Report: Cut Raiders CB Smith to get jail time

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders are releasing Sean Smith, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano, amid a report that the cornerback will plead guilty Tuesday to a felony assault charge and be sentenced to one year in prison.

The 30-year-old Smith’s legal issues stem from an incident with his sister’s boyfriend last summer in Pasadena, California. According to the Los Angeles Times, Smith has agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of assault with great bodily injury and will be sentenced to one year in prison and three years of probation.

The Raiders’ move to release Smith saves the Raiders $8.5 million on their salary cap. Entering Monday, Oakland had more than $16.5 million in salary cap space, per ESPN Stats & Information. Smith was due base salaries of $8.25 million in 2018 and $8.75 million in 2019.

After signing a four-year, $38 million free-agent contract with the Raiders in 2016, Smith struggled immediately, getting benched at the New Orleans Saints in the season opener. Last season, he lost his starting job to TJ Carrie before becoming one of the Raiders’ better defenders in the last month-plus of the season.

After Ken Norton, Jr. was replaced as defensive playcaller by John Pagano, Smith was used more to his strengths. Entering the season finale, Smith was ranked eighth in the NFL in passer rating allowed (36.3) among cornerbacks with at least 110 coverage snaps in Weeks 12-16, per Pro Football Focus. This after being 109th in passer rating allowed in Weeks 1-11.

“Nothing has changed on my end,” Smith told ESPN the last week of the season. “I guess I’m just on the field more.”

Smith’s two interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 17 led Oakland, which only had five picks on the year. He said he was only on the field in certain packages early in the season and could not get into the flow of a game as a result.

Smith, who played in 29 games (23 starts) in two seasons with the Raiders, had four interceptions for Oakland and is the second high-priced veteran cornerback released by the Raiders this offseason, joining David Amerson, who was released last month. Amerson later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Oakland is relying on last season’s first-round pick, Gareon Conley, to fill the void at cornerback as he returns from a shin injury that limited him to two games. Plus, Carrie is a free agent.

A veteran of nine seasons, Smith has also played for the Miami Dolphins and Chiefs and has 14 career interceptions, 102 passes defensed and 424 tackles.