The fourth edition of the Oakland Raiders Weekly Roundup. Here, we’ll pull together any notable Silver and Black news from the previous week and put it together all in one place.
Welcome back to the Oakland Raiders Roundup, where we take all things regarding the Raiders from the previous week and wrap it up in a neat little package.
We’re officially into the NFL offseason now, after the Eagles took down the mighty machine that are the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LLII.
With the Eagles the “scrappy upstart” — and being from Philly — and the Patriots with their unfeeling, joyless machine-like efficiency, did this not feel exactly like Rocky IV? I mean exactly. Not many gave the Eagles a chance, what with them facing this:
But the Eagles embraced their underdog role perfectly, and were putting it on the Patriots for the first three quarters. Of course, you cannot keep Drag…I mean Tom Brady down, and once the Patriots inevitably marched down to take their first lead in the fourth quarter, it felt like deja vu. It felt like:
But the Eagles rallied. Nick Foles would not be denied — and made himself very rich — with a performance for the ages. The Eagles scored to take a late lead, but the Patriots are who they are. So they had another chance, and we’ve seen this movie before.
However, this time the Eagles weren’t having it. They forced a fumble — the Rocky equivalent of the body shot he lands on Drago that signals the beginning of the end.
Despite the Patriots best efforts, the Eagles were relentless. And the next thing you know…
Call it sour grapes or whatever you like, but watching the Patriots lose was enjoyable. There was much rejoicing, particularly in Raider Nation.
Anyhow, on to some Raiders news…and there was plenty this week. For instance, did you know that…
Marshawn Skips Meeting With Gruden?
Well, actually, no. He didn’t. But there was a report put out that said Marshawn blew off a scheduled meeting with Jon Gruden, and a second report that Lynch had not returned any phone calls or texts from his teammates or coaches.
This caused a bit of an uproar among Raiders fans on Twitter, but these reports did not take long to be debunked.
Lynch’s agent weighed in with a bit of a pot shot:
To all the couch potato non verified media ppl speaking on Marshawn Lynch-get a real job and check sources! #beastmode
— Doug Hendrickson (@DHendrickson41) February 8, 2018
While a bit petty in the wording, Hendrickson was clearly upset that his client was being portrayed negatively — with no substantiated evidence to back it up — and said so. Then there was a report that Gruden and Lynch had indeed met, from Las Vegas insider and highly reputable media member Michael Gehlken:
Marshawn Lynch, Jon Gruden have met at Raiders headquarters on multiple occasions since latter’s hiring, per source familiar with situation. Been reported Lynch has blown off Gruden. Lynch’s agent Doug Hendrickson refuted notion Thursday on Twitter.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) February 9, 2018
And well known, well respected and long-time Raiders writer Vic Tafur didn’t see merit in the rumor either:
So much for all those reports about Lynch blowing off meeting with Gruden https://t.co/BlvlRlKCp2
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 8, 2018
Momma Lynch even weighed in, telling people to consider where they get their information:
If it didn't come from the source consider the source https://t.co/1yCi07Y1XJ
— Delisa Lynch (@MommaLynch24) February 10, 2018
This whole situation caused a stir, but it’s time to move on. Marshawn was really good in 2017, especially when he was used correctly:
#Raiders' Marshawn Lynch ranked T-No. 5 in forced missed tackles on the ground (42) and T-4th in yards after contact per attempt (3.09) among qualifying RBs as part of an OAK offense that ranked 21st in yards gained before contact per attempt (1.42) in 2017.
— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) February 10, 2018
This means Marshawn had to dodge more hits, and deeper in the backfield, than RBs from all but 11 other teams. Yet despite these factors was a Top 5 back in elusiveness. Nice. Will they keep him? Who knows? He’s older, expensive and there is a ton of talent in the upcoming draft. But he’s still got the ability — and the facts back that up.
Lynch’s whereabouts wasn’t the only buzz in the Bay Area this week. The Raiders bay neighbors made quite a splash this week when they announced…
Jimmy G Signs a Record-Setting Contract
And immediately Derek Carr’s contract looks that much better. I mean, Jimmy Garoppolo has won all seven of his NFL starts. The Niners won their last five with him. He’s smooth, chill, handsome. He’s the next Golden Boy in the NFL.
His body of work is excellent — but still minimal. Yet the Niners saw fit to reward him with a five-year, $137M contract that is the richest per-year salary in NFL history by average. Of course, it doesn’t fully shake down that way as per most NFL contracts:
Details on Jimmy Garoppolo deal: pic.twitter.com/Lq0d1QBJwR
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 9, 2018
The Niners, for their part, have secured an obviously talented and marketable face of the franchise for years to come. It is a win win situation. Carr is happy, too, because all the talk of him being overpaid and overhyped can just go away now. Carr led this team to a 12-4 record in 2016, with an NFL-record seven 4th quarter comebacks and only his broken leg held them back from their full potential. The Raiders rightfully rewarded him with his contract, the richest in the NFL at the time. That’s been heavily criticized since due to poor play in 2017 — but should it be? No and for good reason now:
Reggie McKenzie is a smart financial mover, and it’s likely he saw this market correction coming. Signing Carr in 2016 for $25M per season now looks like an incredibly savvy move, particularly when Carr returns to form under Gruden in 2018 and beyond. When it comes to money and contracts, Reggie knows what’s up.
