What to do with Raiders CB Sean Smith

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has the fourth highest cap hit on the Raiders’ roster in 2017, yet he is obviously not the fourth best player on the team and comes nowhere close to cracking the top 10.

Smith’s $9.5 million cap hit, per Spotrac, lands him in dangerous waters. He is due No. 1 cornerback money, but will probably be the No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback on the team this fall. Moreover, Oakland ranked just No. 24 against the pass in 2016, so being third or fourth on the depth chart is nothing to get excited about.

The Raiders will be moving on from Smith at some point. Whether it is this year or next year, we do not know.

If Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie wants to see Smith in a new uniform in 2017, here are McKenzie’s options.

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Sep 25, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith (21) celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Titans 17-10 at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Cut Raiders CB Sean Smith

Many of Raider Nation might clamor for Smith to be cut, however, that would make zero sense for the football team.

If McKenzie chooses to cut him, he would only save the franchise $250,000 since $9.25 million would still count against the cap as dead money, via Spotrac. Therefore, there is absolutely no benefit to seeing Smith cut this season.

Oakland would also not be able to find an equally talented replacement for $250,000. In addition, Smith has performed poorly, for his price tag, but is still a decent starting cornerback in the NFL as long as the team plays around his weaknesses.

If no cap space is to be gained from his departure, it is safe to say he will be on the roster come Week 1 of the NFL regular season unless McKenzie surprises the NFL by making a trade.

Lastly, the Raiders can cut Smith in 2018 without penalty since there would be no dead money by releasing him then.

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Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Raiders CB Sean Smith

A trade scenario is extremely unlikely since McKenzie has never been eager to make trades and no team would want to take on Smith’s contract without getting something in return.

Regardless, here is a hypothetical trade scenario that would help out two teams and send Smith out of Oakland.

First and foremost, the Raiders must find a team that is not expecting to win this season and has cap space to spare.

Luckily, the three teams with the most cap space, the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, are not expected to be a winning team in 2017.

Proposed trade: Raiders’ Sean Smith and 2018 6th round pick to San Francisco

Currently, the 49ers’ two starting cornerbacks, Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson, have Pro Football Focus player grades of 65.8 and 50.4 respectively.

If Smith came in, he would immediately become a starter Day 1 and could give valuable leadership to the young pieces in San Francisco. After Smith’s one year with the Niners, the organization could release him without any penalty and would have accrued an extra sixth round selection to help build the team for the future.

In regards to Oakland, McKenzie would be extremely hesitant to part ways with a sixth round draft pick, but he would save the team $5.25 million, via Spotrac.

With Carr and Jackson’s recent contracts and Mack’s future contract, $5.25 million could go a long way in helping keep the Raiders’ young core together. In essence, the $5.25 million could be more valuable than having one sixth round pick in 2018.

Maybe, that $5.25 million will help bring Raiders tackle Donald Penn to training camp.

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Photo via Getty Images

What McKenzie should do

Personally, parting ways with any assets is not the smartest move for the Raiders.

Oakland should keep Smith on the 53 man roster and cut him the following season. Then, they can have his services for 2017, not lose any draft picks and move on from him in 2018 when they can do so without hurting the team’s cap space.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Raiders’ Mack, Cooper, Melifonwu, Conley still out of practice

Photo via AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Obi Melifonwu are not participating in Thursday’s practice, per NBC Bay Area’s Scott Bair.

Oakland’s No. 1 NFL draft selection in cornerback Gareon Conley is also still not participating in practices, per the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gelhken, and all of the players above are unlikely to suit up against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday.

Conley and Melifonwu’s continued absence is much more concerning than Mack and Cooper’s given that each is established players and already familiar with the system and their roles.


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Raiders Training Camp: 3 takeaways from depth chart release

On Monday, the Oakland Raiders released their first unofficial depth chart of the 2017 NFL season in preparation for their preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday.

Below is a quick analysis of the Raiders’ current depth chart.

Jun 13, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing (left) and tight end Lee Smith (86) during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1, TE Lee Smith as starter shouldn’t surprise

Despite the Raiders signing tight end Jared Cook to a two-year, $10.6 million contract, Lee Smith still holds the No. 1 position in Oakland on the current depth chart.


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Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch explodes Day 9 at camp

Photo via Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group

On a day where Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper (among several others) took a day of rest, running back Marshawn Lynch decided to put on a show for Raider Nation.

Lynch broke free twice during Tuesday’s practice, invigorating fans in attendance, per Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonald.

Perhaps the 31-year-old back wouldn’t have been able to find the same holes he was able to Tuesday if Mack was playing defense, but it is still a great sign that Lynch continues to demonstrate explosion in training camp.


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Raiders QB Derek Carr 2-13 vs. playoff teams in career

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is one of the rising superstars in the NFL. He took Oakland to its first playoff appearance since 2003 and was an MVP candidate until the moment he broke his fibula in Week 16.

However, Carr is not perfect. He has tallied a poor record of 2-13 against playoff teams during his NFL career, via Gridiron Experts’ Paul Maland.

Moreover, the former Bulldog is just 1-5 against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs who seem to be the biggest threat to taking the AFC West crown from the Raiders in the future.


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Raiders QB Derek Carr shafted in MMQB player rankings

Photo via the Oakland Raiders official website

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, according to Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB), is the No. 10 best quarterback and No. 124 best player in the NFL.

Anyone in the Raider Nation knows how laughable the ranking is as Carr was ranked No. 11 in the NFL Network’s Top 100 players.

The MMQB’s list has Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert ranked one spot higher than Carr. While Carr started in 15 games and was an MVP candidate in 2016, Eifert started in just two games.


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How Everson Griffen’s new deal impacts Raiders DE Khalil Mack

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On Wednesday, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen signed a four-year extension worth $58 million, per NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport.

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack will be getting a massive extension following the 2017 season. Since Mack plays defensive end like Griffen, the new deal will definitely be used in Oakland’s future negotiations with Mack.

Griffen, nowhere near Mack’s level, has still been one of the best at his position in the NFL tallying a Pro Football Focus player grade of at least 80 in the past three seasons. Mack has been above 95 in each of the last two years showing his superiority.


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Final Raiders 53-man roster projection before training camp

As NFL training camps begin to ramp up and with the Oakland Raiders’ less than one week away, 90 players become 53 in one fell swoop in 2017.

While it’s likely that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie still has a couple more moves up his sleeve before this roster is fully fleshed out, a final 53-man roster projection before camp seemed in order.

Photo via USA Sports Images

QB (3): Derek Carr, EJ Manuel, Connor Cook

Here come’s the spoiler alert — Derek Carr is going to be the starting quarterback for Oakland in 2017.


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Raiders’ Derek Carr doubles down on Khalil Mack setting NFL sack record

Photo via Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, for the second year in a row, has predicted that Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack will rack up 30 sacks in a season.

Last year, the prediction was incorrect, but Mack did go on to win the AP’s 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, which is not a bad consolation.

In regards to 2017, Carr told Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein on Wednesday that he will still stick “with [his] 30 number. Because we know this is going to blow up.”

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What Raiders should do with their $18M in cap space

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As of Friday, the Oakland Raiders still possess over $18 million in cap space, per Over The Cap.

However, that figure is misleading as it does not include Raiders guard Gabe Jackson’s new extension, or two more draft picks Oakland still must sign that will cost around $4 million in total. Jackson signed a five-year, $56 million contract, $26 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $11.2 million, per SpoTrac.

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley should be expected to get around $3 million per year, based upon the players’ contracts around him and Raiders safety Obi Melfinowu should get around $800,000 based upon Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham’s contract. 

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