Should Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie target Browns CB Jason McCourty?

With the Oakland Raiders 2-4 start to the 2017 NFL regular season, a trade might not be realistic as the defense seems to lack talent on the field and from the coaching staff. So there might not be just one fix for this calendar year.

However, if there is one acquisition general Reggie McKenzie can make to help the secondary and to resurrect Oakland’s season, here it is.

The Cleveland Browns are still 0-6 and have shown interest in stockpiling draft selections. Browns cornerback Jason McCourty is having one of the best seasons of his NFL career, 92 Pro Football Focus player grade in 2017, but is 30 years old making it unlikely he is in Cleveland’s future plans.

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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 08: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets attempts to move past Jason McCourty #30 of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

As such, the Raiders could go after McCourty and have a sure-fire No. 1 starting caliber cornerback for the first time since Nnamdi Asomugha left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Since McCourty is in his thirties, he wouldn’t be a long-term fix but would immediately improve the defense.

To convince McKenzie, McCourty would be due less than $1 million for the remainder of the season and would only have a cap hit of $3.625 million in 2018, via Spotrac.

It is hard to predict how much the Browns would want in return for McCourty, but a third-round pick and an extra late-round pick would seem reasonable. Unfortunately, McKenzie would be hesitant to part ways with a high selection.

Honestly, a second-round pick might even be worth it considering McKenzie’s selections of Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Menelik Watson, Sio Moore and Obi Melifonwu, who has yet to play a game. Aside from 2014, McKenzie’s second and third round selections have been sub-par.

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May 30, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie wears a hoddie and sunglasses at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the last five drafts, McKenzie has only taken a starter in the third round twice, guard Gabe Jackson and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (and he’s up for debate). There is no guarantee that a future third round pick or even second would do anything for the organization immediately or down the line. Therefore, parting ways with a future draft pick for the opportunity to get a guy who can be a great starter for the next few seasons seems like a no-brainer.

Oakland has a ton of talent in place now, especially on the offensive side. But at a certain point everyone is going to have to be paid. Defensive end Khalil Mack, wide receiver Amari Cooper, safety Karl Joseph and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will all be getting new contracts in the coming years. As such, the window for the Raiders won’t be open forever. It is time, maybe not now but at least this offseason, to go all in on improving this defense.

Calling the Browns and enquiring about a trade for McCourty could be that answer in the secondary to help move the Oakland defense in the right direction.

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

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JR Report Podcast: Despite what NFL media think, Raiders not going anywhere

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (Photo via AP Images)

The Oakland Raiders have been disrespected by the NFL media as of recently.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has the Raiders outside the Top 10 of his NFL power rankings and Colin Cowherd doesn’t think Oakland is any threat to the New England Patriots.

Here is why the Raiders disrespect is ridiculous.

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JR Report picks against the spread

The 2017 NFL regular season kicks off in less than 24 hours!

As such, here are The JR Report and Ryan Lipton’s top 5 picks against the spread for Week 1 of the NFL season.

Remember, The JR Report hit on 63% (34/54) of its picks during last year’s regular season.


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

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.

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

Photo via Getty Images

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. 

Continue reading “What Raiders should do with their $18M in cap space”

Countdown to camp: Denarius Moore best Raider to wear No. 17

Photo via Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday is the day No. 10 of Raiders Wire’s countdown to the Oakland Raiders’ training camp which begins on July 24. Until that day, we will count down the best Raider to wear each jersey number from No. 26 to No. 1 and will now look at No. 17.

Surprisingly, there is not one No. 17 on the Raiders roster right now, and it has not been a favorite number in the past. Only six players (who made the 53-man roster) in the Raiders’ history has worn the number, and five of those guys only played one season for the Silver and Black.

The one player to play more than one season, former Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore.

Continue reading “Countdown to camp: Denarius Moore best Raider to wear No. 17”

Raiders’ McKenzie on Gabe Jackson’s contract: ‘We’ll start on that ASAP’

Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr just signed a record-breaking deal with Oakland, but with the deal’s set up, it provides the opportunity for the Raiders to sign their young players to extensions, like Raiders guard Gabe Jackson.

During Carr’s press conference today, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie mentioned that they will “start on [Jackson’s contract] ASAP,” per Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gehlken. 

