Category Archives: Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Arizona Cardinals Defensive Tackle Dan Williams

March 11 3:11PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent Defensive Tackle Dan Williams, the club announced Wednesday.

Williams joins Oakland following a five-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played in 70 games with 40 starts. He totaled 116 tackles (63 solo), two sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and seven passes defensed.

Last season, the 6-foot-3, 315-pounder played in a career-high 16 games and started nine contests, setting a career high with 45 tackles as the Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The Memphis, Tenn., native was originally selected by Arizona in the first round (26th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Tennessee. Williams started 32-of-45 games for the Volunteers and recorded 160 tackles and seven sacks. As a senior in 2009, he earned Associated Press All-SEC first-team honors after recording 70 tackles.

Dan Williams signed a 4 year / $25,000,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $15,200,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $6,250,000.

The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A

Q: You have a reputation as a guy who stops the run and you’re coming to a team that hasn’t been in the top half of the NFL in defending the run in more than 10 years. Is that your understanding of why they want you here?

Williams: “Well, not only for that, but to also help push the pocket a little bit more and try to get pressure on the quarterback also. I sometimes think that you can’t always justify how much pressure you get to the quarterback. A lot of times I did put pressure on the quarterback, but he just threw the ball before I got there or it was an incomplete pass. They definitely said they want me to push the pocket, but definitely we need to stop the run and just try to make the team more dimensional.”

Q: Is it correct that you were primarily a nose in the 3-4 in Arizona?

Williams: “Yeah. That’s how they used me, but a little bit last year, I moved around. I played some three-technique inside, sometimes outside, five-technique depending on who is playing and what front we were in. I think towards, especially last year, I got to show off a little bit more of my versatility and I just couldn’t be just a regular two-gap nose tackle.”

Q: What was it about the Raiders that attracted you to come here?

Williams: “I came here yesterday, I got to meet the coaches. I got to meet the G.M. Reggie McKenzie, the head coach Jack Del Rio and the defensive coaches, they really factored into my decision. Just talking to them and the way that they believe they can turn the team around. The biggest thing is it kind of reminded me how when [Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians first got there in Arizona two years ago, excited, they believe in the players that they have here and the players they are going to add. They believe we can turn this thing around and we can do it in a hurry. Once I got to sit down and talk to defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, that was pretty much the biggest factor in my decision. I think it will be a really good fit for myself and also I think I can definitely help out the Raiders, help turn things around.”

Q: When did this all come together?

Williams: “It was yesterday. I came in, my agent, I just told him what I like and he just told me in his opinion he just thought that my first visit should be to the Raiders. He told me that probably with the things that I told him I was looking for, he told me to just take my first visit out here. I came out here yesterday and met the coaches and like I said before, met everybody, even got a chance to meet Justin Tuck and today I got to meet Charles Woodson. Meeting those guys and those guys have won Super Bowls and reading their energy and dedication and how much they really want to turn things around in Oakland. Today, I just decided, I definitely want to be a part of this.”

Q: How big of a deal is that when guys like Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck are telling you that they want you on their team?

Williams: “A lot. Those guys won World Championships. From being on a different team, guys of that caliber, you obviously respect their game. When a guy has a ring on his finger, he definitely has done something and has been through things that I have never done. You always are ready to listen to someone who has been somewhere where you want to be. I know some other players too, of course Ricky Lumpkin, he played here last year and we were really close, I met him in Arizona. I got to meet a few more players here today, just out here working out. I just thought that I feel like I can fit in in the locker room here.”

Q: What did you learn from your experience in Arizona that you can bring to the Raiders?

Williams: “I think the biggest thing is the fact that I can now speak on how things can turn around quickly the quicker that you buy into the coaching system. The year before we were 5-11 and then B.A. Arians came in and he had those guys come in and everybody started believing and buying into what they were trying to do. We switched around from being 5-11 to 10-6. Last year we improved to even better, 11-5, and made it to the playoffs. A lot depends on buying in and just seeing if everyone does it we can definitely have great results. If we ever have an issue like that, I can probably, from experience, speak on that because I’ve seen what has happened when a new head coach comes in and everyone buys in. It doesn’t have to be a rebuilding year or we only one two games last year, let’s win five. We’ve got a new coach, we’ve got new people, a new system, let’s win right away instead of waiting two or three years or something. Just trying to change the mindset a little bit and just trying to get off to a good start.”

