Nick Roach wanted to continue playing, but the Oakland Raiders ultimately decided his health issues were too serious for him to remain with the team.

Oakland cut Roach and safety Usama Young on Friday because they failed physicals. Roach missed all of the 2014 season with a concussion he suffered in the preseason at Green Bay. Young tore his ACL during the 2014 season and was put on injured reserve.

Roach
Roach didn't miss a snap in 2013, his first season in Oakland. The Raiders wanted Roach back, but general manager Reggie McKenzie made it clear last month that the team was concerned about his long-term health.

"You've got to start looking out for the player. We'll continue to communicate with the medical staff and I'll talk to Nick and we'll make the decision," McKenzie said.

"But I'm in the best interests of the player and as much as we'd love him to be our signal caller on defense, I don't want to risk life-long injury if he goes out there. Especially if he has any, not discomfort, but any type of feeling within him that something's not right. And for it to last this long is not a good thing."

Roach was hoping to play this season as late as last week, according to a source. But his issues made it impossible for the Raiders to move forward.

The moves save the Raiders more than $3 million combined and they are now set to have $67 million in salary-cap room when free agency starts Tuesday.

Both middle linebacker and safety will be a priority for Oakland in the offseason. Among the middle linebackers the Raiders may look at in free agency are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mason Foster, the Denver Broncos' Nate Irving and the Seattle Seahawks' Malcolm Smith, an outside linebacker who scouts around the league think can play in the middle. Irving played for new Raiders coach Jack Del Rio in Denver and Smith played for new defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. with the Seahawks. At safety, Denver's Rahim Moore is a possibility.

In other Raiders' notes, safety Tyvon Branch, cut Tuesday, is reportedly going to visit with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has also visited with the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins.
The Oakland Raiders are going to have close to $70 million in salary cap room and they are expected to be aggressive in free agency, which starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Wide receiver is arguably the team's biggest need. The following is one key fact from ESPN Stats & Information about the top unrestricted free-agent receivers available. I am listing them in order of what I believe to be Oakland's interest:

Randall Cobb, Green Bay

Fact: Cobb was the only player to have at least 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns in the NFL while lining up in the slot in 2014. Cobb had 75 catches, 1,067 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

Fact: Maclin was one of six receivers with at least 1,300 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in 2014.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore

Fact: Smith had 11 touchdown receptions on 49 total catches -- a scoring percentage of 22.4. It was the highest touchdown percentage by a receiver last season.

As expected, the Oakland Raiders have signed a lease to continue playing at the O.co Coliseum for the 2015 season.

The team, whose lease ended after last season, confirmed the lease signing but will not have any further statement. The lease is for just one season, and it continues to raise the question of where the team will play in the future. Raiders owner Mark Davis indicated late last year the team would sign a lease to play in Oakland in 2015; the NFL announced late last year that the league would not have a team in Los Angeles in 2015.

Last month, the Raiders teamed with their AFC West rival San Diego Chargers to propose a stadium in Carson, California. That proposal is in its infancy. The Raiders are also engaged in talks with officials in Oakland about a new stadium. There is new enthusiasm about striking a deal there, but there are still several steps that need to be made before a deal is struck.

Until the future is secured, the Raiders now are officially entrenched in Oakland for another season.


(Read full post)


Ndamukong Suh is arguably the best defensive player to hit free agency since Reggie White more than 20 years ago.

Buoyed by a ton of salary cap room, the need for an impact player and a face of the franchise, the Oakland Raiders are widely considered to be one of the front-runners to pursue Suh once free agency starts Tuesday. The NFL Network has reported the Raiders plan to bring in Suh for a visit next week.

Here is a look at why Suh-- a West Coast native -- could be so appealing to Oakland, per ESPN Stats & Information:

Suh leads all defensive tackles with 36 sacks since he entered the league in 2010.

The Associated Press has selected Suh as a first-team All-Pro three of his first five seasons. He is one of five defensive tackles to accomplish that in the last half century. Three of them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Joe Greene, Alan Page and Cortez Kennedy. The other is Kevin Williams, who has had a tremendous career himself.

These are primary reasons why Suh is going to break the bank and why teams are going to fight for his services. We will find out soon if the Raiders emerge the Suh sweepstakes winner.
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper released his third mock draft Thursday.

