Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders early offseason lookahead: Back to the Bay With Rory Anderson


Back to the Bay with Rory Anderson is a weekly column from Just Blog Baby Podcast cohost Rory Anderson. For more of Rory’s Raiders analysis tune into the Just Blog Baby Podcast on blogtalkradio.com/JustBlogBaby

With the way the recent weeks have worked out with the column and the overwhelming amount of tweets I have gotten recently regarding offseason additions, I want to take this week and look towards the offseason. First I want to put out a list of free agents that the Raiders should or would go after, their projected contracts, what it is based on, and how it is structured. Following that I will dive into some rookie scouting reports of players I find interesting and could fit for the Raiders. The Raiders will be going into next offseason with 70 million dollars in cap space and a new collective bargaining agreementAll contract numbers are based on www.overthecap.com

Free Agent Wish List

QBs

Josh Freeman: 2 years 5 million based off Kyle Orton’s 3.5 million per year. If Freeman were to join the Raiders it would be as a veteran backup role to “compete” but mostly help groom the young Raiders quarterbacks. This probably would only happen if the Raiders traded Pryor during the draft and felt like they were not going to get appropriate value for a quarterback in the draft.

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings: 1 year 1.5 million. With little real consistent precedence for this contract and considering Jennings’ age, the Raiders would most likely just want to put Jennings on a year by year contract basis and draft at least one running back late in this draft.

Maurice Jones-Drew: 3 years 12 million dollars, 6 million guaranteed. First year 6 million dollars all guaranteed. MJD is a local guy who went to De La Salle high school and has a lot of family around the Bay Area. He is aging with a significant mileage on him, but because he has multiple talents he could be a valuable addition to a young committee backfield.

Toby Gerhart: 4 years 12 million dollars, 4 million guaranteed, based off Michael Bush contract. First year 4 million dollars all guaranteed. Toby would be another big body back that could be a solid role player in a committee. He played his college football at Stanford and could be had for a relatively minimal cost to add some young but veteran presence to the offense.
WRs

Eric Decker: 5 years 40 million dollars, 16 million guaranteed, based on Victor Cruz contract. Front load contract with guaranteed money and high salary. I am not very high on the idea of paying a free agent wide receiver especially after the Javon Walker ordeal, but if Reggie McKenzie were to do it, this is the guy I would go after. He is big, physical, fast enough, and runs precise routes. He is everything Reggie Values in a wide receiver and could be a God send for a young guy like Rod Streater. I would prefer drafting a wide receiver in the first two rounds of the draft since the talent is extremely deep this year.

Tight End 

Jimmy Graham: 6 years 55 million dollars, 25 million guaranteed with injury clauses, based on Gronkowski contract. First two years contain 25 million dollars all guaranteed and the last four with 30 million dollars. This may seem crazy, but Jimmy Graham is VERY likely to hit free agency this offseason. The Saints are slated to have 135 million dollars in payments to players already under contract with only 42 players actually signed. The biggest cap savings they will get is from cutting Will Smith, but even with that 11 million freed up they will only have around 2 million in cap space, while needing around 18 million to sign Jimmy Graham and their draft picks, not to mention any potential free agents they may need. If they cut Evans, Harper, Greer, Moore, Sproles, and Thomas would open up about 17 million dollars, but they would be decimated. The Saints are walking into cap hell and will need some major cap tricks to keep Graham and with the money the Raiders have they can pay top dollar for him if they choose.

Tackle

Jared Veldheer: 5 years 35 million dollars 11 million dollars guaranteed, based on Jermon Bushrod contract. Veldheer needs to be resigned by the Raiders and he has said that his agent and the Raiders are in contract talks. There is a chance that with the Raiders’ deep pockets they overpay a little, but this is a great comparable contract to base our expectations on.

Michael Oher: 4 years 24 million dollars 10 million guaranteed, based off Louis Vazquez contract. If the Raiders were to go after Oher he would be an ideal guard potentially with also having experience at the position. Adding him at this reasonable cost would add solidify this offensive line with mostly young players.