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Buffalo Bills Tight End Lee Smith

March 11, 2015 2:32 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent Tight End Lee Smith, the club announced Wednesday.

Smith, 27, joins the Raiders after four seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2011-14). Smith’s career totals include 56 games played with 34 starts, 20 receptions for 144 yards (7.2 avg.) and three touchdowns.

Smith joined the Bills via waivers from the New England Patriots shortly before the 2011 regular season. In 2014, Smith appeared in 14 games and led all Bills tight ends with 10 starts. He hauled in seven catches for 42 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown in the Bills’ season-ending victory over New England.

Smith appeared in every game for the Bills from 2012-13, starting 21-of-32 games played during that span. He recorded two receiving touchdowns in 2012, a career high, and totaled a career-high 78 receiving yards in 2013.

The Powell, Tenn., native was originally selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (159th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Marshall. Smith totaled 75 receptions for 791 yards and three touchdowns, and served two seasons as a captain on the Thundering Herd. In his senior year, Smith ranked second on the team with 38 receptions for 358 yards (9.4 avg.), earning him All-Conference USA honors and an Allstate Good Works Team nomination.

Lee Smith signed a 3 year / $9,100,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $3,100,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $3,033,333

The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A

Q: Can you describe how this deal came together?

Smith: “Obviously, after finishing my first four years out there in Buffalo, it became pretty clear that I was going to be hitting free agency, so [tight ends coach] Bobby Johnson and [quarterbacks coach] Todd Downing were obviously out here, both of which I’ve had a relationship with in the past and have been around me and coached me. I figured that they were there and when it was time for teams to get in touch with me, that maybe they would be one of the ones to do it, at least I hoped so. I hoped those two guys would have good things to say about me. So when they call, it was rewarding to know that I kind of impressed those guys over the years and they trust me to get out here and get to work, and get this thing going in the right direction with them.”

Q: You were used a lot as a blocking tight end in Buffalo. Do you see that as your strength? Can you do more on the receiving end than you’ve shown so far?

Smith: “You get to work every Sunday for this football team, so whatever package that ends up being is obviously humbling and rewarding for me. I’ve got four kids at home and I get their support by playing football for a living. Just like anybody else out there, I obviously think I can contribute in many ways to help this football team win. But whatever those ways are, as long as I’m out there playing football every Sunday, then I’ll be having a lot of fun and enjoying helping this team win. So sure, of course I can catch the ball if they threw it to me, but whatever they ask me to do is what I’ll do.”

Q: What is the one part of your game you take the most pride in?

Smith: “Over the years, people have kind of referred to me as a lunch-pail guy and I take a lot of pride in that. Hopefully, the guy that I’m putting my hand in the dirt beside trusts me and can count on me to fight my tail off until the whistle blows, and maybe here and there I might not hear the whistle blow. (laughing) So just the grinding aspect of my game and getting in there with the hogs and fighting my tail off, and hopefully getting the running backs of the Oakland Raiders to the second level is kind of what gets me fired up and excited to play ball.”

Q: If playing in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s traditionally run-heavy offense is a natural fit for his blocking capabilities?

Smith: “Absolutely. I’m excited about getting to work with the plans that we have here in Oakland as far as offensively and running the ball. Obviously, Derek’s doing great things and is a great young talent. It never hurts the guy taking snaps to get that run game going, it makes it a lot easier. Obviously, that’s kind of what we want to do around here, and if they think that I can help with that, then you know what, that’s very humbling. I’ll buckle my chinstrap and go to work and hopefully, do everything they envision me being able to do.”

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Kansas City Chiefs Center Rodney Hudson

March 11, 2015 2:05 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent C Rodney Hudson, the club announced Wednesday.

Hudson has started 31 games at center over the last two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Entering his fifth NFL season, Hudson has appeared in 51 games with 35 starts for Kansas City. He was originally selected by the Chiefs in the second round (55th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. After playing in all 16 games as a rookie, Hudson started the first three games at left guard in 2012 before suffering a season-ending leg injury. He took over as the team’s starting center in 2013, helping Kansas City to back-to-back winning seasons from 2013-14.

