By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 10:36 am in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders needed a roster spot to make room for the return of suspended middle linebacker Rolando McClain on Monday. The casualty turned out to be veteran cornerback Ron Bartell.
The Raiders also waived veteran fullback Owen Schmitt and signed cornerback Chimdi Chekwa from their practice squad to take Schmitt’s place on the 53-man roster.
McClain’s two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team ended Monday, which forced the Raiders to make a roster move.
Practice begins in less than an hour. At that time, we’ll see if McClain is back on the field. Head coach Dennis Allen isn’t here today because he is in Texas for the funeral of his father.
McClain isn’t required to rejoin the team until he meets with Allen, which won’t happen today. Allen said he will address McClain’s situation upon his return.
The waiving of Bartell signifies the end of the line for the second of the two veteran cornerbacks signed by general manager Reggie McKenzie in the offseason to take the place of jettisoned starters Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson.
Shawntae Spencer is the other cornerback signed by McKenzie in the hope of finding better options than Routt and Johnson. Spencer played in two games before suffering what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury. He is on injured reserve.
Bartell’s release clears the way for Phillip Adams to get more playing time. He has two interceptions in the past two games in a backup role, including one of Denver’s Peyton Manning on Thursday night.
The Raiders blew out all of their cornerbacks from last season’s roster. As of now, they are without Bartell, Spencer and Pat Lee and faced with the prospect of making over that position in the offseason once again.
If the Raiders welcome back McClain and allow him to play the final three games, it’s likely with the intent of keeping him long enough to see if they can acquire a draft pick in a trade in the offseason.
That makes perfect sense, though it’s not a sure thing that another team will take on a player that hasn’t done much of note in his first three NFL seasons. It’s worth a shot, though, rather than waiving him now and not getting anything in return.
Recently signed Jamize Olawale likely will get a shot to show what he can do at fullback in the final three games now that Schmitt is gone. The Raiders signed Olawale from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad last week.