Tagged in: Las vegas Raiders

CB Casey Hayward Jr. signs with Las Vegas Raiders, rejoins DC Gus Bradley

The Las Vegas Raiders added a veteran presence to their youthful secondary by signing cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. on Tuesday.

Hayward, 31, a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2012, joins cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen (drafted in the second round in 2019), Damon Arnette (first round in 2020), Amik Robertson (fourth round in 2020) and Nate Hobbs (fifth round in 2021), as well as safeties Johnathan Abram (first round in 2019), Trevon Moehrig (second round in 2021) and Tyree Gillespie (fourth round in 2021).

The move also reunites Hayward, who was released by the Los Angeles Chargers in March, with Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was his defensive coordinator in Los Angeles the past four campaigns. The Raiders hired Bradley as their defensive coordinator in January.

The signing could mean the Raiders will not move on another veteran free-agent cornerback in Richard Sherman, who has also been linked to Las Vegas. Hayward, 31, appeared in 14 matches last season, making 13 starts.

He finished with an interception and eight passes defended. He was inactive for the Nov. 29 game at Buffalo, snapping a streak of 107 consecutive games played.

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The signing could mean the Raiders will not move on another veteran free-agent cornerback in Richard Sherman, who has also been linked to Las Vegas.

Hayward, 31, appeared in 14 matches last season, making 13 starts. He finished with an interception and eight passes defended. He was inactive for the Nov. 29 game at Buffalo, snapping a streak of 107 consecutive games played.

During his five seasons with the Chargers, Hayward had 66 passes defensed, which led the AFC during that span. He led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2016 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017.

He has 23 career interceptions, though only three in his past three seasons combined.

Hayward dealt with back, groin and hamstring injuries in 2020, and while he led the NFL with 42 pass breakups over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he permitted 8.6 yards per target in 2020, the worst mark of his career.

Arnette, meanwhile, allowed 11.8 yards per target, and Mullen gave up 7.7 yards per target. Hayward could potentially start on the outside in place of Arnette.

The Raiders also signed cornerback Rasul Douglas on April 19 and safety Karl Joseph, a first-round pick of the Raiders in 2016 who spent last season with Cleveland, on April 9.

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Seattle Seahawks talk to Richard Sherman, but no reunion imminent as DB mulls future

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed that he’s been in communication with Richard Sherman, but stated a reunion with the former All-Pro cornerback isn’t currently in the works.

“That’s not one of our thoughts right now that we’re going out and getting another guy at that spot, but we’re going to keep looking,” Carroll said Saturday, after the Seahawks took Oklahoma CB Tre Brown with one of their three draft picks.

“We’re not going to stop looking and we’re going to compete. So in that sense, I leave everything open and that’s just one of them.”

The 33-year-old Sherman is a free agent after spending the past three campaigns with the San Francisco 49ers.

In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Friday, he said a return to San Francisco isn’t out of the question and listed the Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders as other teams with which he’s had communication.

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“I’ve got to wait through this draft process,” he told Smith. “Obviously, the first round, a lot of teams got corners, some teams didn’t get the corners they wanted and I think once this draft process completes my phone will ring a little more with people who expected to get a guy and didn’t get the guy they wanted. I’m not as in control as I was. At 33, it’s just like, it doesn’t matter what you put on tape.”

Sherman suggested that his age is the reason he’s unsigned

“It doesn’t matter accolades you have, what you put on tape, the numbers — it’s just age sometimes. So I’ve just got to continue to stay in shape, continue to stay ready … I’m being patient and doing everything I can.”

Sherman made four Pro Bowls and was named a First Team All-Pro in three of his seven seasons with Seattle, rising from a fifth-round pick in 2011 to become a key member of the defense that led the Seahawks to their lone Super Bowl championship and a close repeat the next year.

He suffered a torn Achilles in 2017 and was released that offseason with one year left on his contract. The 49ers then signed him to a three-year deal that just expired.