Guard
Jon Asamoah: 4 years 24 million dollars 10 million guaranteed, based off Louis Vazquez contract. Same thing as Oher.

Center

Alex Mack: 4 years 25 million dollars 12 million guaranteed, based off Max Unger contract. If the Raiders were to bring in Mack they would most likely play him at guard or preferably play Wizniewski at guard instead.

Brian De La Puente: 4 years 16 million dollars 8 million guaranteed, based on Brisiel contract. Same though process as Mack, but just a lesser player.

Defensive End 

Lamarr Houston: 5 years 40 million dollars 15 million dollars guaranteed, based on Carlos Dunlap contract. Front load the contract with guarantees in the first two years. Dunlap has the same agent as Houston (Drew Rosenhaus) which means they have the template for it, but it could also be difficult. I expect this contract to be completed before free agency starts, but the Raiders may over pay slightly.

Michael Bennett: 4 years 24 million dollars 10 million guaranteed, based on Brian Robison contract. Bennett is a versatile pass rusher and is able to get pressure both inside and out and could be a great chip for Jason Tarver to utilize in this hybrid scheme.

Defensive Tackle

Pat Sims and Vance Walker: 3 years 12 million dollars, 6 million guaranteed, based on Sammie Lee Hill contract. Both of these guys have similar statistics and impact which makes sense to have similar contracts. Both of these guys should be very affordable and probably not attract too many suitors and although they have played well, neither is a necessity.

Linebackers

Brian Orakpo: 5 years 40 million dollars, 20 million guaranteed, based on Paul Kruger contract. Front load first two years with 22 million dollars with only 18 million left for final three seasons. This is the only linebacker I think Reggie would be interested because of his versatility and health. Because of his size he can not only play 34 OLB, but also a 43 DE which would fit the hybrid scheme perfectly.

Anthony Spencer: 1 year 5 million dollars, all guaranteed. This is pure speculation. I am not sold that Spencer would be a target for this team, but he can do all things Orakpo can, but coming off of a serious injury I think he gets some Cliff Avril treatment with a medium pay one or two year contract.
Corners

Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter: 3 years 15 million dollars, 6 million guaranteed, based on Sean Smith contract. Similar to the defensive tackles, both of these players have had similar seasons and do not necessarily garner huge contracts. These are veterans that get the job done and fit specific roles that will help DJ Hayden learn for the future.

Safety

Charles Woodson: 1 year 1.8 million dollars with 2 million in incentives. Charles has had issues this season but if the Raiders want him back he will likely be signed for a similar amount.

Usama Young: 2 years 2 million dollars. Essentially a two year extension for the same amount of money.

Jairus Byrd: 5 years 35 million dollars, based on Michael Griffin contract. The Raiders will be looking for an impact player in the deep middle that can pick the ball off and if they pass on bringing back Woodson then this is a possibility.

Scouting Reports

Derek Carr: Ever since Carr’s injury in 2012 he has seemed scared versus a pass rush although he has done well to clean up much of that problem. He still has a tendency to throw off his back foot, although he also displays deadly accuracy on throws which tend to float. This mechanical issue can be worked on and is common in college quarterbacks from pass dependent schools. He changes his throwing angle well and can make every NFL throw. What needs to be seen is how well he makes checks at the line and a further growth in his progressions. Coming from a spread system he is limited in the reads he has to make. Someone will fall in love with Carr at the beginning of the first round, but that may be overvaluing him.

Sammy Watkins: Explosive, precise routes, finds a hole in the zone, decent blocker on the perimeter, and exceptional hands. What is most impressive about Watkins is his history with running the most complex routes and his ability to find the soft spots in the zone defense. He has solid leaping ability and is strong enough to break tackles in the open field.

Mike Evans: Big, strong, physical, blocks out defenders well, but has limited experience with a full route tree. What worries me most about Evans is how he has a tendency to disappear at times for whole games. His lack of separation is no issue since it is pretty common with receivers his size and he uses his body so well to go and get the ball at the point.

