Raiders restricted free agent Chris Carr signed an offer sheet with the Tennessee Titans today.
The Raiders have seven days to match he offer or lose Carr without compensation because he was undrafted out of Boise State.
Carr has been a backup safety and cornerback in addition to returning kicks and punts.
It would be surprising if the Raiders matched the offer, reported to be a little under $2 million.
The additions of CB DeAngelo Hall and S Gibril Wilson would put Carr's role in flux if the team decides to keep Stuart Schweigert and Hiram Eugene as backup safeties. The Raiders also have a lot of corners.
As far as return duties, the Raiders could ask Dominic Rhodes to return kicks again in 2008. Johnnie Lee Higgins was drafted last year largely for his kick and punt return skills, figures to get a look.
Could this be the move that frees up the Raiders to draft Darren McFadden?
The team announced the signing of veteran defensive end Kalimba Edwards today.
Edwards signed a two-year deal worth $5 million according to the NFL Network.
Defensive end was a pressing need. While Edwards won't be confused with Dwight Freeney, he's a step above Tyler Brayton.
And if that need is filled, the need to add a DE early in the draft isn't as big.
Then the Raiders could add this guy to the backfield.
Back to the newest Raider.
Edwards(6-6, 265) has shown the ability to be dominant, but has been dogged by inconsistency since being a second-round draft pick of Detroit’s in 2002.
He signed a five-year, $20 million deal in 2006, but has only six sacks since. He tallied a career-high seven sacks in 2005 and has 26 in six seasons.
Edwards has 22 starts in 87 career games.
He played in eight games last season with six starts. He missed four because of injuries before being deactivated for the final four games of the season.
Edwards wasn’t surprised to be cut by Detroit this month. By the end of 2007, he expected it after failing to become the dominant pass rusher he expected to be playing for Detroit head coach and renowned defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
Players like Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice flourished under Marinelli.
“I told you all at the beginning of the season what the deal was if I didn’t produce, if you all remember my statements,” Edwards told the Detroit Free Press. “If I would have made the plays, I’d still be here. I told you if I didn’t make the plays, I wasn’t going to be here.”
Now he’s in Oakland.
Edwards will be a candidate to start opposite Derrick Burgess as the Raiders look for someone to replace the pressure of the edge that Chris Clemons created last season.
Jay Richardson will be in his second season, but the Raiders usually took him out in passing situations.
Edwards’ best game last year was the season opener when he sacked the Raiders’ Josh McCown twice.
With Edwards signed, the Raiders might elect to pass on a defensive end in the draft and go with McFadden, the star running back from Arkansas.
Defensive end was a major need this offseason and the Raiders figured to be in position to snag two of the draft’s best, Chris Long or Vernon Gholston.
But if the team is satisfied with Edwards and Richardson opposite Burgess, McFadden becomes the obvious selection at No. 4.
And in scouring the latest draft news, there’s a chance Long and Gholston could go first and second overall.
But if the Raiders end up with the best offensive player from the Southeastern Conference in consecutive drafts, that wouldn’t be bad at all.
My voice is back after yelling “M-V-P” for Kobe Bryant in Oakland last night.
I wasn’t sitting close to JaMarcus Russell, but I guarantee you he didn’t look 300 pounds. Nnamdi Asomugha and Gerard Warren were also in attendance.
I also ran into Aaron Brooks.
But it’s time to answer questions. And what does everyone want to know about?
The Draft, Lane Kiffin, Darren McFadden, Vernon Gholston and more on Kiffin.
Question: Are you vying to be the best Raider media outlet? I hope so.
Are you going to hang out to Alameda to get with Kiffin or Russell?
What time is Kiffin going to work?
Rod, Rancho Cordova
Answer: Yes, I’m trying to be the best out there. One of my favorite phrases begins: “Do thy duty that is best.”
So if I’m not trying to be the best, I’m cheating myself and the readers. And though you could find somewhere else for Raider news, I’d be stuck without a job for not trying to be No. 1.
I’m still the youngest beat writer (the only one under 30, though I hit the thirty mark this fall) and I’m willing to try some different things to get to the bottom of a story.
But I don’t plan on hanging out in Alameda like I did at the airport for DeAngelo Hall.
The Raiders have a closed gate and players tend to zoom out I don’t want to be road kill to get a story, but that might be the only way to get Kiffin, right?
Or I could hang out late one night and hope to run into him as was the case in Indianapolis at the Combine.
Question: What is motivating Al Davis to spend all this money on free agents? I read in a publication that he is suffering from cancer. Could you shed a little light on that? Also are the Raiders contemplating trading to stockpile picks and possibly draft a wide out particulary James Hardy or Limas Sweed?
Adam, Brockport, PA
Answer: The first part is easy: Al Davis wants to win NOW! It’s been an embarrassing five year stretch for the Raiders. Their 19 wins are the fewest over that span and they haven’t been close to respectability since losing in the Super Bowl.
There are always rumors about Davis’ health, but this is the first rumor I’ve heard about cancer. Barring anything coming from a reputable source, I’d dismiss that. Davis uses a walker to get around, but (believe me or not) still works out with weights and is as active as someone almost 80 that’s battled leg problems can be. He doesn’t travel as much (Davis didn’t attend the Combine) but he was at every Raider game and I don’t expect that to change.
The Raiders haven’t been big on trading down, or as I’ve been told by some around the league, Davis is likely to ask for the firstborn of another team’s general manager to trade down.
