Two weeks ago veteran linebacker Jelani Jenkins was with the Raiders and looking like he could start. Next thing you know he was placed on injured reserve and released with an injury settlement. Now after one week of the season he has signed with the Buffalo Bills. How does that happen? I’ll tell ya.
Back on September 2, the Raiders’ final roster cuts were due. On that day, they placed Jenkins on injured reserve. Even at that time, Jenkins knew his time was done in his time was done in Oakland, tweeting out his farewell. Two days later the Jenkins and the Raiders reached an injury settlement.
The rules of an injury settlement are that the player and the team come to an agreement as to how long it will take for the player to recover and the team pays them whatever amount it would cost in game checks to terminate their contract.
The settlement could be for as little as a week, like this one. Designed to help the player to sign with a team as quickly as possible. The catch is they may not re-sign with the team with which they reached the settlement for an additional three weeks. But that wasn’t going to happen anyway.
Jenkins was signed by the Bills, and immediately took the practice field, his coach saying he will be playing outside linebacker. So much for this sudden injury that came out of nowhere.
The 5th year linebacker was by far the most veteran inside linebacker the Raiders had. He was their lone free agent signing last offseason and was looking like he had earned a starting job. But the team opted to go with a group that has a combined two NFL starts — both by 2nd year former 6th round pick Cory James. The others are 2nd year former practice squad player Tyrell Adams (who did not perform well in the first game), rookie fifth round pick Marquel Lee, and undrafted rookies Nicholas Morrow and Xavier Woodson-Luster.
Throughout the offseason the Raiders’ lack of urgency in upgrading the position was puzzling. It seemed downright complacent. Now, unsurprisingly, inside linebacker remains the glaring weak area on a team that has high aspirations.
Good luck to Jenkins in Buffalo. And good luck, Raiders, fielding a consistently competitive defense with their current group of linebackers.