Richie Incognito

NFL Draft 2020: How Raiders' John Simpson fits on offensive line

NFL Draft 2020: How Raiders' John Simpson fits on offensive line

The Raiders' Clemson connection remains strong. They selected three former Tigers last year. They added two in as many picks this season, taking coverage linebacker Tanner Muse late Friday night and guard John Simpson early Saturday morning.

The Silver and Black traded up to the No. 109 overall selection to take one of the top-tier guards in this draft, a 6-foot-4, 321-pound road grader with the talent required to be an NFL starter.

This move certainly leaves one to wonder if Gabe Jackson has played his final game as a Raider. The 2014 third-round pick has been on the trading block in recent weeks, with NFL Network reporting the price isn’t that high.

Jackson has battled injury in recent seasons and is set to make $9.6 million per year on a contract that runs through 2022 and no longer contains any guaranteed money.

The Raiders only have one pick remaining, at No. 139 overall, after trading up with the Detroit Lions to take Simpson.

Head coach Jon Gruden likes and respects Jackson, though his salary is cost-prohibitive for a team that is right up against the salary cap after allocating money to sign their draft class.

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It was smart for the Raiders to load up on interior lineman considering Jackson’s cost and recent injury history and Richie Incognito playing well but at age 36.

The Raiders re-signed Denzelle Good, someone capable of being a full-time starter. Jordan Devey also returns as an experienced backup on the interior line. They also signed Eric Kush in free agency and continued to stock up on the inside with Simpson.

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The Raiders certainly would hope he can be a long-term solution at either right or left guard and would compete with veterans for a chance to play early on in his career.

Simpson is a big and powerful interior lineman who stands up well to bull rushes and is solid blocking in space, though analysts say he’s a bit slow off the snap. He can play both guard spots and was excellent during his Clemson career. He was a consensus All-American in 2019 in his third year as a starter. 

He’s a quality player from a quality program who gives the Raiders freedom to make a Jackson trade or a cut if they see fit.

It also creates some financial wiggle room to add a free-agent signing after the NFL draft to add depth or plug the remaining holes on the roster as we move through the offseason.

Source: Jordan Devey returning to Raiders, joining crowded guard group

Source: Jordan Devey returning to Raiders, joining crowded guard group

The Raiders have tons of depth on the interior. So much, in fact, that there’ll be a dogfight for roster spots this summer.

A crowded field grew again Thursday morning, when the Raiders re-signed veteran Jordan Devey to a contract. A league source confirmed that news, first reported by NFL Network.

The reserve guard, who also can play center, started four games last season before landing on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

Devey had a strong start to the year before going down for good, so there certainly was good reason for the Raiders to bring him back.

Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson are set to start at guard, with Devey, Andre James, Denzelle Good, Lester Cotton and new signing Eric Kush battling for jobs as reserves.

Devey and James can both play center and back up Rodney Hudson.

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This will be a position to watch during the preseason, with the Raiders possibly cutting a good player or two before the regular season. Jackson’s name has been tossed about in trade rumors, though the Raiders would like to keep him and make their line as strong as possible.

Devey played three years in Kansas City and one with the 49ers and New England Patriots before joining the Silver and Black.

Raiders' Nicholas Morrow, Richie Incognito earn performance-based pay

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USATSI

Raiders' Nicholas Morrow, Richie Incognito earn performance-based pay

Two Raiders players outperformed their 2019 salaries and received raises from the NFL on Thursday.

Las Vegas linebacker Nicholas Morrow and offensive lineman Richie Incognito were among the players that benefited from the NFL's performance-based pay program.

Morrow, who earned a base salary of $645,000 last season, earned $309,968 in performance-based pay and earned an additional $220,013 from the veteran pool, for a total of $529,981 in distributed money.

Incognito, who earned $1.03 million with the Raiders in 2019 according to Spotrac.com, earned $279,239 in performance-based pay and $179,329 from the veteran pool, for a total of $476,567.

Following the conclusion of the 2019 regular season, the Raiders re-signed Incognito to a two-year contract worth $12.7 million with $5 million in guaranteed money.

Morrow is scheduled to be a restricted free agent when the new league year begins.

What exactly is the NFL's performance-based pay program? Here's how the league describes it:

"Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.  In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pools."

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According to the league, they handed out $231.152 million in additional salary through the program Thursday.

Assuming Morrow stays with the Raiders, both players will have a little extra money to help them transition from Oakland to Las Vegas.