The Winter Report: Patient Raiders Begin Making Moves

Doug Martin Oakland Raiders

The 2018 NFL season has officially begun with trade and free agent reports and rumors running amok. The official start of the NFL year has been fast and furious – and expensive.

Scott Winter Las Vegas Raiders Report

The Winter Report

With rumors flying faster than most scribes can keep up with, there has been some movement on the Oakland Raiders roster – including the loss of free agents. Cornerback T.J. Carrie (Cleveland Browns) and defensive tackle Denico Autry (Indianapolis Colts) have signed with other teams. Both players performed well during their careers in the silver and black and you can hardly blame them for cashing in during what has been a wild free agency market.

What about Raiders targets?

Former Green Bay Packer wide receiver Jordy Nelson made a visit to Raiders team headquarters yesterday and left without a new contract. However, Nelson did stay the night in the Bay Area and was seen back in Alameda this morning. Indications are  Nelson is going to be a the Raiders newest receiver. What we haven’t heard yet is the fate of Michael Crabtree.  Reports going back as far as last December have the Raiders moving on from Crabtree, something Ian Rapoport reiterated today.

Reports also point to the Raiders are closing in on former Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Melvin quietly had a stand out year last year with the Colts before being sidelined by a hand injury. Should Oakland land the 28-year old Melvin, he appears to be worth the gamble if he comes at the right price for Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders are not alone in targeting Melvin as other teams are gunning for the talented back.

Are Raiders Being Patient? Or Missing the Boat?

Doug Martin Oakland Raiders

Doug Martin is reportedly coming to Oakland on a one-year “prove” it type deal.

The Raiders have been relatively quiet with the Nelson talks the only official “big name” free agent linked to the club. The Raiders did tender all their restricted free agents and are bringing back both defensive tackle Justin Ellis and tight end Lee Smith. Still no word on linebacker NaVarro Bowman who is currently testing the market despite the Raiders indicating resigning him was a priority.

Activity over the past few hours has picked up for Oakland. The Raiders have reportedly landed running back Doug Martin per Ian Rapoport.

Signing Martin could mean the end of running back Marshawn Lynch’s stay in Oakland. Martin comes in on a one year “prove it” deal. Lynch has a cap hit of $5.9 million this year. A decision on Lynch also has to be made by Saturday, March 18th due to his $1 million dollar roster bonus.

Not Idle on Defense Either

The Raiders are not being idle here though per Adam Schefter:


Gilchrist can play either free safety or strong safety. This could precipitate moving defensive back Obi Melifonwu to a nickel or dime back,and bringing in a veteran to pair with safety Karl Joseph.

With money to spend – but not a ton – it appears the Raiders are being patient. They have some cap ammunition, but they are being very selective on whom they spend it on. They are still in the market for a 3tech type defensive tackle, and could target a safety as well. To make that happen, the team would have to release a player or two if they really want to still make a splash at those positions. While the Raiders are long shots, don’t entirely rule them out of at least kicking the tires on Ndamukong Suh or Tyrann Mathieu.

McKenzie will probably put the team’s checkbook away quickly when he sees the price tag. More than likely, the Raiders will look for more affordable players at those positions.

On Rumors…

One thing of note.

There are a lot of reports and rumors that you’ll read about this time of year that just don’t pan out. Media outlets are getting good information, but free agency is extremely fluid. This leads to rumored moves that don’t come to fruition. Add in savvy agents who peddle inside information to create news on their client, and folks have to be leery until deals are finalized.

It’s also well-known teams will strategically leak information to find leaks from within their ranks. It’s a big business and owners and staff move to protect themselves from people who speak out on inside information.

Edit: Raiders release Michael Crabtree per Adam Schefter.