Sherman made his fifth career Pro Bowl in 2019 but missed 11 matches last year with a calf injury.

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Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito out for season after foot surgery

Las Vegas Raiders left guard Richie Incognito recently underwent “season-ending foot surgery,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden stated Monday on his weekly videoconference with the media.

Incognito, 37, initially went down with what the team described as an Achilles injury early in the Raiders’ Week 2 triumph over the New Orleans Saints.

“I hate to admit that, but we’ve tried everything we can,” Gruden said. “Richie’s tried everything he can to get back on the field. His season is over.”

Incognito was coaxed out of retirement by the Raiders on a one-year “prove it” deal in the spring of 2019 and earned a two-year, $14 million extension, with $6.365 million guaranteed, as well as a Pro Bowl alternate nod despite missing four matches. 

Denzelle Good replaced Incognito at left guard; he has played so well that Gruden called Good the team’s “unsung hero” and quarterback Derek Carr referred to Good as the team’s MVP.

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Still, Incognito was part of the heavy financial investment the Raiders made in their offensive line.

But due to injury and COVID-19 issues, the projected starting O-line of left tackle Kolton Miller, Incognito, center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown played all of three snaps together this campaign, in the season opener.

But due to injury and COVID-19 issues, the projected starting O-line of left tackle Kolton Miller, Incognito, center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown played all of three snaps together this campaign, in the season opener.

In fact, Brown, who signed a record four-year, $66 million free-agent contract with $36.75 million guaranteed in 2019, has appeared in just two games this season — three snaps in the season opener and at the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 11.

Brown, who injured his calf in training camp, suffered a mishap while being administered a pregame IV and has been on the reserve/COVID list twice, the most recent since Nov. 5. Gruden said Brown’s return was “still up in the air” for the Raiders, who fell to 6-4 after Sunday night’s heartbreaking 35-31 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the final minute.

“He’s still, hopefully, about to get started here and resume his playing,” Gruden said of Brown. “It’s a day-to-day operation and I’ll know more from the trainer here on Tuesday morning.”

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Las Vegas Raiders finalizing deal with CB Prince Amukamara

The Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing an agreement with veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Amukamara, who has started 99 matches in his career, should compete for a starting job with Las Vegas at best and provide much-needed experience and depth at cornerback at the very least.

The Raiders return Trayvon Mullen, who started the last 10 games of his rookie season last year, and used a first-round draft pick, No. 19 overall, on Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette and a fourth-round pick on slot corner Amik Robertson.

Amukamara, who turns 31 on June 6, was released by the Chicago Bears on Feb. 21, as he was entering the final season of his three-year, $27 million extension signed in 2018. His cap hit was to be $8 million.

Amukamara spent three campaigns with the Bears, appearing in 44 of 48 games with 42 starts, and had three interceptions (all in 2018), 29 passes defended, three forced fumbles, a recovery and a defensive touchdown. In nine NFL seasons, he has 476 tackles and 10 interceptions.

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A first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2011, he was part of their Super Bowl team in his rookie year.

He also spent a season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining the Bears in 2017.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recognized before the draft that the Raiders needed to address the position, especially after an offseason agreement with free-agent cornerback Eli Apple fell through.

“We feel like we got a bunch of talented young kids that we don’t know enough about yet,” Mayock said. “Trayvon played really well the second half of the season. We believe that he’s going to be a starter for years to come. Isaiah Johnson was a fourth-round pick, a former wide receiver with all kinds of physical skill set. We love his traits. He got hurt early, we brought him back late. He’s a guy we can’t wait to see play. Keisean Nixon was a free agent out of South Carolina who made the team and played well on special teams. He’s a really competitive young man. And Dylan Mabin is another kid out of Fordham who got hurt and didn’t get a chance to show what he can do.

“So, we’ve got four or five young corners who we’re kind of intrigued by. Now, do we think that we need to get better there? Yeah.”

Enter Arnette, Robertston and, now, Amukamara.

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