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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.

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Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to move around defense

Photo via AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith is continuing to bounce around on defense during his time in training camp in Napa.

During Thursday’s practice, Smith was seen lining up at outside cornerback as well as at hybrid linebacker in sub-packages, according to Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gehlken.

The former Utes’ move to the outside comes after defending tight ends throughout the entirety of Wednesday’s practice on the first, second and third teams. That practice left many perplexed given that the Raiders are paying Smith $9.5 million this season.


Read more on Raiders Wire!

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.


Read more on Raiders Wire!

Raiders depth chart release sees CB Sean Smith as starter

Photo via Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders released an unofficial depth chart Monday, and among the surprises was the fact that cornerback Sean Smith was still listed as a starter.

Here is a look at how Oakland’s depth chart broke down as the team gets set to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the preseason Aug. 12.


Read more on Raiders Wire!

3 Oakland Raiders with most to prove this offseason

Photo via AP Photo/Bill Feig

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The real grind of the NFL season began Tuesday with the arrival of mandatory minicamp, as Oakland Raiders coaches got their first chance to truly assess their players.

Here is a look at the three Raiders with the most to prove at 2017 minicamp.

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Photo via Getty Images

No. 3, Clive Walford

Raiders tight end Clive Walford has been a disappointment since his ATV crash last year.

Walford had a rookie season filled with promise, but plateaued in year two amassing only 30 more receiving yards while notching the same number of touchdowns (3) than the year prior.

It is not known whether or not Walford’s woes were related to his injury, but given his age he should still have the ability to develop into an elite red-zone weapon for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Interestingly, Walford was considered the best blocking tight end in the NFL last season per Pro Football Focus, but his impressive blocking did not help his overall player grade of 46.9.

This is a pivotal minicamp for Walford to demonstrate that he has improved in areas of need. Should he fail to impress, he could fall from the No. 1 TE in Oakland, all the way down to No. 3 behind new Raiders tight end Jared Cook and Lee Smith.

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Photo via Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group

No. 2, Marquel Lee

Raiders rookie linebacker Marquel Lee is expected to be given the task of filling Oakland’s biggest positional need this season. Lee will be expected to compete for the starting inside linebacker position that was previously occupied by former Raiders linebacker Perry Riley Jr.

Despite the Raiders publicly proclaiming LB as a weakness, they waited until the fifth round to address the void.

Lee is expected to battle Raiders linebacker Cory James for the starting position, but James lacks the prototypical size to be a starting inside linebacker.

Therefore, Lee is logically the best choice to play the position.

However, inside linebacker is the quarterback of the defense and requires strong knowledge and instincts, usually tough for a rookie player to acquire. With that being said, Lee must take full advantage of the offseason activities to prepare himself to take over the role.

If he doesn’t prove he is capable, then Raiders coach Jack Del Rio will never feel comfortable turning the defense over to Lee.

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No. 1, Sean Smith

Raiders cornerback Sean Smith might have been the most criticized Oakland player last season.

He signed a monster four-year $38 million deal last offseason, yet seemed to get burned deep at least once a week in 2016.

The Raiders understood that the corner position was a major weakness and drafted Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley. If Conley transitions nicely and can play on the outside, then Smith could easily be expendable if his worth isn’t shown.

Oakland already has reliable nickel corner TJ Carrie and outside cornerback David Amerson.

Therefore, Smith will need to show the staff that he is worth the millions of dollars that they paid him last year. If he doesn’t, he could easily be cut in the near future.

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Raiders’ Ken Norton on secondary: ‘Lots of guys who are very good’

Photo via AP Images

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The Oakland Raiders secondary last season was amongst the worst in the league giving up 257.5 passing yards per game (No. 24), a big reason for them using their first round draft pick on Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley.

When asked about Conley, Raiders coach Ken Norton Jr. mentioned that “Conley is one of the guys out there really competing,” via Oakland’s press release. However, there is no guarantee that he will get a starting position in the slot, for “there are a lot of guys who are very good” competing against Conley for the starting nickel position.

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Last year, it was apparent Oakland did not have the talent nor the scheme necessary to be good in the back-end of the defense. Now, they added talent with Conley and get to have Raiders cornerback Sean Smith entering his second season with the team. Hopefully, the second season under Norton will help Smith improve with more knowledge of the defense.

Overall, it is good to see and hear that Oakland has a talented secondary. All they need to do now is put it together on the field by competing during each rep at practice. If they do that, the defense will be drastically improved en route to another playoff berth and lengthy postseason run.