This year’s draft is also deep enough at receiver that trading down might not be needed to get a good, young receiver. Sweed will probably be gone in the first round and the Raiders might have to trade into the end of the first round or early second to snag Hardy.
But with the additions of Javon Walker and Drew Carter, I don’t think receiver will be as pressing an issue.
Question: I have heard around that Mr. Davis still has another move up his sleeve. So my question is, what are the chances that this move can be to bring in Chad Johnson to Oaktown?
Luis; Los Angeles
Answer: First, whoever you hear things from, feel free to tell them to contact me. I need all the help I can get.
A trade for Johnson (though I’d love it purely for locker room laughs) doesn’t seem likely.
The Bengals have said they won’t trade Johnson and doing so would reportedly seriously impact their salary cap.
If there’s a “big move” to be made, it would be trading up in the draft to bring Howie Long’s son, Chris, to Oakland. That would be my guess.
Question: You do such a great job covering the Raiders. The Bee has never had objective coverage of my team before you. I moved here from Alameda in the 5th grade. 30 years ago. Wow I'm old.
If Gholston and McFadden both fall to #4, Who do you pick and why?
I think this will be the case and I love both these guys. I can't decide!
John, Citrus Heights
Answer: Thanks for the kind words. I guess that I used to proudly wear my Tim Brown jersey is impacting my coverage and making me soft.
As for the Gholston/McFadden debate, it’s a tough one.
It’s hard to justify passing on McFadden. I lean toward Gholston because the Raiders haven’t addressed defensive end in free agency. If Tommy Kelly was going to play DE exclusively and the Raiders added another DT, I’d say McFadden.
But the chance to add a player that could contribute 10 sacks immediately is too much for me to pass on right now. Also, running backs can be found later in the draft, if needed.
Of course that means Gholston will be a workout wonder and McFadden will go on to the Hall of Fame.
I never claimed to know it all, I just try my best.
Question: How's it going Jason? I've only been reading your stuff for a few months, but I like what you write. What realistic hopes do you have for the Raiders making the playoffs if they draft Gholston over McFadden or the other way around? Thanks for your time.
Miguel, McChord AFB, WA
Answer: Playoffs? You wanna talk about the playoffs?
Sorry, Miguel. Any chance to play that clip only plays into my childish sense of humore.
My lack of optimism about a playoff run has nothing to do with Gholston or McFadden. Both players would provide a boost that is needed.
Gholston could step in opposite Derrick Burgess and cause havoc. McFadden, however, would seem to have a greater chance of impacting a game with his speed.
But how will the offensive line hold up? How fast will JaMarcus Russell develop? Will the middle of the Raiders’ defense hold up against the run. Will the defense tackle better?
If those things don’t turn out in the Raiders’ favor, it won’t matter who they draft. They’ll have a top-5 pick in 2009.
Question: I know I'm going to sound like a broken record, but what’s going on with Kiffin? There is no way a team can win if the head coach can’t make a decision. Somebody has to know what’s going on. Who will develop Russell? Who will call the plays? What offense will they use? And on and on. Please help the stress is really eating at me.
David, Elk Grove
Answer: As of now, nothing is going on with Kiffin. It looks like he’ll be around this season.
Kiffin will be able to make decisions, just not the big decisions regarding the coaching staff and roster that he thought he would when hired.
Someone close to the team told me Kiffin did have a lot of say in his first year with the roster. But the team won only four games and Davis was angered with Kiffin’s flirtations with college jobs after a two-game winning streak that made the Raiders 4-8.
I assume the offense will look a lot like last year’s with more shots downfield to loosen up the defense and take advantage of Russell’s arm. The same team that worked with Russell last year is back.
I don’t know if I’ve eased any of your stress, but when I feel like that, I play video games or spend way too much time on Myspace or Facebook.
Question: When can we expect to see Lamont Jordan get released? The Raiders don't need him anymore and the combination of his salary and attitude make him not likely to get traded.
Answer: That’s a good question that I don’t have the answer to. The time to do this was last year when the team could have let him walk, gotten a look at Michael Bush and then known for sure if drafting McFadden was a necessity.
I don’t know if Jordan is participating in the voluntary offseason program. But if I were him, I’d be sitting it out and waiting for my release.
The rest of the NFL knows the Raiders would have to cut him at some point. My guess would be after the draft.
Question: Dear Jason,
I was just wondering if there has been any word from Asomugha about Hall's contract or even the addition of Hall to the secondary. I'm curious to see what Asomugha thinks his worth is in a contract and if the Raiders do plan to sign him long term or just let him play out this year. Has he signed the tender yet or is he waiting?
Michael, Long Beach
Great, a question from the city that produced Snoop Dogg and your’s truly.
I haven’t spoken to Asomugha since the end of the season, but if you see him, tell him he’s welcome to call or email me at anytime.
I doubt Asomugha is worried about Hall’s contract. It’s just not his personality to be worried about something like that.
The Raiders do want to sign Asomugha to a new deal, but there’s no rush. It’s only March and he hasn’t signed the tender, so he can’t workout with the team yet because he’s not under contract.
Question: With the dust settling a little, and after finally getting a quote from Kiffin, where do you see the Davis-Kiffin relationship that has been scarred with rumors?
I believe something happened, otherwise it would have only been said by one journalist, not all of them. So, is this a case of the communication game? You know, where you all stand in a room and then whisper to one person "I like trees" and by the time it gets around to the last person they say " I like Ding Dongs" or whatever.