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Carr’s contract has most of the money upfront and actually has an out after 2018, providing a possible time for Carr to restructure to keep or add talent. Therefore, there will be money available for Jackson and for the other young Oakland players whose contracts will expire.

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In addition, many teams’ offensive line suffers after they give their quarterback a payday because they don’t have enough money to go around. Consequently, teams can easily decline after not having the cap space to protect their quarterback, like the Seattle Seahawks have recently.

Luckily for Raider Nation, McKenzie has crafted a way to pay his MVP-caliber quarterback but keep the remaining players, like Jackson, that make the team special.

Raiders can get out of Derek Carr’s contract after 2018

Photo via Getty Images

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie did not win 2017 Executive of the Year for nothing, as it appears that quarterback Derek Carr’s contract is actually a beneficial one for the team.

Oakland will have an out after 2018 if Carr performs poorly or a growing injury history catches up with him, which includes a broken fibula and dislocated finger from last season.

Carr’s contract is guaranteed for 2017 and 2018, however, it is technically not beyond those two seasons per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

His 2019 guaranteed money doesn’t kick in until February of 2019, meaning the Raiders would have one month from the end of the regular season to cut Carr without taking a major salary cap hit, per Graziano. 

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Carr’s deal is a five-year extension worth $125 million, however, his average salary per year from now until the deal ends is actually much less than the $25 million.

Carr, under his old contract, was due just $1.15 million in 2017, per Over the Cap. The last year of his rookie contract is now gone as he is expected to be paid $25 million in 2017, but Oakland isn’t going to give close to a $24 million raise for no reason.

They moved close to $24 million from the five-year extension into 2017. Therefore, from 2018-2022 he is going to get paid only $101 million, which is just over $20 million per year. This typical of front loading of a star’s contract is a mutually beneficial reality in the NFL.

While the chances of cutting Carr after 2018 are slim-to-none, allowing his team an out was yet another shrewd move by McKenzie.

Raiders GM McKenzie: ‘I want Derek [Carr] to be a Raider his entire career’

Photo via Scott Tucker/SF Bay

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie went on radio to clear up some of the latest rumors, including that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s “patience is wearing thin”, per NFL Media’s Mike Silver.

However, McKenzie doesn’t see it that way. On 95.7 The Game this morning, he told JT the Brick, “We’re going to make sure [Carr’s] contract gets done . . . I want Derek to be a Raiders his entire career.”

All the panic and worry amongst the NFL about Carr’s contract is ludicrous. There is not another player in the league that is more valuable to their organization than Carr is to Oakland.

In addition, McKenzie told JT the Brick that the Raiders “want Derek and Derek wants to be here.”

The interest is mutual and it is only a matter of time before a very lucrative contract is agreed upon.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Pressure already mounting for Raiders rookie Marquel Lee

Photo via SEAN MEYERS/ICON SPORTSWIRE

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Just one day into rookie minicamp, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee already has to be feeling some pressure that most fifth round selections aren’t accustom to.

Lee is expected to work at the middle linebacker position for a defense that ranked No. 26 overall in the NFL last year. Though Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie did not sign anyone via free agency before selecting Lee, coach Jack Del Rio has already been on record that the team is still looking for linebackers.

Interestingly, Lee will also be wearing the same number that Raiders coach Jack Del Rio sported during his NFL playing days, and did admit to the pressure he will face during camp.

McKenzie hasn’t been shy regarding his position on the former Wake Forest linebacker, stating everyone would be “impressed” with Lee during a Sirius XM NFL Radio interview earlier this week.

As Raiders rookie minicamp unfolds, Lee’s battle to play at inside linebacker is just one of many storylines from Day 1 in Alameda.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders draft recap and grade: B+

Photo via Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders made nine selections in the 2017 NFL draft. Here is a recap of each pick and a grade for general manager Reggie McKenzie’s draft.

G Conley
Photo via Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10

Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24 overall) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley was a projected top 10-15 pick and Oakland was able to land him at No. 24 making him a great value pick.

If he is cleared of the alleged rape accusation, as he is expected too, then this pick will be a great one.

Conley can provide major relief in the secondary by playing in the slot until he takes over for either starting cornerback David Amerson or Sean Smith in the future.

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