Like fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay did last week, Kiper is all in on West Virginia receiver Kevin White after his terrific performance at the combine last month. Like McShay did, Kiper has White going to the Oakland Raiders at No. 4. In his first two mocks, Kiper had the Raiders taking Alabama receiver Amari Cooper.

But White has bypassed Cooper on Kiper’s board. Perhaps he will on several teams' boards as well, including the Raiders.

White ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at the combine. Still, I like Cooper better for Oakland at this point. Cooper is a polished receiver with a better resume than White and is just 20. I don’t think Cooper should be penalized for someone else having a good combine. Cooper did fine at the combine and was also a great college receiver. For now, I’m sticking with him to be the Raiders’ choice.
video

Maurice Jones-Drew, one of the most productive pro running backs during his prime despite his small stature, has retired from the NFL.

Jones-Drew, who turns 30 this month, announced his retirement Thursday on Twitter.

He wrote, "All good things come to an end!!!" with a longer message contained in the tweet.

Jones-Drew is known for his eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with Oakland last year. He began the season as the Raiders' starter but broke his hand in Game 1, could not regain his starting job and was buried on the depth chart as the season progressed. Jones-Drew, a Bay Area native, had just 96 yards rushing in what was his final NFL season.

He talked to new Oakland coach Jack Del Rio -- who had coached Jones-Drew in Jacksonville in his prime -- about playing in 2015. However, there was little chance the Raiders would have retained Jones-Drew had he decided to continue to play.

"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Maurice Jones-Drew and wish him the absolute best," Del Rio said in a statement released by the Raiders. "He is one of the top individuals, both on and off of the field, that I have had the privilege of coaching. He's one of my all-time favorites and I truly love the guy."

The 5-foot-7, 210-pound Jones-Drew completed his career with 8,167 rushing yards. It is the sixth-most rushing yards in the NFL over the past nine seasons.

With Jones-Drew retiring and the team officially releasing defensive end LaMarr Woodley


(Read full post)


The NFL Network reported the Oakland Raiders are expected to host arguably the top prize in free agency, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, for a visit next week. Also, Fox Sports reported that the Raiders are interested in center Chris Myers, who was cut by Houston and free to sign anywhere.

Thoughts on Suh: A planned visit is no shock. The Raiders, who may have up to $70 million in salary-cap room, are expected to be players for Suh. Of course, they will want him to visit. The key, though, is whether Suh will even be available for a visit. He will be hotly pursued. I could see him signing shortly after the window starts at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. But, yes, of course, the Raiders will want to meet with him.

Thoughts on Myers: Myers, who will turn 34 early in the season, is a solid player, but he is aging. The Raiders should go younger at most positions. Starter Stefen Wisniewski is a free agent and he could leave. The Raiders could make a run at Kansas City center Rodney Hudson, who will be expensive.

Going with Hudson or Wisniewski is a better approach for Oakland than going after Myers. They have money and they need to get younger. Oakland concentrated on older free agents last year and it didn’t work. Going after Myers has the potential to continue a poor trend.
video

Mel Kiper Jr. discusses whether Amari Cooper or Kevin White is the top wide receiver on his Big Board and where he thinks they may go.
We have looked at defensive end prospects the Oakland Raiders could take in the first round of the NFL draft.

However, with upwards of $70 million in salary-cap room, Oakland can also address the position in free agency, which begins Tuesday. Oakland had a league-low seven sacks out of its defensive ends last season and just 22 overall, tied for the second fewest in the NFL.

One free-agent possibility may be the Buffalo Bills' Jerry Hughes. He has 20 sacks in the past two years for the Bills after a slow start to his career with the Indianapolis Colts. Hughes is considered a top free agent and will command a lucrative price tag. But I could see Oakland being in on him.

The Baltimore Ravens' Pernell McGee, Tennessee Titans' Derrick Morgan, Philadelphia Eagles' Brandon Graham and Atlanta Falcons' Kroy Biermann are all possibilities as well. McGee has a chance to be an impact player, while the others are solid ensemble pieces whom the Raiders could easily sign before boosting the position in the draft.