Davonte Adams: Adams is a bit of a hybrid receiver. He has size and can use his body to block out and attack the ball, but he is not quite as large as Evans and he has greater separation. What is a concern is his consistency with his hands and his limited routes. He has played against some limited competition and blown them out, but he will have to learn how to read what the defense is doing to be successful.

Anthony Barr: Barr is fast, agile, can bend the edge in pass rush, and is strong at the point of attack in the run game. He is new to the position and occasionally loses his leverage but his strength keeps him in every play. What does separate him from a prospect like Dion Jordan is his pass rush moves such as a strong swim and developing spin move. He has the speed to cover man to man although he needs to work on his zone coverage.

Trent Murphy: Murphy is not a dynamic pass rusher but he is consistent and persistent. He is a grinder in the trenches and can be a solid tweener or develop into a complete 43 defensive end. He keeps leverage well and maintains his lane well at the point of attack. What he lacks in explosiveness he makes up for in intelligence and is always around the ball.

Khalil Mack: Fast, explosive, intelligent pass rusher that would make an ideal 34 outside linebacker. He does not face the best competition, but he did record 2 sacks and a pick six against the Buckeyes, although both sacks came from rushing the RT not the LT. He has a solid swim move, but lacks a second move whether it is a swim or counter.

Gabe Jackson: Mauler, strong, quick enough to get to the second level, great at point of attack, but his feet are a little slow in pass protection. Not a great pulling guard but can be effective in any scheme.

Louis Nix: Nix reminds me of Haloti Ngata. He has a quick first step and penetrates well, but it not necessarily a true pass rusher. He can lose leverage at times by getting high at times, but he is so strong he can fight through it. He consistently demands a double team and usually gets through them. He can be a solid anchor up front in the middle of a defensive line especially against a run, but he will not record many sacks unless a stout outside pass rush can force the quarterback to step up into the pocket.

Vic Beasley: Beasley is slightly undersized but he bends the edge exceptionally well. He lacks real pass rush moves, but his style is to get around blockers not go through them. He is similar to James Harrison in that way. He can be a very solid 34 outside linebacker although he will have to continue to get better at the point of attack against the run.

Jace Amaro: Decent enough blocker that is by far the best pass catching tight end in this draft. He operates best out of the slot with a free release and is a pass catching machine. He can be deadly in the middle of the field and blocks out defensive backs well.

Justin Gilbert: Quick feet, loose hips, solid in both man and zone, but rarely does press coverage and he does not get his hands on his receiver early.

Jason Verrett: Primarily an off man or zone corner that tackles well in the open field, has solid speed, and is a natural playmaker. He is a solid pass defender and knows how to make plays on the ball.

Ra’shede Hagemon: Pure penetrator and 3 technique in the Warren Sapp mold. His feet are not that fast, but he does well with a bull rush and a basic swim move. He has quick feet and consistently beats his man off the line of scrimmage. He tackles well in the open field and is a quality run defender.

Zach Mettenberger: Big arm, quick release, clean mechanics, but seems to lock in a single receiver at times. He comes from a pro system that requires him to work through some limited progressions and he is accurate downfield. Reminds me of Joe Flacco but with more consistent accuracy. If he can show he clearly understands defenses and can continue to be consistent against the blitz then he can be a solid quarterback. His anticipation is not where it needs to be and at times his receivers bail him out, but overall he is a solid talent.

Marqise Lee: Quicker than he is fast, and explosive off the snap. He is a fabulous boundary receiver and knows how to get open. He runs precise routes and operated in a pro-style offense. He understands the route tree and how to read basic coverages.

CJ Mosley: Mosley is a thumper inside. He has great instincts, has a nose for the ball, and tackles very well. He is explosive off the snap and can blitz well. Typical for 34 ILB he can be a liability in pass coverage, but he certainly makes up for it with the presence he has against the run. Mosley is a very solid defender and has the speed and range to play in either a 34 or a 43 as a mike or sam linebacker.

