December 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) celebrates after an interception against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Woodson, Et Al.
I could go on and on about the accolades of the G.O.A.T. Charles Woodson. I could do that. It would be fun for me, and very flattering expose on the future HOF player. But for this article, I’ll just simply say this: Charles Woodson deserves, and should play at least one more season with the Raiders before he hangs up his cleats. He played at a high level on the field, ranking 5th among all Safeties in intercetipns with four, and was no doubt a vocal veteran influence on a lot of the younger players.
The other Safeties coming up on are Brandian Ross, and Larry Asante. Both will be Restricted Free Agents. Ross, who got cut by Oakland before the season started, came back after an injury to starting Strong Safety, Tyvon Branch, and a season ending injury to Larry Asante. Ross was a bit of a victim of circumstance last season, again filling in for Tyvon Branch after a season ending injury.
Ross, wasn’t ready to assume the responsibility and the Raiders simply didn’t have the depth to fill the spot with a proper back up. Ross 2.0 came back and, given the situation, played pretty well actually. Surprisingly, he ranked higher than Charles Woodson overall among Safeties. Ross graded out pretty average in all stats, with his only real negative grade coming in run defense.
I think Brandian might just be one of those players who sticks around, he showed incredible improvement between from 2013 to 2014, handled himself like a true professional and I think he will serve as a solid rotational player or back up to whoever is the starting Strong Safety is next season. Asante, given that he’s an RFA, and coming off of a season ending injury, I would be surprised if many teams come offering him a contract. I’d say give him a shot in camp, and see where it goes.
Just like the wide receiver position, I’ve already talked about the numerous Defensive Lineman who could come available, and the ones who should be signed by the Raiders. But again, someone has to go.
Pat Sims, and CJ Wilson are the only two Free Agents on the Defensive Line who saw any amount of playing in 2014. Pat Sims is 29 years old, and coming off of a fairly pedestrian year. He graded out as the 53rd ranked defensive tackle in the league, contributed zero sacks, and 25 tackles. Given the very high likelihood of the Raiders being able to sign Terrance Knighton from Denver, I believe Sims is out.
CJ Wilson didn’t have a stand out year either, but he was able to log two quarterback sacks. He’s a guy Reggie brought in from Green Bay, I believe he was completely someone Reggie knew he could sign to fill a need last season. Given the talent in the draft, and the other defensive ends coming in free agency, I don’t see CJ Wilson signing back with the Raiders. If he does, he might be a good rotational sub to add depth to the position.
Woodson = Keep
Ross = Keep
Sims = Cut
Wilson = Cut