Oakland Raiders: Five More Free Agent Targets McKenzie Should Pursue

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Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs the ball in the back field in the second quarter against Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (98) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

1. Terrance Knighton

Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton may be the closest to a sure thing for the Raiders this offseason. The media has already reported that the Silver and Black are “expected to pursue” the massive defensive tackle, who has openly stated that he wants to continue playing for coach Jack Del Rio. Del Rio drafted Knighton in Jacksonville in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft, and Knighton has played under Del Rio for five of his six NFL seasons: three in Jacksonville, and two in Denver, where Del Rio was the defensive coordinator.

Knighton is one of the three or four best defensive tackles available in this free agency class, and is coming off two very productive seasons as a full-time starter for Denver. While he is on the older side – he turns 29 in July – he still appears to be in his prime and could be of great value on a 3 or 4 year deal, garnering somewhere in the range of $10M-$12M per year against the cap.

He’s already a proven fit in Del Rio’s system, and due to his size and athletic ability can play both the nose position – where he would likely rotate with Justin Ellis – or the 3-tech spot, where he would relieve Antonio Smith. He would be a highly valuable addition to the Raiders’ defensive line rotation immediately, and could be a full-time starter as either the nose or the 3-tech.

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  • Adding Knighton would also be a major boon to Sio Moore and either Nick Roach or whoever ends up starting at the middle linebacker this season. The big-bodied Knighton commands double-teams at the point of attack and makes it hard for blockers to release from him and get to the linebackers, giving them the ability to make plays. He can also push the pocket well in the passing game, allowing edge rushers like Khalil Mack to finish plays, something that the Raiders struggled with last year. He could also be useful in a 3-4 front as a 5-tech end, something that he did on occasion for Del Rio in Denver. And we know he WANTS to be in Oakland, because he wants to play for Del Rio. It would be a great value signing for McKenzie.

    Next: Target #2: Rahim Moore