Chris, Las Cruces, NM
Answer: Something definitely happened. But I think Kiffin and Davis will have a business relationship because they have to. It wasn’t scarred by rumors, it was scarred by things that happened.
Rather than rehash everything, it’s know Davis didn’t like Kiffin looking at college jobs. Kiffin believed he’d have more control.
It’s not the first time Davis hasn’t gotten along with a coach. But one team source said essentially you have two people that think they have all the answers and will stand their ground stubbornly.
What will fix it? A winning season would be a good place to start.
Don’t forget I’m a Laker fan that thought my favorite team’s season was over with Kobe vs. the front office.
The Lakers’ record has given me a case of amnesia about anything Kobe might have said last summer.
Question: With the possibility of the Raiders taking Chris Long or Gholston, would either of them be able to be placed in the sam linebacker position?
Patrick, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Answer: I can’t see either doing that. Long is built to play on the line. Though Gholston might have had some coverage responsibilities, I’m always wary of turning a DE into a LB full time.
Plus, I don’t think any of us want to see the Tyler Brayton at LB experiment again with Long or Gholston.
Question: Hey Jason are the Raiders done in free agency who do they have to trade to free up some cap room. I heard Derrick Burgess or Stu (Schweigert) and (Stanford) Routt are on the trading block. What about TJ or Chad Johnson in a trade?
Answer: For the same reasons why I don’t think the Bengals will trade Chad, I don’t think T.J. (another Pro Bowl receiver) will be dealt.
As for the trade rumors, I don’t Burgess would be traded. Why would the Raiders deplete a position they aren’t deep at by dealing not only their best DE, but their best defensive lineman?
I could see Schweigert or Routt being dealt. Throw Fabian Washington into that mix, too.
A backup quarterback or another DE are the only other moves I could see the Raiders making in free agency.
Then again, the Hall trade caught me off guard.
Question: Is the last sentence in your bio right? At the very least it's awkward...shouldn't it say something like "His favorite athlete of all time is Magic Johnson, and his favorite team is the Los Angeles Lakers."
I know you didn't write and may not have even seen it.
Anyway, keep up the good work. The Hall coverage was outstanding.
John, San Francisco
Answer: You’re right. I didn’t write it, just filled in the blanks for a format. I never gave it much thought.
If Hall’s coverage is better than mine, I’m sure you’ll be much happier with him.
The Raiders failed to re-sign Josh McCown to backup JaMarcus Russell and could use another veteran quarterback.
Quinn Gray is set to become a Texan after having visited the Raiders.
Andrew Walter is still young so investing in another young arm doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Ideally Dilfer wouldn’t need a lot of practice reps in the offseason, leaving time for Russell to work.
Dilfer won a Super Bowl (go ahead, blame Siragusa for taking out Rich Gannon and credit the Ravens’ defense, not Dilfer) and has seen a lot in his time. That would make Dilfer someone good to have around Russell.
And if for some reason the Raiders were to trade Walter (that doesn’t appear likely, but you never know) the Raiders wouldn’t be a Russell injury away from playing a rookie.
Then again, the Raiders could try to lure Daunte Culpepper back into the fold with another one-year deal.
At least there won’t be the game of “Who’s going to start?” in Week 1 this year.
The DeAngelo Hall trade happening today wasn’t a surprise, but this was:
The coach spoke.
For the first time this offseason there was a quote from Lane Kiffin about a signing.
The Raiders’ press release on Hall hit my inbox about 8:30p.m. (I was playing cards) but I was able to see this nugget from the coach (though many in the media joke these statements could be an intern just typing something that sounds good):
“We’re very pleased about the acquisition of DeAngelo Hall to the Raiders. This, following offseason signings of Tommy Kelly. and Gibril Wilson, we feel have one of the most talented defenses in the league.”
Many have wondered if Kiffin was just a puppet, sitting back while Al Davis ran the show.
I’ve received several emails asking why Kiffin has had nothing to say about Wilson, Kelly, Justin Fargas, Javon Walker, Drew Carter or new receivers coach James Lofton.
It’s a contrast from last year when Kiffin had statements on just about every major move by the team and promised to be available this offseason.
Instead he hid at the NFL Combine and has said nothing until this evening amid speculation he had no say this offseason.
Sure, this doesn’t mean that’s not the case, but at least this is an acknowledgment from the organization Kiffin isn't just pouting in his office.
The Raiders also had the following quote from Hall:
“I met with Mr. Davis, Lane Kiffin and the defensive coaches and I’m excited to be joining the Raiders. To come out here and see all of the Hall of Famers walking around, their photos posted on the wall, the championships, it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of that history and be a part of making history. I’m also looking forward to playing with the talented players already there, Nnamdi (Asomugha), Stanford (Routt) and also coming in with Gibril (Wilson). I look forward to making a contribution to the success of the Raiders.”
I hear from D. Orlando Ledbetter and Steve Wyche, the Falcons beat writers for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Hall is a pleasure to work with and always has an opinion. He’s not malicious in his talk, I’m told, but always fun.
If that’s the case, it should be fun having Hall around.
I was supposed to attend Stanford’s pro day, but that was scrapped once it became apparent the trade for the newest Raider would go down.
DeAngelo Hall has signed his new contract and will head back to Atlanta much richer than when he arrived in Oakland on Wednesday.
Seven years, $70 million, $24.5 million guaranteed are the confirmed numbers for the deal.