Will he have some new players to work with in 2018? That’s very likely, and currently…
Free Agency Rumors Are Heating Up
With all the Lynch talk, it’s understandable the Raiders are being linked with drafting an RB or pursuing one in free agency. The one back that is getting the most talk — and would actually ideally fit Gruden’s play-calling with his skill set — is Jerick McKinnon. Everything is speculation at this point, but McKinnon to the Raiders has been whispered for a few weeks now, and just recently:
More rumblings: #Raiders will consider signing RB Jerick McKinnon in free agency. It remains unclear what the team will do with MarShawn Lynch.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 9, 2018
Obviously nothing is substantive, but McKinnon makes a lot of sense. He wants a larger role, wouldn’t command a huge salary and has a skill set and ability to catch passes that are reminiscent of Charlie Garner from Gruden’s early Raiders heyday. It remains to be seen what the Raiders will do with Lynch, but even if they keep him that doesn’t take McKinnon out of the equation. They are very different players, though McKinnon is similar to Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Neither of those incumbents have seized the change-of-pace back role, and so it remains to be seen what will happen.
Terrelle Pryor is near and dear to the hearts of some Raider fans. He’s a pariah to others. But to those that like Pryor, the idea that the big man may come back to play the receiver position he once refused to consider in Oakland is intriguing.
Pryor is a free agent this year after disappointing in Washington. Alex Smith is in, and Kirk Cousins is out. Smith can throw deep far better than he gets credit for, but he doesn’t do it as well or as often as Cousins. Pryor is a deep threat who excels using his size and speed to gain separation and go after contested balls. He was badly under and misused in Washington.
Plus, he was Al Davis’ last ever draft pick and that fact means a lot to him. It’s a nice story with a sort of “prodigal son” feel, but as the NBC article states there is a possibility that the Jay Gruden experience in Washington will negatively impact these chances with Jon in Oakland. Doubt it. Jon is his own man and while he certainly respects his brother I think Jon would bring Pryor back if Jon wanted to and that would factor little into the decision.
Pryor disappointed at a minimal $6M price tag last season, meaning he likely wouldn’t fetch large dollars. It still remains to be seen what the Raiders will do with Michael Crabtree. Crabtree is clutch and a great player, but he fell off a cliff in 2017. The Raiders are thought to be considering cutting Crabs as a cap casualty. Much like when…
David Amerson Gets Released
At his salary, with his injury history and completely terribly play in 2017, yes. Amerson is gone. The Raiders released Amerson on Monday:
We have released CB David Amerson.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) February 5, 2018
Amerson’s career arc is interesting. Amerson is cut by Washington in his third year after playing well in his first and then trailing off the next two seasons. Injuries play a part in his decline. After being a top corner as a rookie, he regresses in his second year and falls off so badly in his third Washington cuts him outright early in 2015 — and the Raiders scoop him up.
Bam! He becomes the Raiders best corner for 2015, helping them to their turnaround. He’s rewarded with a long-term deal for four years at $38M, with about $6M in salary per season. In 2016 — his second year with Oakland — Amerson is decent but begins tailing off. He’s beaten repeatedly for long touchdowns. He gets banged up. He regresses.
Then, 2017. Amerson is barely on the field due to injury, and when he is, he is literally the worst cornerback in the NFL. There is a distinct trend here. Small sample size, but distinct trend.
So, Amerson plays really well as a rookie in Washington, gets buzz as next up and coming corner. Tails off a bit in his second year, and then falls off a cliff in his third to the point where he’s outright released. The Raiders pick him up immediately, and he transforms back into the up-and-coming talent from his rookie season.
Then he signs a big contract. He regresses in 2016, and many bad plays covered up or made up for by success of team. Then, third season — falls off a cliff. And becomes the first cap casualty of the second Gruden era. Amerson was cut right before his $5.5M salary became guaranteed — which saved the Raiders that $5.5M against the cap with no dead money. Again, when it comes to money, that Reggie knows what he’s doing.
So the next team that signs him? Make it a one-year deal. That’s all I’m saying.
Speaking of deals, the Raiders now have a place to place to practice in Las Vegas thanks to the fact that…
Henderson Land Deal Approved For Raiders Practice Facility
City of Henderson approves sale of land for Raiders facility outside Las Vegas https://t.co/P9STMCqPA9
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 7, 2018
The Raiders have secured the land for their practice facility and team headquarters on a 55-acre parcel of land in Henderson, NV. The proposal was approved 4-0 by the city council, with the anticipation that the team’s presence will be a boon to economic growth and development in the area.
It’s a win-win. The Raiders get the land for half the appraised value (paid $6.05M for an appraised land value of $12.1M.) In turn, the team will bring in a projected 250 jobs to the area and provide up to $13.8M annually in tax revenue. It is a win-win situation for the Raiders and Nevada, and blow to folks hoping to keep the team in Oakland.
Well, that’s about it for another week of Raiders roundup. Quite the week with the Beast Mode drama, Raiders blogger/writer drama, Raiders Twitter infighting, Amerson cut, the Jimmy G experience and other actual real team news.
Come back again next week and let’s do it all over again — it never gets old with this team.