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Raiders decline fifth-year option on DJ Hayden; he’ll become unrestricted free agent in 2017

ALAMEDA _ The Raiders declined a fifth-year option Monday on cornerback DJ Hayden,  making the 2013 first-round draft pick a free agent in 2017.

If the Raiders had exercised the option, Hayden, as the No. 12 pick in the first round, would have earned just over $8 million for the 2017 season. The Raiders made no announcement but a source familiar with the situation confirmed Hayden’s name was not submitted to the NFL as having been retained for a fifth year.

Hayden played in all 16 games for the first time in 2015, starting 13, with one interception and eight passes defensed. He has played in 34 games over three seasons with 23 starts and three interceptions after being the Raiders’ top pick out of Houston.

This season, in what will be a contract year, Hayden will likely compete with Neiko Thorpe to be the third cornerback behind free agent acquisition Sean Smith and 2015 surprise David Amerson, who was claimed on waivers from Washington and was the Raiders’ top cornerback.

 

 

 

 

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3,540

What they’re saying: Evaluating Raiders’ draft class

The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders drafted seven players — one in each round after dealing their own fifth-round pick — over the three days of this weekend’s NFL Draft.

It started with safety Karl Joseph on Thursday, continued with DE Jihad Ward, LB Shilique Calhoun, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington, LB Cory James and OL Vadal Alexander over the next two days.

The draft addressed two of the most pressing needs by grabbing a starting safety and a change of pace running back. The Ward pick will have to be evaluated later to see if he can make an immediate impact — you need that from a second round pick. Calhoun seems like a nice addition as an extra pass rusher. Cook could give you a decent backup quarterback and somebody to step in if something were to happen to Derek Carr, James is probably going to be a special teams player who may see the field on defense if he develops quickly and Alexander is good value in the seventh round. That’s my view, but let’s take a look at what the national media is saying. Continue Reading

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1,168

Raiders have impending decision on DJ Hayden

The Raiders have until Monday to decide on exercising D.J. Hayden's fifth-year option. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The Raiders have until Monday to decide on exercising D.J. Hayden’s fifth-year option. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The Raiders must decide by Monday if they will pick up the fifth-year contract option on cornerback D.J. Hayden.

In all actuality, it’s not much of a decision. The Raiders would owe Hayden $8.026 million if they exercised the option to lock him up for the 2017 season. If they decline, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent following the 2016 season.

Hayden’s productive level as the team’s 2012 first-round pick has come nowhere near matching even the nearly $3.3 million he’s slated to receive this year so an $8 million option is almost assuredly off the table. Continue Reading

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55

NFL Draft: Getting to know the Raiders’ Day 3 picks

Michigan State's Connor Cook was the Raiders fourth round pick.

Michigan State’s Connor Cook was the Raiders fourth round pick.

Connor Cook

Round (overall): Fourth round (No. 100)

College: Michigan State

Position: Quarterback

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-4/220

College highlights: 2015 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winning, Big Ten Quarterback of the Year and All-Big Ten first-team selection. Career record as a starter of 34-5 and went 2-0 in Big Ten championship games. Michigan State’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (71), passing yards (9,194) and total offense (9,403). Continue Reading

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1,036

Raiders cap draft with versatile OL Vadal Alexander

The Raiders took OL Vadal Alexander in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. (LSU Athletics photo)

The Raiders took OL Vadal Alexander in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. (LSU Athletics photo)

The Raiders wrapped Day 3 of the NFL draft by selecting offensive lineman Vadal Alexander of Louisiana State in the seventh round.

The 6-foot-6, 329-pound Alexander was the 234th overall pick and a player who came into the week projected as high as a second- or third-round pick.

“I’m surprised I lasted this long,” Alexander said. “It’s something I wasn’t expecting, but God has a plan. I’m a firm believer in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Everything happens for a reason in my mind, but I absolutely am surprised that I lasted this long.” Continue Reading

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873

UPDATED: Raiders draft Colorado State linebacker Cory James in sixth round

The Raiders took linebacker Cory James in the sixth round. (The Denver Post/ Andy Cross)

The Raiders took linebacker Cory James in the sixth round. (The Denver Post/ Andy Cross)

The Raiders grabbed a linebacker in the sixth round, taking Colorado State’s Cory James with the No. 194 pick.

James spent part of his senior season as a middle linebacker, but it was his role as a pass-rushing outside linebacker that he had more success with 22 sacks in his first three seasons. James had two sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 65 tackles last season while playing in the middle.

“I feel like that versatility really helped, even with special teams,” James said on a media conference call. “I have pretty decent speed, so I feel like on special teams I could help the Raiders out.” Continue Reading

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1,177

UPDATED: Raiders grab running back DeAndre Washington in fifth round

The Raiders hope to have found their backup running back in Texas Tech's DeAndre Washington. (Texas Tech athletics photo)

The Raiders hope to have found their backup running back in Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington. (Texas Tech athletics photo)

The Raiders addressed their need for a reserve running back by taking Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington in the fifth round Saturday.

The 5-foot-8, 204-pound Washington rushed for 1,492 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Red Raiders, plus caught 41 passes for 385 yards in Tech’s pass happy offense.

“We actually ran the ball quite a bunch,” Washington said on a media conference call. “Playmakers make plays at the end of the day. I’m excited to be a part of this Oakland offense and look forward to doing big things.” Continue Reading

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558

Raiders’ fourth-round pick Connor Cook demonstrates McKenzie’s commitment to future over present

The Raiders (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

The Raiders took a look at building for the future by drafting quarterback Connor Cook. (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

ALAMEDA —  Were the Raiders’ first draft pick on Day 3 to ever step on the field this season, it would signify the end of their playoff hopes and aspirations.

If more evidence was needed to show that general manager Reggie McKenzie views the draft as a mechanism for building toward the future as much as fortifying the present, it arrived quickly Saturday with the selection of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.

In fact, McKenzie did something he has never done in his previous four drafts _ he traded up and lost a draft pick to get someone. In exchange for going up to No. 100 to select a player who will probably be the third quarterback. Continue Reading

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567

UPDATED: Raiders trade up to take QB Connor Cook

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders made a surprising move Saturday, moving up in the draft to take Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook with the second pick of the fourth round.

Oakland is well set at quarterback with starter Derek Carr, but Cook provides them a potential backup of value after Cook dropped into the third day of the draft.

The Raiders swapped their fourth round pick (No. 114) and one of their fifth rounders (No. 154) with Cleveland to move up to the No. 100 overall pick. That moved them one spot ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, who were believed to be interested in Cook.  Continue Reading

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1,050

What they’re saying: Mixed reviews for Raiders on Day 2

The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders' third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders’ third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The Raiders took a pair of front seven defenders on Day 2 of the draft, picking up Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward in the second round and linebacker/defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third.

The reviews were decent, but it was third-rounder Shilique Calhoun that earned the higher marks over second-rounder Jihad Ward.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke graded the Calhoun pick as an A, writing that he “actually might be better than their second-rounder. Calhoun, without question, is at least as ready as Jihad Ward to produce as a rookie. He is a value here, and he can be a three-down defender. Another chip for the Raiders’ emerging front seven.​” Continue Reading

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