I like the addition, even if it cost a lot to make it happen. Hall is a better tackler than Fabian Washington or Stanford Routt, has punt return ability, and will bring a swagger the defense lost with Warren Sapp’s retirement.
I also like the Raiders held on to their sixth-round pick this year and sent next year’s fifth-rounder to Atlanta along with this year’s second-round pick.
If you’ve read me more than once, you know I’m a big fan of having multiple draft picks.
I never reported any rumors I heard about negotiations not working out because of one person: Al Davis.
Davis doesn’t get involved in contract talks to waste his time. If he’s involved, it’s going to get done.
That’s why I’m not surprised it did.
The Raiders still need to upgrade their pass rush to maximize the new addition. That’s why Chris Long and Vernon Gholston remain realistic possibilities in next month’s NFL Draft.
There’s also a certain running back from Arkansas that might be available, too.
I missed out on watching the Stanford players workout, but did hear some reports on how some of the Cardinal prospects performed.
WR Mark Bradford ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. That should help his stock a lot. He’s already a gifted athlete that showed off a 41-inch vertical leap.
LB Landon Johnson (6-0, 223) ran a 4.62 40, had a 36 1/2–inch vertical leap and a 10-foot broad jump.
DE Emmanuel Awofadeju (6-4, 250) posted a 4.73 40, a 38 ½ vertical and 10-2 broad jump.
CB Tim Sims (5-11, 191) was also timed in the 4.4 range in the 40 to go with a vertical leap of 38 ½ inches.
Bradford’s strong hands wouldn’t be a bad option with the Raiders’ fourth-round pick, if he lasts that long.
SI.com reports if a deal isn’t done today, the Raiders might end talks with Hall.
If that’s true, expect talks to go long into the night.
Word is the Raiders are trying to short Hall what he wants in guaranteed money while other report the structure of the deal is at issue.
That sounds a lot like JaMarcus Russell’s situation last year.
Russell’s deal was completed once Al Davis took a more active role in talks. Davis is doing that so I still expect the deal to get done.
Too many people with the Raiders want Hall so I can’t imagine them not coming to a compromise.
Hall arrived in Oakland assuming a deal would get done. And there’s no guarantee a team would pay him ransom reportedly offered by the Raiders (7 year, $70 million, $28.5 million guaranteed) next year in free agency.
But it’s still early in the day and Davis has no problem working late into the evening, especially for a player he wants.
There are going to be whispers that the DeAngelo Hall trade won’t happen until it happens (I know, duh).
But Al Davis wants it done. That’s why I remain convinced it will be done sometime tonight, if not tomorrow.
“I’m out here on Al’s request,” Hall said today after landing in Oakland. “So we’re going to sit down and talk some more and see if we can speed it up.”
Hall figures to be paid nicely (seven years, $70 million, $28.5 million in the first three years according to ESPN) to play man coverage opposite Nnamdi Asomugha.
“It ain’t hard to blow that,” Hall said of playing man. “You don’t have to worry about zone, checking and all this other stuff. Get your guy. Like Prime (Deion Sanders) used to say, ‘I got my guy.’”
Hall is looking forward to speaking with Asomugha so they can “create one of the best secondaries ever” starting in 2008.
As of now, here is the Raiders’ starting defense (assuming the trade gets done soon):
LDE Derrick Burgess
DT: Tommy Kelly
DT: Gerard Warren or Terdell Sands
RDE: Jay Richardson
SLB: Robert Thomas
MLB: Kirk Morrison
WLB: Thomas Howard
CB: Nnamdi Asomugha
CB: DeAngelo Hall
S: Gibril Wilson
S: Michael Huff
The defense would definitely be improved, but the one area the Raiders would like to address is defensive end. Kevin Carter isn’t coming as he opted to return to Tampa Bay.
The team could draft a DE (Chris Long, Vernon Gholston) in the first round if it passes on RB Darren McFadden
There are still some veteran ends available, like Mike Rucker. Or if the Raiders can swindle a team like it did Houston in getting two picks for Phillip Buchanon a couple years back in a deal for Fabian Washington (it’s possible since Fabian is better than Buchanon), there might be an end that can help them in second or third round.
After the trade, the Raiders would have a first round pick, but wouldn’t pick again until the fourth round.
Instead I'm at the Oakland Airport, spending a couple of hours waiting to see if DeAngelo Hall comes strolling through anytime soon.
I could wait for the Raiders to finalize the trade for Hall and have a press conference. But the Raiders haven't even issued a quote about any free agent additions even though they've spent a lot of money.
There were quotes from Justin Fargas (a day late) and some pictures emailed out, but not even a boring "We're glad to have (fill in the latest Raider millionaire) on our team" from Lane Kiffin.
I won't be here all day. But since this is what I'm paid to do, I'll be here, hoping to get a word in with the Hall. I met him at the NFL Combine and he was cordial. And I'm told he's probably studying Raider history right now.
The NFL Network reports talks have stalled in the DeAngelo Hall trade. There was no reason given why. The deal was contingent on Hall agreeing to a new contract. If he does, he'll be a Raider. Basically, nothing has changed until Hall says he won't play for the Raiders or he's dealt elsewhere if another team is willing to give up a first-round pick and agree to a new deal with Hall.
There’s nothing new on DeAngelo Hall being traded to the Raiders.
But the deal hasn't fallen apart.
ESPN is reporting what I reported Saturday, the deal is agreed upon. Hall in exchange for the Raiders’ second and sixth-round draft picks this year.
