-open. The full squad typically reports just over two weeks prior to the first preseason, which the Raiders are scheduled to play on Aug. 13 at Seattle.

Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

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Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said construction crews are working against the clock as they mount a final push to complete Allegiant Stadium ahead of a July 31 deadline.

Speaking Monday morning on ESPN Radio 1100’s “The Press Box,” co-hosted by Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney, Davis touched on how crews have worked around the constraints created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“You think everything is going great and everything is on time and all of a sudden real life steps in the way,” Davis said. “You have to be prepared for those types of issues.”

Mortenson-McCarthy reported last week that 15 trade workers on the project are currently home with the coronavirus.

READ ABOUT ALLEGIANT STADIUM CONSTRUCTION ON REVIEW-JOURNAL