The Raiders and Smith (suspension) agreed to a two-year contract Monday, the team's official site reports.
In the midst of a one-year suspension for another violation of the NFL's policy for substances of abuse, Smith will remain where he spent the first nine games of the 2015 season, when he contributed 3.5 sacks among 28 tackles to the Raiders' pass rush. It remains to be seen whether he'll be strictly contained to a one-year ban, as the commissioner's office has been known to do their due diligence once a suspended player applies for reinstatement. Depending on further adjustments made to the defense in the offseason, free-agent addition Bruce Irvin appears set to man strongside linebacker in the meantime.
Walford (knee) will likely be cleared before training camp, ESPN's Adam Caplan reports.
Walford is sitting out the first round of OTAs after injuring his knee in an offseason ATV accident. He may miss out on a few reps, but he should still have every opportunity to push for an increased role, likely at the expense of Mychal Rivera. The 2015 third-rounder caught 28 passes for 329 yards and three scores on 51 targets as a rookie; Rivera had 32 receptions for 280 yards and a touchdown on 46 targets.
Ball (knee) is "doing everything" and expected to be "ready to roll" for the offseason program by Raiders' GM Reggie McKenzie.
Ball emerged in Week 5 of last season by holding Denver TE Owen Daniels without a catch on five targets. The performance earned him his first career start versus San Diego in Week 6, but shortly into the game he suffered a knee sprain and was ruled out by halftime. Ball will serve as depth for an imposing Raiders' outside linebacking corps in 2016 behind Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Malcolm Smith and perhaps Aldon Smith (suspension), should he return in November.
Reece has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs, CSN Bay Area reports.
Reece, who will sit out Sunday's season finale against the Chiefs, is thus eligible to return to action after the Raiders' third game of the 2016 season. In the meantime, he can participate in all of the team's offseason and preseason practices and games.
Amendola, who underwent an offseason procedure on his left knee, as well as a procedure to remove bone spurs from his ankle, relayed Tuesday that he feels "really good" at this stage, ESPN.com reports.
The wideout noted that he "had a couple minor procedures done after the season," with an eye toward heading into the upcoming season "feeling as fresh and ready as (he) can." Amendola's latest comments seem to reinforce the notion previously put forth that his injuries were "minor" and "not a long-term" concern. Though he didn't participate in the Patriots spring practices, and his status for the start of training camp is unclear, Amendola's Week 1 availability does not seem to be in danger at this time.
As training camp approaches, ESPN's Mike Reiss suggests that Blount (hip) "bears watching as it relates to his roster status."
Blount, who didn't practice with his teammates this spring as he bounces back from hip woes, is back with the Patriots on a team-friendly one-year deal, so as long as he is able to re-prove his health in camp, we suspect that he'll have a solid shot to reclaim his role as the team's top "big back." If Blount ends up being slowed at all, or injuries impact the Patriots' backfield depth in general as the summer rolls along, it remains possible that team could elect to add further competition to the mix, thus making Blount's status worth monitoring in the coming weeks.
Butler missed the Pro Bowl due to a sprained knee, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports. "There was a play on third down [in the AFC championship game] when I made a tackle or something like that and bent my knee back," Butler said Friday in San Francisco. "It swelled up pretty bad. I didn't feel it during the game because of all the adrenaline pumping. When we got back, it swelled up pretty bad, and the team just decided it was a good thing to sit me out."
Butler became instantly famous with his game-winning interception of Russell Wilson in last year's Super Bowl, and the loss of Darrelle Revis in free agency elevated him to the Patriots' No. 1 cornerback. The pseudo promotion worked wonders, as Butler notched 67 tackles (56 solo), 15 passes defended, and two interceptions while regularly drawing the opponent's top wide receiver over the course of his second campaign. While his recovery effort won't include surgery, rest and regular icing sessions have been his regimen to date.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald suggests that Dobson "was the most productive receiver on the field" during the Patriots' recent minicamp.
Of course, that assessment must be absorbed with the knowledge that key wideouts Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have not been able to practice, but it's nonetheless encouraging to hear that a healthy Dobson has made a good impression to date in advance of training camp. With newcomer Chris Hogan and draftee Malcolm Mitchell presumably locked into roles with the Patriots in 2016, Dobson will need to contend with the likes of Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington, Chris Harper, Devin Lucien and DeAndre Carter for slotting on the team's crowded wideout depth chart.
Though Edelman is progressing in his recovery from a Jones fracture in his left foot, he remains unsure when he'll be full-go on the field, the Boston Herald reports.
That said, per the report, things are "trending in the right direction" for the wideout, who noted Saturday that he's "feeling a day better than yesterday" and "feeling a second better than the last second." At this stage, the expectation is that Edelman will be available when the Patriots play in Week 1, though with QB Tom Brady set to serve a four-game suspension to start the season, Edelman and the rest of the team's receiving corps are on track to catch passes out of the gate from Jimmy Garoppolo.
Lewis (knee) participated in Monday's voluntary OTAs, ESPN.com reports.
While Lewis' level of participation was not specified, it was notably his first appearance at practice since undergoing surgery in November to repair a torn ACL. Assuming no setbacks, it would appear as though Lewis has a good shot to be healthy in advance of Week 1, at which time he'd presumably work in tandem with power back LeGarrette Blount. Meanwhile, Brandon Bolden, Donald Brown, James White, Tyler Gaffney and D.J. Foster are in line to jostle for depth slotting in the team's backfield.
Williams tore his left ACL during Wednesday's practice and he'll likely be placed on Injured Reserve, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reports.
As expected, Williams' injury was a serious one as he was seen on crutches Thursday awaiting the unfortunate results. This ensures Clay Harbor's spot as the No. 3 option at tight end behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett heading into the 2016 season, as Williams enters a long road to recovery.
Brady announced Friday he is no longer proceeding with the legal process regarding his involvement in "Deflategate", ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Brady's request for a second hearing was denied by the Second U.S. District Court of Appeals on Wednesday, leaving the star quarterback with little optimism that his four-game suspension would ever be overturned. Without appealing to the Supreme Court, Brady will be sidelined while Jimmy Garoppolo leads the Patriots' offense for the beginning of the season. Expect Brady to be back on the field when New England takes on the Browns in a Week 5 matchup.