Raiders’ owner Al Davis wants the deal to get done, so I believe it will be completed this week once the two sides agree on a contract.
The Raiders might need to clear salary in order to sign Hall to the contract extension he desires.
The Raiders’ payroll is reportedly at $130 million. That number doesn’t necessarily reflect how the salary cap will be impacted because that figure includes bonuses that are likely to be earned.
But releasing players that are drawing big salaries as backups (RB LaMont Jordan, S Stuart Schweigert) or reworking current deals could be in the works now to get the Hall deal done.
Also, don’t rule out the Raiders trading CB Fabian Washington or CB Stanford Routt. The favorite to be dealt might be Washington, who is talented, but some around the team question his confidence since Chad Johnson worked him over in Dec. 06 and he lost his starting job to Routt Week 3 of 2007.
Hall wouldn’t come without questions.
A NFL scout I spoke with classified Hall as “good, not great” and questioned had Hall already lost a step at only24.
Others have questioned his discipline after he got into it with coach Bobby Petrino last season.
In fairness, a lot of Falcons wanted a piece of Petrino. When I met Hall last month, he looked shorter than the5-10 he’s listed at. But he was cordial and people I spoke with praised his football IQ and appreciation for the history of football.
The Raiders have liked Hall since he came out of Virginia Tech in 2004. Pairing him Nnamdi Asomugha should be fun to watch.
The Raiders drafted Robert Gallery second overall that year and Hall was picked eighth by Atlanta.
The Raiders would have three draft picks in April, assuming the deal is completed.
Oakland owns the fourth overall pick along with fourth and seventh-round picks.
As far as the draft goes, having the fourth pick means the Raiders would have to dole out a large sum for a rookie.
For a team that was reportedly too broke to pay JaMarcus Russell last year, the Raiders have spent a lot this offseason.
The Raiders wouldn’t have much margin for error. Last year’s draft produced Russell, a good tight end in Zach Miller and decent seasons from DE Jay Richardson and FB Oren O’Neal.
But the Raiders need Johnnie Lee Higgins to emerge as at least a good punt returner or their third-round choices of last season would all be whiffs.
They cut DE Quentin Moses. Oakland traded this year’s third rounder to get OT Mario Henderson and expressed so much faith in his future they signed Kwame Harris.
Lane Kiffin didn’t play Higgins nearly enough because he was stuck on playing Tim Dwight.
And it would be nice to see if CB John Bowie (the player taken with the Randy Moss pick) can play.
But yes, if Russell and Michael Bush become stars, I will call the Class of 2007 a good one for the Raiders.
I’m hearing the team still wants a defensive end and if Chris Long were to slip to No. 4, there’s no way the Raiders would trade out of that spot. Vernon Gholston would also be an option.
Would Darren McFadden shock me? Not completely. But DE is a bigger priority since the team only has Derrick Burgess and Richardson.
The Raiders also figure to pick up a veteran DE at some point this offseason.
The Raiders have agreed in principle to trade their 2008 second round and sixth round-draft picks to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for two-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The deal is contingent on Hall agreeing to a new contract with the Raiders.
Hall was the eighth overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. While attending last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, Hall told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, “Somebody’s throwing something out there,” about a potential deal to the Raiders.
But know this is a fact: Hall was in Alameda yesterday for a physical.
Hall expressed a desire to be traded last month while at the Combine in Indianapolis.
ESPN reported Hall is seeking a contract similar to the one signed by Asante Samuel this month.
Samuel, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback for New England, signed a six-year, $57 million contract with $20 million guaranteed with New England.
Should the Raiders acquire Hall, it would give them two of the NFL’s best cornerbacks along with Nnamdi Asomugha.
It’s also going to be one of the league’s most expensive tandems.
If Hall gets a deal to his liking, coupled with Asomugha already being the Raiders’ franchise player (about $10 million this season) that would be a lot of money in the secondary.
Not to mention the six-year, $39 million deal for safety Gibril Wilson with $16 million guaranteed.
Some are wondering how this helps the run defense.
One of the big problems with the run defense (according to coaches on staff) was poor tackling by the secondary.
Hall is a good tackler and, along with Asomugha, would help shore up the edges for the Raiders. Wilson helps with that problem at safety.
The deal isn’t done, yet. But if completed, this would give the Raiders a new-millennium version of Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes – minus the Stickum. -- Jason Jones
There were a lot of questions about what is the deal with Lane Kiffin.
I picked one of many questions on the subject to begin this week's Q&As.
Question: Why is Willie Brown posing with the new free agents at there signing? Where is Lane Kiffin? Not even a welcome quote in the paper?
Answer: For that have forgotten, David is referring to the Javon Walker signing in which the new Raider receiver is posing with Willie Brown.
That is quite a change from last year. There were quotes from Kiffin via press releases on just about every signing last year. There hasn’t been one quote from Kiffin on anyone this year.
Though the Raiders say Kiffin hasn’t been stripped of any authority, it doesn’t look good when there isn’t even the bland “he’s a great addition to our team” quote.
Kiffin has said through team reps that he won’t address every rumor, but did call a columnist to say he wasn’t dancing in Indianapolis at the night spot I saw him at. I asked Kiffin if he wanted to say anything and he didn’t.
Kiffin’s silence only add validity to the notion he has no say in free agency, which is what I was told some time ago.
I’ve been told Kiffin hasn’t been himself around the office (moping, looking sad), but of course I’m not there to see it.
