November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee (23) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Bound? Willis McGahee Releases Free Agency Shortlist With the Raiders In Top Five

Willis McGahee’s long and up and down career is not ready to have an ending just yet despite being released by the Denver Broncos as they attempt to get younger (despite having one of the oldest quarterbacks in the NFL in Peyton Manning, but whatever) as the former Miami star and sometimes elite running back already has his shortlist, and the Black Hole places in his Top Five.

“I will keep playing. I don’t feel like I have to go out there and say what I have left. I know what I can do. I’m not worried about it. Once I get the opportunity, it will be all good,” McGahee told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “There are a lot of places I wouldn’t mind playing. You got Miami, Dallas, Green Bay, San Diego, Oakland. That’s not necessarily my order of preference, though. All of those teams I mentioned I would go to with no problems.” That quote and Oakland being on it was bound to create ripples around NFL circles given McGahee’s reputation as well as the fact McGahee put two AFC West teams in his Top Five, a sign that any team that gets him will be getting the most motivated and hungry version of a very talented veteran running back possible.

Despite being released by the Broncos, McGahee is not that long removed from being the heart and soul of one of the best running games in the NFL. In 2011, the Broncos set a team record with 164.5 rushing yards per game. McGahee had 1199 yards, 4 TDs, 4.8 yards per carry, and 1 receiving TD in 15 games.

As usual McGahee’s luck quickly turned south due to injuries in 2012, but he says he is healthy now and wants to find a home right away and get back into the mix. A player who has had plus 1,000 yard season in his first year with all three teams he has played for should be one that should be on every General Manager’s wish list.

Yet with a slow to heat up veteran running back market this offseason (Michael Turner, Beanie Wells, Brandon Jacobs, and Cedric Benson are all also out of work as of today) and McGahee’s penchant to break down after a season of heavy workload and his injury problems in 2012 ended his stay in Denver and will likely be what shies GM’s and owners away from him as he looks for a team.

Still the Raiders could give McGahee, or any of the current running backs available a look as they build their running game around the hope that Darren McFadden can stay healthy and play to the flashes of brilliance he shows every so often for an entire season. Still draft pick Latavius Murray and Rashad Jennings were both brought in for the purposes of giving McFadden rest so Reggie McKenzie would have to be really high on a veteran to bring him into the mix as well for training camp.

With those 1,000 yard seasons in his pocket, it couldn’t hurt to give McGahee who is clearly a player who performs well coming into a new environment a chance. A player that is vastly underrated due to his durability problems is the perfect backup for Darren McFadden, and after being humbled by being cut and understanding his role in the league would be a great asset for Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie to bring in.

This is sure to be a developing talking point in the coming day as the Raiders continue on with minicamp and the buzz builds around Oakland being on McGahee’s shortlist.

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