Stadium supporters file paperwork

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
11:11
PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Organizers behind a proposed stadium for the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers in a Los Angeles suburb filed paperwork Wednesday to bring their plan before voters.

Submission of the ballot initiative to the city of Carson, California, marks an incremental step in development of the $1.7 billion project.

If approved, it would modify zoning laws to allow construction of a stadium on the site of a former landfill.

Organizers, funded by the two teams, could begin collecting petition signatures as soon as next week to place the plan on the ballot. They'll need to get 8,041 signatures in the next 180 days.

The Raiders and Chargers announced last month they are planning a shared stadium in Carson if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.

A ballot approval would put the plan on the same footing as another NFL stadium project 10 miles away in Inglewood that is backed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The fast-tracked Inglewood plan last week got to skip the ballot process with a simple City Council vote because it is being added to an already-in-progress development.

Yet another stadium plan, for downtown Los Angeles, also remains alive, but has no team attached.


(Read full post)


One of the Oakland Raiders' top needs this offseason will be at wide receiver. When free agency starts next week, the position should be one of the first areas the Raiders look at.

Moore
Oakland has long been lacking at the position. The Raiders and Jacksonville were the only teams without a receiver with 700 yards in 2014. There were 62 receivers in the NFL with that many yards.

So, help is needed. However, in an insider piece, ESPN analyst and former general manager Bill Polian thinks the Raiders had one of the better receiver options available on their 2014 roster. Insider Polian has Denarius Moore listed as a B-plus free agent.

Yes, Denarius Moore.

There are only two non-franchised receivers ranked higher than Moore in free agency by Polian. Moore has the same grade as Baltimore's Torrey Smith, who I think would be viewed as a huge upgrade in Oakland.

Moore was buried on the depth chart of a poor group last season. He had just 12 catches. He had his moments as a Raider, but he showed no consistency. His best season was 2012 when he had 51 catches for 741 yards. That's pretty pedestrian for a career best.

Maybe Moore will demand a nice deal in free agency based on his potential, but I'd be surprised if the Raiders were the team to give it to him. The Raiders need impact and Moore has had his chance to show it.
INDIANAPOLIS – Former Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch was scheduled to meet with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, his agent said.

Branch
Branch, a former fourth-round draft pick, spent his first seven seasons with the Raiders before being released earlier this week.

Branch has three seasons with at least 104 tackles, but injuries have kept him on the sideline the past two seasons. He only played two games in 2013 and three games last season.

The Colts are in need of two starting safeties because they released LaRon Landry three weeks ago and Mike Adams and Sergio Brown are free agents. There’s mutual interest between Adams and the Colts in re-signing him.

Branch can play both safety positions, but he spent the majority of time at strong safety with the Raiders. Colts coach Chuck Pagano is big in his safeties being interchangeable in his defensive scheme.

New England’s Devin McCourty will be the best safety available on the free-agent market.

Teams can start talking to the agents of players on March 7. Free agency begins March 10 at 4 p.m. The Colts are able to meet with Branch because he was released.

Raiders talk about possible move

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
10:00
AM ET
video 
ESPN Raiders reporter Bill Williamson says the team's decision to stay in Oakland or move to Los Angeles is a ways off.
The Oakland Raiders officially released safety Tyvon Branch on Tuesday. He was told of his pending release last Thursday.

Branch
Branch, a fourth-round pick out of Connecticut in 2008, was given the franchise tag in 2012 in Reggie McKenzie's first year as the team's general manager. That summer, Branch signed a four-year deal worth $26.6 million, with $17.6 million in guaranteed money.

However, injuries curtailed Branch's production. He finished all three seasons since signing the extension injured. He was relegated to a total of five games the past two seasons due to injury. Branch, 28, was put on injured reserve in September after breaking his foot in Week 3 at New England.

Branch had a $1 million roster bonus due next month and a base salary of $5.5 million. His salary-cap number for 2015 was $9.657 million. Branch's release should give Oakland a cap break of about $3 million. The Raiders are expected to cut other veterans soon, including defensive end LaMarr Woodley. Oakland is set to have more than $60 million in cap space in free agency, which starts next Tuesday.

Update: Branch is reportedly visiting Indianapolis on Wednesday and then Washington.

SPONSORED HEADLINES