Five Free Agents the Oakland Raiders Should NOT Target
Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) in game action against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Dallas beat Detroit 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
5. Rolando McClain
Rolando McClain, former #1 pick (8th overall) of the Raiders, came out of retirement for the Dallas Cowboys last season and played lights-out after a season-ending injury to Sean Lee. The talented Alabama alumni had played well as a rookie for the Raiders, but after a series of off-field issues and arrests eventually started to slip on the field, and his Oakland career ended after a practice-field skirmish between he and former Raider head coach Dennis Allen.
McClain spent a short time in the Ravens organization before retiring from the NFL and spending a year living in Alabama and figuring his life out. Re-invigorated, he looks like he is ready to continue his NFL career, and has several good years of football left in him. He also may be available relatively cheap, and the Raiders need a long-term solution at middle linebacker – the role McClain was supposed to have been filling already.
Unfortunately, the bridge is probably too badly burned between McClain and the Raider organization and fans. McClain said a number of very unflattering things about the team and the fans on his way out the door, and many have not forgotten. And while a coaching staff that includes former NFL linebackers Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. may be a great fit for the talented young player, it’s likely that too much damage has been done for this relationship to be mended.
That said, I do think that if the fans and the organization can get past their wounds, and McClain can get past his, he’d be a great addition to the Raider roster. He could potentially round out the Raiders linebacker corps and thrive under Norton and Del Rio’s coaching, and he could do so for less money than he was making on his rookie deal with the Raiders. But this deal is probably not going to happen.
And while the Raiders could prove me wrong and target any or all of these players, there are a number of other players who will likely be available come March 10th who the Raiders may – and I’d argue should – target. However that is a subject, and a debate, for antoher day so stay tuned.