AJ McCarron

NFL free agency: Raiders sign ex-Steelers backup QB Landry Jones


NFL free agency: Raiders sign ex-Steelers backup QB Landry Jones

A familiar face will join Antonio Brown in the Raiders' locker room, as their quarterback room just got more crowded. 

The Raiders signed former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Landry Jones on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Jones played with Brown in Pittsburgh from 2013 to 2017. On Nov. 8, 2015, Jones and Brown even connected on a game-winning drive against the Raiders.  

Jones, who turns 30 on April 4, is one of four QBs on the Raiders roster. Last week, the Silver and Black signed Mike Glennon just over a week after cutting 2018 backup AJ McCarron. The Raiders say they're all-in on starter Derek Carr, but have meetings scheduled with some of the NFL draft's top quarterback prospects. 

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Still, it's worth noting that the Raiders only kept two QBs on the active roster last season. Nathan Peterman spent time on the practice squad down the stretch, and he signed a reserve-futures contract with the team in January. 

In other words, Carr figures to be the only lock to make the roster in 2019. If the Raiders draft another quarterback, it's possible the Jones/Glennon/Peterman era ends rather quickly. 

Why Raiders cut Jordy Nelson, AJ McCarron but left door open for return

Why Raiders cut Jordy Nelson, AJ McCarron but left door open for return

The Raiders paid Jordy Nelson a $3.6 million roster bonus in Dec. 2018, roughly four months before it was due. It was done for salary-cap purposes, but doubled as a signal the veteran receiver would return in 2019.

Coach Jon Gruden said so directly, but his plans obviously changed after acquiring high-priced receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

The Raiders needed to decrease their cash flow as much, if not more than they needed extra cap space. In light of that need, they deemed Jordy Nelson expendable.

He was released Thursday afternoon, along with backup quarterback AJ McCarron.

Those cuts saved a combined $8.5 million in cap space and decreased outgoing cash flow, important outcomes after signing four veterans to massive contracts with significant guaranteed money in the last few days. 

Nelson’s base salary would’ve become guaranteed on Friday. That’s also when McCarron had bonuses and some salary locked up, so that’s why Raiders chose to make hard cuts the day before.

Cutting Nelson saved $3.5 million in cap space and comes with $1.8 million in dead money, a penalty that could’ve been avoided had they left Nelson’s original contract alone. Paying bonuses early was designed to absorb some extra money into the 2018 cap – Lee Smith, Kyle Wilber and Tahir Whitehead also received early sums – but ended up being for naught in Nelson’s case.

McCarron’s release saved $5 million in cash and cap space.

The Raiders need some flexibility after a flurry of high-priced free agent moves this week and the trade for Antonio Brown, which came with a restructured contract.

The Silver and Black hoped to retain both players but didn’t find it feasible with their offseason needs, goals and new financial commitments. They have not, however, ruled out either player coming at a reduced rate.

"I'm sick to my stomach and I don't even know these guys,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said in a Thursday interview with SiriusMX NFL Radio. “Unfortunately, there are financial realities of this game. At some point, who knows? They might come back to us and we would welcome it with open arms."

Both guys would have to return at reduced rates, though they'll have options on the open market.

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Nelson will become a free agent for the second time in as many years. He has played a full decade in the NFL, including nine previous seasons with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers cut him this time last year, and he quickly signed on with the Raiders.

Ultimately, the Raiders paid Nelson roughly $10 million in salary and various bonuses for a year’s service. He had 63 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns, and dealt with knee issues down the stretch.

Oakland appreciated his steadiness and influence on a young receiver corps, and that could still be valuable with Brown and Williams in the receiver room.

The Raiders traded for McCarron just before the regular season and hoped to retain him in 2019, but they couldn’t. The Raiders need another quarterback if McCarron doesn’t come back – Nathan Peterman’s the only reserve quarterback on the roster – and there’s a real chance the Raiders draft a developmental prospect in the middle or later rounds.

Raiders cut QB AJ McCarron after one season, save $5M in salary-cap space


Raiders cut QB AJ McCarron after one season, save $5M in salary-cap space

The Raiders now need a backup quarterback. 

Oakland released quarterback AJ McCarron on Thursday, the team announced. The move also saves the team $5 million in salary-cap space.

The Raiders traded a 2019 fifth-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills for McCarron in September. He appeared in two games for Oakland and completed one of his three pass attempts. 

Releasing McCarron makes Nathan Peterman the team's backup quarterback at the moment. Peterman was signed to a reserve-futures contract in January.

[RELATED: Peterman to Raiders has Twitter erupting for many reasons]

Peterman threw three touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in eight games over two seasons in Buffalo.