Ru­mors fly­ing un­der the Raiders’ own roof

San Francisco Chronicle - - Sporting Green - By David White Chron­i­cle Staff Writer

The trade ru­mors are cir­cu­lat­ing, the draft gos­sip is spread­ing … and that’s just inside the Raiders’ locker room.

Des­per­ate to see a turn­around af­ter a 2-14 de­ba­cle, play­ers have been won­der­ing among them­selves what those atop the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s lead­er­ship chart should do with the No. 1 over­all pick of the NFL draft come Satur­day morn­ing.

Truth is, they’re not even sure the peo­ple in charge have made a de­ci­sion, even as team of­fi­cials con­tinue con­tract talks with the top three prospects: LSU quar­ter­back JaMar­cus Rus­sell, Ge­or­gia Tech wide re­ceiver Calvin John­son and Notre Dame quar­ter­back Brady Quinn.

“Of course, we” won­der, free safety Stu­art Sch­weigert said. “In the weight room, that’s all we talk about ev­ery day. What we’d like to have hap­pen, what we think is go­ing to hap­pen.

“Right now, who knows? No one does. I don’t know if the coaches know. I don’t even think Al Davis knows yet.”

Lit­tle in­for­ma­tion is leak­ing out­side the closed doors at team head­quar­ters, but on­line and print me­dia re­ports are giv­ing play­ers and fans am­ple fod­der to de­bate.

ESPN.com re­ported Tues­day the Raiders would draft John­son if the Chiefs traded quar­ter­back Trent Green to the Dol­phins, with the ex­pec­ta­tion Mi­ami would cut Daunte Culpep­per, who then could sign with the Raiders.

Pro Foot­ball Talk fol­lowed with a re­port say­ing the Raiders of­fered Quinn a “low­ball” deal, cit­ing a league source Wed­nes­day.

One Raiders source called that ru­mor “doubt­ful” and doesn’t ex­pect the team to sign its choice be­fore the draft. Five of the past No. 1 over­all picks were signed to a con­tract be­fore the draft.

The po­ten­tial leak could be the Raiders’ way of lever­ag­ing a bet­ter deal from Rus­sell or John­son, both of whom could ex­pect up to $30 mil­lion in guar­an­teed money if drafted first.

“Mr. Davis is a very sharp man,” Raiders wide re­ceiver Ron Curry said. “I’m sure he’ll make the right de­ci­sion.”

What­ever that de­ci­sion is, it will have an im­me­di­ate im­pact on Curry and the other re­ceivers.

Among the re­ceivers this off­sea­son, Curry re­ceived a con­tract ex­ten­sion, Alvis Whit­ted was re- signed, Jerry Porter was em­braced by the new coach­ing staff and Randy Moss was not traded, though ru­mors of his de­par­ture to Green Bay will per­sist through draft day.

“What­ever they do is go­ing to af­fect us,” Curry said. “If they go out and pick a wide re­ceiver, what are they go­ing to do with all that tal­ent? Ev­ery­body can’t stay.”

And if they draft a quar­ter­back, as most ex­pect?

“If they get a quar­ter­back, he’s go­ing to be young,” Curry said. “What are we go­ing to be able to do and not be able to do? I do know the top por­tion of (prospects) has tal­ent. I don’t know how you can go wrong with what­ever de­ci­sion they make.”

That is the one thing most play­ers seem to agree on, though the same was said in 2004 when left tackle Robert Gallery, taken sec­ond over­all, was con­sid­ered the safe pick.

“The thing is, you have to be able to come right in and be that dif­fer­ence maker that we need,” Sch­weigert said. “I think all three guys have the abil­ity to … be a play­maker right now.

“It’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing to see who we get.” Ros­ter moves: One wide re­ceiver was re­moved from the equa­tion Wed­nes­day when the Raiders re­leased Leo Book­man.

Be­fore you call it a sign Oak­land is mak­ing room for John­son, re­lax. Book­man was an un­drafted rookie who spent last sea­son on the prac­tice squad.

Oak­land also signed de­fen­sive tackle Josh Shaw and de­fen­sive back Kris Richard. Nei­ther was on an NFL ros­ter last sea­son, with Richard last play­ing for the 49ers in 2005. Ros­ter check: The Raiders will have a manda­tory mini­camp next week­end, the sec­ond of three al­lowed and the first that isn’t vol­un­tary for play­ers.

Two play­ers to watch for are Moss, who has yet to re­scind his trade de­mands, and Pro Bowl de­fense end Der­rick Burgess, who re­port­edly wants a new con­tract af­ter mak­ing two straight Pro Bowls.

Moss and Burgess have not at­tended vol­un­tary work­outs. De­fen­sive tackle War­ren Sapp also did not par­tic­i­pate in the vol­un­tary mini­camp, but was at the fa­cil­ity soon af­ter. E-mail David White at [email protected]­i­cle.com.

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