JBB’s Oakland Raiders Mailbag: Offseason Edition #2

December 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
December 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The second offseason edition of JBB’s Oakland Raiders mailbag, answering questions sent to our Twitter account about the NFL Draft, Free Agency and more.

It’s the offseason, but that doesn’t mean things have slowed down for the Oakland Raiders. With Derek Carr being spotted at the gym to Aldon Smith potentially in trouble again and rumors of Latavius Murray’s tenure in Silver and Black coming to an end, there’s a lot to talk about.

Let’s get started.

This question was asked prior to Vic Tafur causing a stir with his educated guess — which was that he expects the Raiders to move on from Latavius Murray. Even before that, I would have said the same.

Now, for anyone that has heard me on the JBB Podcast, you’ll know that I think the fans are overly critical of Latavius. But with that being said, just take a glance at the running backs set to hit free agency and you’ll understand why Murray is in line for a big payday. It’s an awful class, and assuming Le’Veon Bell returns to Pittsburgh, Latavius will be the top back by a landslide.

Plain and simple, a bad team is going to pay Latavius Doug Martin/Lamar Miller type money, and there is no chance Reggie McKenzie will enter that same ballpark. Especially when he drafted Latavius in the sixth round, DeAndre Washington in the fifth and landed Jalen Richard as an undrafted free agent. He’ll let Latavius go and hope he can strike gold in the draft yet again.

The short answer to this question is most positions should and likely will be filled via the draft. With a lot of money set to be dished out in the next two offseasons on extensions, McKenzie will likely be conservative with spending.

Here’s the long answer:

On offense, the Raiders could stand to upgrade at RB, Slot WR, RT, and then maybe at TE. On defense, they could really use help everywhere — interior of the defensive line, an edge rusher, linebackers and basically any spot in the secondary.

For RB and Slot WR, I would say McKenzie will look towards the draft. He’s consistently found talent in these areas in the draft, even in the late rounds. So look for him to try to replicate that success.

For right tackle, my money is on Menelik Watson being shown the door and Austin Howard sticking around, only because of the dead money hit if he’s released. And with a ton of money already invested in the offensive line and Vadal Alexander and Denver Kirkland waiting in the wings, I don’t think this is a position that gets addressed at all in the offseason.

At tight end, I think it’s the same as the offensive line. Walford will get another year to prove himself, Lee Smith will be back, and McKenzie seems to really love Gabe Holmes, despite his injury history. My guess is the Raiders will let Mychal Rivera walk, and give his spot to Gabe. No additions at TE via the draft or free agency.

On defense, it’s a crapshoot. With a need for help in so many areas, McKenzie will take it where he can get it. So there will be some free agent additions, surely, but don’t expect any big money additions. That splash was last year, and now it’s time to find value in free agency while continuing to build the foundation of the roster. Look for a future article on “under the radar” free agent targets for more on that.

Good question, and yes, I do think the Raiders have a new reputation.

For the longest time, as we all know, the only way the Raiders even had a chance of signing a prospective free agent was to grossly overpay that player. And when the Raiders did grossly overpay, it wasn’t even for a star player — I’m talking to you, Javon Walker.

But now, we’ve seen the Raiders sign top free agents such as Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Bruce Irvin and Sean Smith. This is a team that good players want to play on, and not just for a paycheck.

With Oakland’s cap room set to tighten due to future extensions of Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson and eventually others, the real indication of whether or not their reputation has changed is if McKenzie can land quality players at discounted rates because they want to compete for a Super Bowl.

I don’t think there is one “big name” free agent the Raiders will target this offseason. After extending Carr, if a deal for Gabe gets done, re-signing a dozen or so players, and then drafting seven players, the Raiders might only have $15 or so million in cap space. Which is money that can be used for future extensions of Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and others.

If the Raiders make any “splash” in free agency, maybe they grab one guy in the $7.5 million per year range on a two-year deal. Perhaps someone like DeSean Jackson.


First of all, it’s obvious this is what the NFL has wanted all along. They easily, easily, easily could have put the Raiders in Los Angeles as tenants of Stan Kroenke. But…

The NFL does not want to remove a team from the Bay Area market, especially when there is another team from a smaller market they could move to L.A. instead — hello, Chargers.

This has been my prediction for quite some time:

  • Raiders indefinitely play at The Coliseum on a series of one or two year leases
  • A’s get a new stadium built elsewhere
  • The Coliseum gets demolished
  • Raiders forced to share Levi’s with the Niners
  • New stadium is built at the existing Coliseum site
  • Raiders move back in

And perhaps even better, once the Warriors leave Oracle, how great would it be if the Raiders could gain control of that land? They could build a new headquarters, a practice facility, a team store, or if they didn’t want to do that, that’s room for extra parking, or perhaps a hotel or other type of retail.

That last paragraph is all a lot more ambitious, admittedly, but I stand with all the bullet points.

I like this idea, and we’ll actually have some content on the site in the coming days about Wagner. That’s certainly a possibility.

Melvin Ingram, on the other hand, I can’t see happening. Mostly because of price. As mentioned above, Oakland might only have $15 or so million in cap space once free agency rolls around, and I don’t see McKenzie spending a chunk of that on any single player.

Round 1: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida.

Round 2: Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut.

Round 3: Antony Walker, LB, Northwestern

Round 4: Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia

Round 5: Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky

Round 6: Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP

Round 7: Keionta Davis, DE, Chattanooga

Would love it…at the right price. Not more than a two-year deal, and with a contract that has no dead money after the first year.

Steep terms, but if DeSean wants to play on a contender with a MVP candidate quarterback, then there are few places better than Oakland.

I can’t see this one happening. The Raiders will need a third QB, but my money is on it either being an undrafted guy or a cheap veteran on a minimum contract — probably the latter.