Oakland Raiders: Final Thoughts Before Free Agency Opens


In roughly a day free agency will begin formally, and the Raiders will be able to start signing players in preparation for next season. New head coach Jack Del Rio has assembled an experienced staff, and the Raiders have plenty of money which they will need to spend in order to reach the salary cap ceiling. As I write this many top talent free agents are rumored to be off the market, but there are still a few worthwhile players.

Editor’s Note: Some of the players listed here have been attached to other teams, but nothing is official until free agency opens.

Priority Free Agents/Targets

Andre Johnson

Many have assumed that he will sign with a contender based on the fact that Johnson is entering the twilight of his career. But, Johnson and Carr have a good relationship, which is a factor that needs to be noted. Johnson is still playing at a high level and represents a good short-term signing. I know others have said the Raiders already have a veteran presence to guide our receivers in James Jones, but comparing the two is not fair to either and a wideout of this caliber would be invaluable to Carr.

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Jordan Cameron, TE

Top wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin are off the market, and the Raiders need weapons for quarterback Derek Carr. Jordan Cameron does have injury concerns, but has proven he can be a solid receiving tight-end, and he is also a capable blocker. I think the Raiders may have to end up paying Cameron 30 to 40 million dollars, but it could spur Carr’s development.

Rodney Hudson, C

Starter Wisniewski will be leaving Oakland in free agency, but the Raiders have a chance to replace him with a player of greater talent in Hudson. Hudson may cost more than homegrown talent Wisniewski, but he has routinely performed better. Hudson reportedly will be signing with the Raiders as soon as the window opens on Tuesday afternoon so this is a deal that will likely get done.

Bryan Bulaga, OT

The Raiders need to upgrade the offensive line and Bulaga represents a known commodity. Although this does not make much sense currently, with Penn coming off a good year, and 2 decent options at RT. This could be a preliminary move to shore up LT long-term as Penn is nearing the end of his career. Oh and there is that Green Bay connection.

Mike Lupati, OG

The Raiders sign a great starter to shore up the offensive line, and stick it to the Niners. This is a good move all around as Lupati, while not the best pass blocker is a great run blocker and would help RB Latavius Murray.

Stephen Paea, DT

The Raiders need to upgrade their defense and they missed on signing big name free agent Suh. The Raiders would do well to sign a young talented player like Paea. Paea has played admirably on a horrible Chicago defense and is a year younger than Suh. He is coming off a good year and when you analyze him, he hasn’t reached his ceiling as a player.

Terrence Knighton, DT

He has followed head coach Jack Del Rio his entire career and has played admirably throughout it, in this case it just makes sense.

Other options

Henry Melton, DT

I know he has disappointed recently, but Melton is still a young player at 28 and has plenty left in the tank. This represents a low risk high potential signing, as Melton has demonstrated he can play at a dominant level. Further in a business like the NFL talented players are quickly forgotten, meaning the Raiders can sign Melton to a reasonable deal. At worst this becomes a depth move, at best the Raiders gamble and get a starting caliber player for cheap.

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Sean Weatherspoon, ILB

Weatherspoon has struggled with injuries recently limiting his value, but he has proven himself a capable player. The Raiders could make a sneaky move in signing Weatherspoon as our starting ILB, this would be an instant upgrade to the Raiders defense. Further it addresses a position of need with a young talented player that would give the Raiders a great group of linebackers.

I know many like Brandon Spikes more based on the fact that he doesn’t come with the health concerns Weatherspoon has, but Weatherspoon seems to be the more complete player making him the best possibility health concerns aside. I know that it was stated that Weatherspoon agreed to a deal with the Cardinals, but nothing is finalized and the Raiders can and should beat the one year 5 million dollar offer.

Zach Miller, TE

He kind of fell off the map when he went to Seattle, but he was solid in Oakland. Miller would be a good depth signing as he has proven he can be reliable as a receiver and a solid blocker.

Jabaal Sheard, DE

I know he has played 3-4 outside linebacker for the Browns, but Sheard has experience playing defensive line as that was his position in college. Sheard has not reached his potential yet, but he has played at a solid level and with Sheard there is little to no risk as he is a low profile free agent that could develop into an intimidating pass rusher.

Final thoughts

The Raiders need to seriously upgrade the roster at various positions, and have plenty of money to burn. Whatever they may do come free agency they need to make a run at some solid players even if it means outbidding other teams, the time to act is now. The Raiders need to build even if it means paying a bit more than market value.

Next: No Need To Panic About Raiders Free Agency