The Mobile, Ala., native attended Florida State, appearing in 53 games with 50 starts at both guard and center. The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder earned All-ACC honors all four years and holds the conference’s career record for being named ACC Player of the Week nine times. He was also a two-time winner (2009-10) of the Jacobs Blocking Award, given to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of head coaches and defensive coordinators.

Rodney Hudson signed a 5 year / $44,500,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $20,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $8,900,000.

Media Conference Call Q & A 

Q: Can you describe how this all came together and were you surprised that the Raiders were in the mix so heavily?
Hudson: “It happened so fast. As the season was over and the months started to fly by, and here we are today. I can’t even really remember how fast it happened, but I’m excited and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Q: What was it about the Raiders that attracted you to sign here?

Hudson: “This is a great franchise with great tradition. I know some guys that played for some of these coaches that are friends of mine and they had nothing but great things to say. I think we have a good opportunity to come in and do some stuff.”

Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Jack Del Rio yet, and if you have, any discussions on what he liked about your game and how he thought he would use you?

Hudson: “I talked to him briefly. He’s excited for the opportunity to work with me and same with me with him. We’re excited to get started and get to work.”

Q: Is the Raiders new no-huddle offense approach something that attracted you to this team?

Hudson: “I think so. I’m excited. I think it’s a good to have in the playbook and I’m excited to get in and start learning with the guys and from the coaches and get started.”

Q: What was the motivating factor behind your decision to leave Kansas City and come to Oakland?

Hudson: “There is not one thing in particular. I have nothing to say bad about Kansas City. I enjoyed my time there. I grew a lot as an individual and as a football player and I’m thankful for that. I have nothing bad to say. I think this is a great opportunity for me and I’m excited about it.”

Q: Was Kansas City’s initial offer lower than the Raiders or on par?
Hudson: “Out of respect to the situation, I really won’t go into specifics about that. I would prefer not to.”

Q: Are you excited about the role of a leader on and off the field and a role that you feel like you can fill pretty well?

Hudson: “Definitely. I think so. I think I need to be, personally, as a center. I think leadership comes with the position and I have to do that. I’ve had that role in previous years and I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to getting ready with the guys and start learning and getting after it.”

Q: What are the things that you like about Derek Carr?

Hudson: “I think playing in the same division as Oakland and watching him last year, we obviously played some of the same teams. We played some of the same teams that he had the chance to play. I think you notice just from watching that he’s a smart kid. You watch him direct things out there and you can tell that he knows what he’s doing and he’s a good player obviously.”

Q: Was this a difficult choice for you to come to the Raiders or were you going back and forth between a couple of different teams?

Hudson: “I think any time, in anything, you’ve been one place so long and you pick up and move, I think there is a little bit of difficulty in that. I remember how difficult it was to get up and go to college after being in one place for so long. But, I’m not really concerned about picking up and moving. I think it’s a good opportunity and I’m looking for it.”

Q: What do you think about going up against the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year now?

Hudson: “It will definitely be weird at first, but it will be fun. I think any time you’re blessed with the opportunity to go out there and compete against another team on Sundays, it’s obviously fun and I look forward to it.”

Q: What was that atmosphere like last year in the Thursday night game at the Coliseum?

Hudson: “Yeah, the fans there have always been awesome. Over the years playing there, that’s one thing that they talk about is the fans, they’re always loud and into the game and very passionate about it. The Thursday night game was great, that’s the kind of atmosphere you look forward to playing in. It was great.”

Q: With the Raiders at 11-37 over the last three years and not having a winning season since 2002, what did Coach Del Rio and Reggie McKenzie say to you to get you on board and think that you could be a part of turning this around?

Hudson: “I think as a group, any time things don’t go the way you want them or anything, you have to just get back to it and get to work. There is a lot of positive energy. These guys are excited, I’m excited. I met a few players, they’re very excited to get started. I think any time you have that good, positive energy around it is good. It’s something to feed off of, feed off each other and work towards the goal.”