Allen Robinson: Robinson is a prolific pass catcher that knows how to get open and comes from a complex pro-style offense that has multiple reads and allows for a receiver to adjust his route based on the coverage. Robinson runs great routes and is very quick. His downfield speed is not exceptional, but because he gets such solid separation and moves so well in tight spaces, he generally has a head of steam built up and is not caught from behind. Robinson has immense upside and is quickly turning into one of my favorite receivers in this year’s draft.

Calvin Pryor: This is my second favorite safety in this draft. He is a great tackler although at times he tends to go for the big hit not the safe tackle. He is also a dynamic playmaker and has solid hands. He can work in man coverage against tight ends and backs and is a solid combination of size and speed.

Kyle Van Noy: Quick, explosive, penetrator off the edge and a very solid tackler. He can play both in a 34 or a 43 as a sam but preferably a will linebacker. His pass rushing ability is primarily based on speed and he hasn’t shown any well-developed rush moves. He can lose leverage and get pushed around at the point of attack due to his lack of size, but generally does well taking on blocks. He is a decent coverage linebacker, but his primary job is as an attacker.

Melvin Gordon: Explosive and quick but not dazzling speed. He makes quick cutz and moves well in open space to create running lanes. He is strong and breaks tackles well. He is by far the best running back in this class, but I highly doubt he will be a first round draft pick.

Lache Seastrunk: Generally gets what is provided to him by his blockers. Has the speed to reach the outside but up the middle he breaks few tackles. Most of his big runs come from huge running lanes and he does little to nothing to make them happen. He is a typical spread running back and his numbers are deceiving.

Shane Skov: Absolute thumper inside, but has some decent pass rush and blitzing ability. He is fundamentally sound and a solid tackler. He is intelligent with solid instincts so he is always around the ball. He can play both inside and outside in any scheme. He has the speed to be a decent coverage linebacker in man coverage but his zone drops need some work.

Ka’Deem Carey: Carey is a physical inside runner that creates his own yardage from broken tackles and has the speed to get to the outside if needed. He has a solid stiff arm and he is a decent pass protector. Unlike most spread running backs he doesn’t need a gaping hole from his offensive line or the scheme for him to be productive. He is an all-around talent and can also make some key plays in the screen game.

Deone Buchanon: This is my favorite safety in the draft at this time. He can rush the passer on the blitz; he has the size to stop the run and tackles well. What he does best is make plays in the defensive backfield. He is solid in both sorts of coverages and has the size speed combination to defend tight ends and running backs. He could easily command the defensive backfield and be a leader while making great interceptions and other plays.

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Tags: Back To The Bay Free Agency Oakland Raiders

  • mccall316

    Great in depth article. I really enjoyed this. Raiders must resign Veldheer and I think they will. I thought Houston already signed a long term contract. The only thing I’m not sold on is bringing both Jenkins and Porter back. Porter has been good but there has to be someone else out there then those two. The dream scenario for me as a Raider fan would be to land Alex Mack in free agency. He is the guy I want the most. The o-line would be left tackle Veldheer, Brisiel, Mack, Wiz and Watson with Barnes on an island no where near the playing field. Graham isn’t likely to come over from the Saints and would most likely go where he can continue winning and get paid. No to Jones Drew and yes to Gerhart. I think he can be a nice player with Jennings. Murray is still on the roster so he can play next year too. The draft land Barr if he is there. The kid is very gifted and is still learning. He isn’t a Gholston either. If he is gone, then Watkins it is. No to Derek Carr, that gene pool is tainted. If you want a quarterback to bring in out of the draft why not Aaron Murray? Why is no one talking about him? He did a great job with a squad that was riddled with injuries including his own torn acl. You mention Mettenberger but he is also down with a torn acl. Raiders may have Pryor, McGloin and Wilson but adding a guy to the mix in a later round isn’t all bad. I’m not sold on Pryor, although have the media seems to be, and McGloin has shown flashes but he is never going to be the man.

  • Ricky Bobby

    Yeah, in one’s dreamworld these players would be available, then we wake up and see we only have DA and his boi toi MM. SMH.