Five Free Agents the Oakland Raiders Should NOT Target

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Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) in action against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh is a transcendent defensive talent who looks destined to hit the open market come March 10th. The former 2nd overall pick of the 2010 draft has been one of the top five defensive linemen in the league throughout his career. He earned $22.4M against the cap last year, and at 28 years old is still young enough to give a team at least four or five more good seasons, and will likely garner a massive amount of money on the open market.

With JJ Watt recently having signed a six-year, $100M contract with the Houston Texans, the bar has risen for defensive  lineman contracts. And while JJ Watt is one of the two or three best players in the league overall, Suh is definitely in his class in terms of impact at his position, and there’s a good chance Suh’s deal in free agency approaches Watt’s money. And for that reason, the Raiders should probably look elsewhere.

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  • To be frank, the Raiders could afford to absorb a massive salary cap hit from Suh for the next two or three years, while major pieces like Derek Carr and Khalil Mack are still on rookie deals. The Raiders will enter the 2015 offseason with as much as $70M in cap space, thanks to shrewd moves by Reggie McKenzie over the past three offseasons. Many Raider fans say that now is the time to target a big fish like Suh, since we have the money. And Suh would definitely be a scheme fit in Jack Del Rio’s defense.

    But despite Suh’s loose connection to Raider fandom in the past (he was born in Los Angeles in 1987), Suh wants to leave Detroit to play for a winner. The Raiders have not been a winner since 2002. In order to get Suh to come to Oakland, Reggie McKenzie will likely have to fork over money well above Suh’s real market value, probably money in the range of what JJ Watt earns per year, but on a four or perhaps five year deal.

    This translates to Suh earning as much as $20M-$25M against the cap in each of the next three seasons, and in an ideal front-loaded contract, he could be bringing in as much as $30M against the cap in 2015 and 2016.

    This would mean that the Raiders would commit anywhere from 42% to as much as 60% of available cap money on a SINGLE player, while still having to fill a variety of positions. It’s simply not sound cap management for a team that is more than just one player away from being a contender.

    Next: Name to Avoid #2: DeMarco Murray