With Ndamukong Suh Landing With Dolphins: Raiders Are Focused On Terrance Knighton

March 8, 2015

Shawn Jonas

The Raiders were linked to Ndamukong Suh, he was supposedly going to make a visit to Oakland next week. It seems as if he is off the market.

Contract details are starting to leak, making it appear more and more like the Miami Dolphins will sign free agent defensive tackle as soon as free agency opens Tuesday afternoon. Miami was not the only team chasing Suh, however, and now those other teams are starting to turn their attention to their other targets.

Sun’s deal with the Dolphins is said to be a six year deal worth $114 million with $60 million gauranteed.

The Oakland Raiders and Terrance Knighton have been linked since Jack Del Rio signed on as head coach. Kingston had tweeted out  to AP’s @arniestapleton : “I want to be wherever Jack is. I’ll just leave it at that.” #Raiders .The Raiders are heavily invested in Denver’s Terrance Knighton, per a league source.

Knighton had followed Del Rio from Jacksonville to Denver, and has played five seasons under Jack.  Knighton has said Del Rio would be someone he would speak to if a deal can’t get worked out in Denver.

Del Rio spoke highly of Knighton last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“We drafted him, and we thought at that time he was kind of a dancing bear type,” Del Rio said at the time. “Kind of a big powerful man that can stay on his feet and run down the line. This game is about big, powerful men, so that the guys that have the skill level can do their things. So, this big, powerful man played well in Jacksonville. We got back together, he played well in Denver and so I appreciate that. I respect that.

“We have to have those kinds of people in our trenches on the offensive and defensive line in order to play the kind of football we expect to play.”

Another option or even a bonus next to Knighton, if he lands in Oakland, would be the young Jared Odrick from the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins have stated they would like to bring Odrick back to the team, but the Suh move seems to signal that they will not make a full effort to re-sign Odrick as he enters his sixth-season in the NFL. Odrick, Miami’s first-round Draft choice in 2010, has recorded 16.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and 129 tackles in his career.

Miami could still find a way to make the roster space to re-sign Odrick, looking to keep the 2010 28th pick next to the 2010 second overall pick once Suh officially joins the team. Odrick, however, is likely going to command a contract worth at least $7 million, a number, now that Suh is off the market, that could quickly exceed the Dolphins’ ability to pay if other teams start a bidding war.

Possible landing spots for Odrick;  Jacksonville, Oakland, Denver

The Oakland Raiders Give Rod Streater A Second-Round Contract Tender

March 7, 2015

Shawn Jonas

Rod Streater was an undrafted free agent in the 2012 NFL draft class by the Oakland Raiders. He had two strong seasons to start his career.  Streater fractured his foot in a 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots  in week 3.

With Streater set to become a restricted free agent, the Raiders gave him a second-round contract tender per league source, which virtually assures his return to the Raiders next season.

Streater is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Raiders have the right to match any offer sheet given to him. If they decline, the other team must give up a second-round draft pick in return.

Streater and the Raiders can work out a longer-term deal in the coming weeks. If not, Streater will end up signing a one-year contract with $2.356 million, the total mandated with the second-round tender.

DSC00878

Photo by Shawn Jonas

While Streater is expected to return, Andre Holmes’ future is somewhat up in the air. The Raiders gave him an original-round tender worth $1.542 million, according to a separate league source. But, because he went undrafted, the Raiders won’t get  any compensation if they refuse to match an offer sheet from another team.

Holmes had 47 receptions for a team-high 693 yards last season. He also had five touchdowns.

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

 

The Oakland Raiders Part Ways With Veterans Nick Roach, Usama Young

March 6, 2015

Shawn Jonas

The Oakland Raiders released veterans middle linebacker Nick Roach and safety Usama Young on Friday.

Middle linebacker Nick Roach suffered a concussion during week three of the preseason versus Green Bay on August 22,  2014.  Still today Roach is still having symptoms from the concussion.

Roach hasn’t been cleared to resume any football activities and, in the recent weeks leading to his release, it became clear that he won’t be playing again soon. There is a chance Roach may never play again.

The Raiders released Roach with a failed physical designation.