Question: What are the real odds of the Raiders drafting Vernon Gholston (Especially if Chris Long is still there.)? He seems to be in the Merriman mold (And better than Long.). I also wouldn’t mind seeing McFadden paired with Russell (The interesting, fun to watch pick not a need.) Thanks.
Jay, Allentown, PA
Answer: I think it’s unlikely both would be available (the buzz around the NFL Combine was Chris Long would go No. 1), but if both were available, I could argue Gholston is the better pick.
As one NFL personnel person told me, Long has been coached by one of the best all his life (his father, Howie), so how much better can he get? That’s not to say Long won’t be a good player, but the point was Long is much closer to reaching his potential than a player like Gholston.
I wouldn’t be in complete shock if the Raiders drafted McFadden. I just believe history shows it’s much easier to find a good running back than a great defensive end.
Question: Hi Jason, me buggin you again. The guy you met in GB at Lombardi's. Just wanted to say, that I just watched your segment on espn.com and couldn't agree with you more. I hope we take (Gholston) or trade down. I am however hoping one of them takes the QB from Boston College. By the way, you look like you dropped a few, lookin good. Hope all is well.
Brendan, Kingston, ON
Answer: For those of you who don’t know about Lombardi’s, it’s a pretty good steakhouse in Appelton, Wis., right outside of Green Bay. Brendan had the pleasure of seeing try to eat the biggest strawberry shortcake in the world the night before the Raiders played the Packers.
I’ve been back in the gym since that fateful dessert.
Anyway, back to the draft. The Raiders will be in a good position to trade down, but history has shown the Raiders are more likely to trade up than trade down. And I don’t know if there’s a franchise player like a Peyton Manning worth trading up for.
If Miami or Atlanta (St. Louis just gave Marc Bulger a lot of money) were to take BC quarterback Matt Ryan, the Raiders’ pick becomes more valuable in a trade. That would mean Long, Gholston, McFadden, Jake Long or Glenn Dorsey, would fall to the Raiders’ spot.
But people I spoke with don’t see Ryan as first overall pick.
Question: Hi Jason-
I check your blog just about every day. I love your insight. In recent months, I've read about the suggestion that Michael Huff will be moving to FS. Now that Gibril Wilson has been signed, I've even read in your blog that Huff will probably move to FS. However, on the Giant depth chart, Wilson was listed as a FS. Would it be wise moving him to SS if he's naturally a FS? Do we now have THREE (including Stuart S) starting caliber FS's on our roster? What am I missing?
Answer: Wilson can play both safety spots. A lot of teams are going away from the traditional strong/free safety roles in favor of two versatile safeties that can perform either role.
With Huff’s speed, he would seem to be a natural strong safety while Wilson’s aggressive nature and solid tackling would make him a good strong safety.
Don’t be surprised if you see Rob Ryan using Huff and Wilson interchangeably.
As far as Schweigert, I’m not sure what the team’s plans are for him. Coaches weren’t enthralled with his tackling and he lost his starting job to Hiram Eugene.
And Schweigert is due $2,607,500 in base salary. That’s a lot of money for a backup safety. That could mean he might not be with the Raiders this season, if they find a cheaper alternative.
But Schweigert is key part of special teams, which might be enough to keep him on the team. His good friend, Jarrod Cooper, is also a special teams standout and backup safety.
The team will probably re-sign Coop (if they haven’t already), making Schweigert expendable. But it’s March, so I’m waiting to see what happens.
With the $116 million salary cap, the team might be able to keep Schweigert, though he might be happier somewhere where he would get a chance to play and where the coaches speak to him (something that wasn't happening much at the end of last season).
Players are due back in town for voluntary offseason workouts that begin next week.
The Raiders just signed another player, so there has to be a joke about knee surgery, right?
New WR Drew Carter did have a torn ACL back in 2004 and has battled injuries at times in Carolina. But signing him isn’t a bad decision by the Raiders.
He has good size (6-3, 200) and reportedly has good speed. And at a position the Raiders neglected to upgrade last season, the Raiders have gone out and added two players with Javon Walker being the other.
A three-receiver setoff a healthy Walker, Carter and Ronald Curry would be more impressive than last season’s incarnations of a three-wide set.
Because teams will have to respect Carter’s speed, his presence should keep safeties honest and help the running game.
The Raiders needed to focus on getting JaMarcus Russell talent to help out. There’s no way of knowing how these moves will turn out, but I credit the Raiders with being aggressive.
Some of the salary numbers are a high, but no one was taking a pay cut to come to Oakland.
If these moves work, how much was paid will be a moot point.
I don’t think the Raiders are done in free agency. Adding Quinn Gray as a backup quarterback makes sense as does adding a veteran defensive end.
I’m still all in favor of the Raiders drafting Vernon Gholston. But reports out of Florida have veteran DE Kevin Carter making a visit to Oakland.
Carter would be a nice addition until Gholston is ready to take over full time. I just don’t think that would be too long.
The combination of Derrick Burgess, Jay Richardson, Gholston and another DE would give the Raiders depth and mean Tommy Kelly could focus on playing defensive tackle.
BERKELEY --- DL Howie Long, Raider Hall of Famer, wore No. 75.
So did little-used rookie OT Mario Henderson last season.
Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls wearing No. 16. Andrew Walter sat on the bench in that number.
Art Shell carved out a Hall of Fame career as a left tackle. As recently as last training camp, Chad Slaughter had a career as a backup tackle in the same number.
