Raiders courting Khalif Barnes and Marvel Smith?

In desperate need of an upgrade at right tackle, the Oakland Raiders could once again be turning to the free agent market to try and shore up the O-line.

After last season’s disastrous signing of the now departed Kwame Harris, the Oakland brass appears to be undeterred by past failures in free agency as rumors abound of their interest in a couple of possible targets. is reporting that the Raiders are among the possible suitors for free agents Khalif Barnes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Marvel Smith of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to the report, the Baltimore Ravens are also looking into rolling the dice on Marvel Smith who is attempting to come back from his second major back surgery in as many years. Barnes is set to meet with the New Orleans Saints and is drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well.

Of the two, Barnes looks to be the safer investment. However, both players have California roots which always factors in on the personnel decisions made by the Raider front office.

As an All-CIF performer at Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, California, Barnes has seen his share of Raider/Charger clashes over the years. The 26 year old Barnes is a former Washington Husky and could be persuaded to come to the Bay Area to play in front of his family and friends annually in one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL.

Marvel Smith is an Oakland native and attended Skyline High where he was a two time All-City selection. Smith is now 30 years of age and represented the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Pro Bowl in 2005. He now must try to convince his possible employers that his back problems are no longer an issue thanks to the two procedures he has undergone in 2007 and 2008.

Mario Henderson emerged as the starter at left tackle last season after Harris proved ineffective. The debate would be who would move to the right side of the line as both Smith and Barnes are left tackles by trade, though Barnes has played as a right tackle.

Cornell Green has started 26 games at right tackle for the Raiders over the past two season including starting all 16 games during the 2008 campaign. Green, a member of the Tampa Bay team that beat the Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl, has been a liability in the passing game and his days as a starter appeared all but over at the end of the regular season.

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Tags: Cornell Green Khalif Barnes Kwame Harris Mario Henderson Marvel Smith

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