Roach’s release comes with the Raiders saving $2.1 million in cap space and $1.6 million in dead money . He was signed through the 2016 season.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

The Raiders released veteran safety Usama Young with the same designation. Young is rehabilitating from a knee injury. He required surgery after he tore his ACL and MCL against the Arizona Cardinals in week 7. 

There is no dead money associated with Young’s release. Oakland will save $1.1 million with that transaction.

Adding that savings to NFLPA numbers, the Raiders now have $66.47 million in salary cap space. The Raiders are expected to trade or release backup quarterback Matt Schaub with a savings of $5.5 million in cap space.  There is no specific timetable to do so.

The Raiders have a pressing need at middle linebacker. Miles Burris isn’t the answers at the MLB he was thrown into the position with the injury to Roach.  Young provided veteran cover at both safety spots. With the release of Tyvon Branch and Usama Young they Raiders are now looking for a strong safety and a reserve safety. With Charles Woodson in his 18th season we could see a priority to draft a safety possibly as soon as the third round.

All photos by Shawn Jonas

The Oakland Raiders Release Lamar Woodley After One Season

March 5, 2014

Shawn Jonas

As expected, the Raiders have released defensive end LaMarr Woodley on Thursday, per the team’s official website.

Woodley suffered a torn bicep muscle in Week 7 against the Cardinals and was place on season ending IR on October 25, 2014.

The 30 year old Woodley spent his first seven seasons with the Steelers before signing a two-year contract with the Raiders last offseason. He had just five tackles last season with the Raiders, and 304 tackles (57 sacks) through eight seasons in the league. He was scheduled to make $3.85 million with a salary cap hit of $5.1875 million.

Photo by Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Maurice Jones-Drew Announces His Retirement

March 5, 2015

Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday on Twitter.

The Oakland native and De La Salle High School graduate played nine seasons in his NFL career. Eight with the Jacksonville Jaguars and one in the 2014 season with his hometown Raiders.

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Photos by Shawn Jonas

He finished with 1,847 carries for 8,167 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns. He also had 346 receptions for 2,944 yards and 11 TDs in the passing game.

Jones-Drew had been contemplating retirement during the off season.  He had made comments about  Oakland’s new head coach Jack Del Rio.  He had some of his best years under Del Rio  in Jacksonville.

He ultimately chose to stay home with his family and continue to coach at De La Salle High School.  He liked the thought of being able to take his kids to school everyday. Something he hadn’t been able to do during his NFL career.

This was his is statement on Twitter:

“After much discussion with my family and business team during the offseason, I’ve decided to retire from the National Football League. The past nine years were absolutely amazing? I’ll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me throughout me NFL journey. To my fans, and NFL fans worldwide, you are the absolute greatest! But for you, our league would not exist. Football has been a central part of my life for the past 24 year. But now I’m excited about and looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

Jones-Drew is a Bay Area football legend. He starred at De La Salle, which never lost a game during his varsity career. He scored four touchdowns in a game against Long Beach Poly, which pitted the nation’s top prep teams against each other. He was a running back, return man and linebacker for the Spartans.

He moved on to UCLA, where he was a consensus All-American in 2005. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Jaguars. He was named to three Pro Bowls in eight seasons with Jacksonville. He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2011, when he won the NFL rushing title.

He signed with the Raiders last offseason, and never made a real impact. There was a possibility Jones-Drew would get released this offseason or late in training camp, but he chose to retire instead.

Jones-Drew was well respected by teammates and the press. He was also heavily involved in the community with charitable endeavors he plans to continue in retirement.

The Oakland Raiders Released Veteran Strong Safety Tyvon Branch

 

March 3, 2015

Shawn Jonas

As expected the Oakland Raiders officially released veteran strong safety Tyvon Branch on Tuesday.

He was set to make $9.67 million against the 2015 salary cap.  The Raiders saved nearly $3 million in cap space by releasing the veteran.

Branch had  back-to-back seasons cut short by major leg and foot injuries.  He missed 14 games in 2013 with a fractured fibula and 13 games in 2014 with a fractured foot.  There were growing concerns inside the organization about how Branch would come back from the injuries and if he could stay healthy.

The team told Branch about his release last week.  Branch had tweeted thanks to the organization and its fans for seven years in Oakland. 

Branch is now an unrestricted free agent.