Point is the Raiders don’t retire numbers (except for Jim Otto because “00” can’t be worn in the NFL anymore). Then again that’s more like the league retiring Otto’s number.
Just in case you didn’t know, there’s a little story brewing among Niner fans about whether Isaac Bruce, who has worn 80 for more than a decade with St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams, should wear that number with the 49ers.
Of course, that’s the number worn by Jerry Rice.
Rice received permission to wear his number after he was traded to Seattle from Seahawk great Steve Largent.
“I haven’t had that conversation with Isaac Bruce right now,” Rice said at Cal’s Pro Day where he was checking out DeSean Jackson. “I don’t how the fans are going to react to it. But to be honest with you, the thing is when (Largent) told me that it was like ‘Wow.’ And I know what he meant to Seattle, he meant the world to Seattle. For him to do that and I just feel that it’s only the right thing to do for me. But I don’t know how the fans are going to react. I don’t know what the 49ers are going to do.”
Then again, if the 49ers had retired Rice’s number by now, this wouldn’t be an issue. Rice said eh didn’t know why his number hadn’t been retired and that he’d just talked to Eddie DeBartolo about that and if the Niners would just “do what they’re supposed to do” by Rice, this wouldn’t be an issue.
But how sacred is a number? Backup tight end Tony Stewart wore Tim Brown’ old number last season and no one seemed to care.
Then again, this is something if teams did like the Raiders, it wouldn’t be a problem. Then again, there are some numbers that should never be worn again without question.
I always assumed Rice’s was one of them.
*Raiders receivers coach James Lofton and offensive quality control coach Sanjay Lal were at Memorial Stadium along with Raiders scout Jon Kingdon.
It’s no secret the Raiders need to upgrade at receiver and Cal has three pro prospects.
Barring a trade down in the first round or a trade for an additional first-round pick, Jackson isn’t likely to be a Raider.
But Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan are intriguing prospects.
Hawkins played for Raider coaches at the Senior Bowl and was impressive. He’d be a solid pick with the Raiders’ second-round pick.
Jordan is JaMarcus Russell’s cousin and wouldn’t be a bad pickup, either.
*Lofton threw passes to the receivers. He throws a tight spiral with some zip.
“I see you James airing that thing out,” yelled Chiefs coach Herm Edwards at Lofton.
If the Raiders don’t sign another backup like Quinn Gray, just suit up Lofton as the third QB.
*For those of you that caught me on ESPN2’s “First Take” this morning, you might have been surprised I went with Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston as the Raiders’ choice in the mock draft.
Here’s my thinking:
With Tommy Kelly going over to DT full time, the need there isn’t as pressing. My reasoning behind Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis as the Raiders’ choice previously was thinking Kelly would be a DE.
I still believe the Raiders don’t need another running back.
Also, the loss of Chris Clemons shouldn’t be overlooked. The Raiders have looked for an end opposite Derrick Burgess to pass rush effectively and Clemons was that guy last season. With him gone, the Raiders are especially thin at DE.
A defensive line of Burgess and Gholston with Kelly and Jay Richardson on the inside on passing downs is intriguing.
Also Gholston is a beast with great athletic ability and upside. If Jake Long is gone, I think Gholston is the guy.
For a team that was 4-12 in 2007, the Raiders continue to generate a lot of rumors and fodder for jokes.
The latest is rumors JaMarcus Russell is tipping the scale at 300 pounds.
I spoke with someone close to Russell that said that’s not true and that Russell is a lot closer to the 260 pounds or so he finished the season at than anywhere near 300.
*I caught Def Comedy Jam after watching the series finale of The Wire. Even D.L. Hughley had jokes about the Raiders.
Imagine how much talk the team would generate with a winning record.
*I attended part of the Commitment to Excellence dinner and spoke with Justin Fargas, the 2007 season winner.
He’s in good shape and ready to join his teammates for the offseason program later this month.
Fargas is also starting a scholarship program to send deserving students to his old high school, Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
(Note: Great athletes can get a great education for free at Long Beach Poly. Yes, that was a shameless plug).
A lot of critics have ripped the Raiders’ signing of Fargas, but I think it was a good decision. He’s had injury problems in the past, but he sprained his knee last season and isn’t coming off surgery.
I don’t think a sprained knee is cause for concern like a torn ACL would be.
*Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was in attendance sporting his new haircut. His hair no longer is all the way on his shoulders, but should grow back in time for training camp.
*New WR coach James Lofton is still in good shape. I hear he used to run routes with the receivers in San Diego.
The Raiders have been mocked and scorned nationally for their spending in free agency.
The last two deals, WR Javon Walker and OT Kwame Harris, have raised questions just about why the Raiders are wasting money.
In case you missed it, the Raiders were reported to have given Walker a six-year deal worth up to $55 million, $16 million guaranteed.
In the case of Harris, he was reported to have received a three-year deal worth up to $16 million.
The key words, however, are "up to."
So instead of ripping the team for spending money, lets look at how these deals impact the Raiders.
From the Raiders’ perspective, Harris has a one-year deal worth $3 million, with two option years that would make it a $14 million deal. If Harris reaches playing incentives, he’d earn an additional $2 million in year three.
But if things don’t work out, the Raiders can part ways with Harris after 2008. But the belief is Harris, 25, can reach his potential playing for offensive line coach Tom Cable after an uneven stint with the 49ers.
The team has talked to Harris about playing left tackle, where he’d replace Barry Sims.
