Oakland Raiders: Possible 2015 Free Agency Scenarios

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Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end B.J. Raji (90) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

B.J. Raji

One situation that is incredibly possible, even outright probable, would be the acquisition of B.J. Raji from the Green Bay Packers. Obviously, Reggie McKenzie has close ties to the Packers organization and many of the tenured players in Green Bay, a huge factor in his signing of the very productive James Jones this past offseason. The idea of Raji to Oakland was first floated early in the 2014 free agency period, but Raji remained in Green Bay for 2014, which has been disastrous for him: in the preseason game against the Raiders, Raji tore his bicep, ending his season before it could begin.

Raji, who has spent time as a 3-4 end but is more naturally a nose tackle, would be a perfect acquisition for Reggie McKenzie. Despite being a former Pro Bowler who is just 29 years of age, Raji is coming off a season-ending injury this year and a very sub-par 2013 season, and will likely be available for peanuts. He also won’t be the kind of player the Raiders need to lean on, since they have the developing Justin Ellis as well as the veteran Pat Sims to play the nose tackle spot. Instead, he will be part of a deep defensive line rotation, another massive body to both spell and mentor “Jelly” Ellis and be part of short-yardage packages. If he plays up toward his ceiling, at the level he played at in 2010 and 2011, he could transform the Raider defense, clogging running gaps in the interior, eating up blockers, and pushing the pocket in the pass game. If he doesn’t, he could still be a very serviceable tackle in a deep rotation, keeping Ellis and Sims fresh. Either way, he’ll likely do it for not a lot of money.

While many casual fans are in love with the idea of big-name free agent acquisitions, Reggie McKenzie has shown that he’s much more of a free agent pragmatist than Al Davis, and if he continues to run the show, it’s likely that the Raiders will continue doing low-risk deals with veteran role-players rather than throwing a ton of money at boom-or-bust stars. So while Raider fans will likely be clamoring for the Ndamukong Suh’s of the world, it is more likely we will see the B.J. Raji’s in Silver and Black next season. While this isn’t as exciting, it will free up cap space down the road for when the Raiders need to re-sign the franchise players that Reggie McKenzie has drafted and will continue to draft.