As for Walker, he’ll receive a $6 million bonus and salary of $5 million in each of the next two seasons to account for the guaranteed amount that has been reported.
So the Raiders see it as a two-year deal for $16 million.
Chances are if Walker plays like the Pro Bowl receiver he’s been, he’d get a new deal before year three, assuming all is well between the union and owners.
The NFL released the tentative order for this year’s NFL Draft.
The Raiders alternate positions with Kansas City, Atlanta and the New York Jets after the first round because all finished with 4-12 records.
Here are the current Raider picks:
First round, fourth pick
Second round, third pick,
Third round, no choice, traded to New England last year to draft OT Mario Henderson
Round four, fifth pick,
Round five, no choice, traded to Denver for DT Gerard Warren
Round six, third choice
Round seven, sixth choice
For those wondering why the Raiders haven’t traded pick to get a player, you can see the why. Having already dealt two picks, it wouldn’t make sense to continue trading picks and further depleting the draft class.
The best teams aren't built by trading away picks for players. The best teams draft and develop their own.
The best way to add draft picks at this point might be to trade down in the first round.
Teams aren’t going to give picks for someone like LaMont Jordan when it’s likely he would be cut, thus sparing the new team of paying his salary.
A deal for Andrew Walter might snag a late round pick, but he’s the only other quarterback on the roster besides JaMarcus Russell.
The Raiders do have plenty cornerbacks. While there has been speculation the Raiders might trade safety Michael Huff, trading an extra corner like Fabian Washington makes more sense.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, the Raiders probably need to go heavy on offense early in the draft.
Free agency has been devoted to defense thus far. If the Raiders grant Lane Kiffin’s wish to pick up starters in the first two rounds, tackle Jake Long or tackle Ryan Clady could be a first-round option with a receiver coming in the second round.
*The Commitment to Excellence Award dinner honoring Justin Fargas will be hosted by Steering Committee for the Booster Clubs of the Oakland Raiders this Friday at the Oakland Airport Hilton.
It’s a black tie optional dinner.
If you want to go, call (650) 428-0810 for more information.
*The Raiders officially placed DT Warren Sapp on the reserve/retired list today.
That means he won't count against the Raiders' roster numbers, nor will the salary he won't be paid ($5.15 million). That can now go re-signing players like Jarrod Cooper.
If for some reason Sapp gets the urge to play, the Raiders retain his rights.
Josh McCown wanted the chance to start and he’ll get that in Miami.
He was treated unfairly at times by Raider fans (cheering his injury was inexcusable) but never showed any ill feelings.
In fact, he was always making light of the situation.
The Raiders were interested in bringing him back, but as much as he likes JaMarcus Russell, it only makes sense that he try to find a team that could use him as a starter.
He’d joked during the season that he might stick around for 2008 if the Raiders wanted him just not to change coordinators again.
But he’s headed to a team that should improve under Bill Parcells’ watch, making having to join his fourth team in four seasons worth it.
Here’s what McCown had to say about his time in Oakland in an email:
"My time in Oakland was great, I appreciate the team and most importantly Lane Kiffin for giving me the opportunity to play. I think He can be very successful coach. I appreciate the fans and their intensity and loyalty to Raider nation. It's an experience I'll never forget. Really enjoyed working with the QBs and (Offensive coordinator Greg) Knapp and (Quarterbacks coach John) DeFlippo. I am better for having been here and around those guys. Both as a person and player."
Josh was always great to talk to and a class act. And he’ll play against the Raiders this season, too.
The constraints of deadline writing usually prevent me from getting to the opposing locker room to say hello to a former Raider.
For someone so maligned in San Francisco, Kwame Harris is popular.
Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Denver are all teams interested in the offensive tackle the Raiders hosted on Friday.
And if you thought the amount of money the Raiders paid Tommy Kelly and Gibril Wilson was excessive, the Raiders might have to come up with a nice amount of cash to land Harris and keep him away from Jon Gruden and the hated Broncos.
If Harris doesn’t visit Denver or Tampa, a decision as to whether he will be the Raiders new left or right tackle could come in the next couple of days.
Though the Raiders finished sixth in the NFL in rushing, the offensive line was far from an elite group, especially in pass protection.
Is Harris the answer? No one really knows.
The Raiders still need to address depth at receiver. That is unless the Raiders are fine with Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chris McFoy along with Ronald Curry.
Since the big-name receivers not named Randy Moss aren't available, the Raiders should be able to land a receiver on the cheap.
After Saturday’s rash of signings, several receivers are signed.
The Raiders never got a chance to woo Bernard Berrian, but for the money he received from Minnesota (reportedly $16 million guaranteed) there was probably little chance he’d leave Minnesota without a deal.
Donte’ Stallworth is also gone. Same goes for Devery Henderson.
There are still some receivers the Raiders could land at bargain prices. Perhaps Drew Carter or Devard Darling would fit.
Maybe new receivers coach James Lofton could coax more from former Chief Samie Parker.
Bryant Johnson is set to visit Buffalo.
Also, don't rule out Javon Walker. My colleague Matt Barrows caught up with Walker's agent who said they hadn't decided which teams to look at seriously.
With Ronald Curry the only veteran receiver on the roster, the Raiders need to add experience.
Johnnie Lee Higgins played so little as a rookie, he’ll be learning a lot of the things he should have learned in 2007.
But after Saturday, it appears the big bucks have gone to the receivers that will get them … except for a guy named Randy Moss.
And we know how he likes his pay: Straight cash, homey.
Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.
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