With the changes to the coaching staff, here are three veteran free agents that could follow one of their coordinators to the Oakland Raiders in 2018.
A lot of times during a regime change, guys familiar with certain coaches will follow them to new places of employment. The Oakland Raiders will have a must new staff behind head coach Jon Gruden. While he has been out of coaching for nine years, his three coordinators certainly have not. Paul Guenther, Greg Olson and Rich Bisaccia have been NFL coordinators for years.
Gruden has previous work experience with Bisaccia and Olson with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Olson has previous work experience with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr from his rookie season in 2014. While Guenther has never worked for Gruden, he did serve under Marvin Lewis alongside Gruden’s brother Jay Gruden while with the Cincinnati Bengals.
If you take a few minutes and see the 2018 free agents on Gruden’s coordinator’s former employers, there’s honestly not a lot of guys from the Bengals, Los Angeles Rams or Dallas Cowboys that would be good fits for the Raiders. However, these three could make some since in the Silver and Black in 2018.
With the Raiders lacking depth at inside linebacker, it would not be shocking to see Guenther try to land Kevin Minter away from the Bengals in 2018 free agency. Though he only played one season in Cincinnati after four with the team that drafted him out of LSU in 2013 in the Arizona Cardinals, Minter could be a piece Guenther may want to bring with him.
Overall, Minter has not quite lived up to the lofty expectations of being a second-round pick out of LSU. He has never had more than 94 combined tackles in his five NFL seasons. Minter played in just nine games, starting only seven for the lackluster 2017 Bengals. However, there are opportunities to be had in the middle of the Raiders defense. For the right price, Minter could join the Silver and Black in 2018.
Like Minter, wide receiver Sammy Watkins has not lived up to the hype of being the No. 4 overall pick out of Clemson in the 2014 NFL Draft. Though he averaged over 1,000 receiving yards his first two years in the league with the Buffalo Bills, the last two years have somewhat derailed his promising NFL career. Watkins was injured for most of 2016 and was traded to the Rams before the start of 2017.
Though Greg Olson was just Sean McVay’s quarterbacks coach, this will be another opportunity for him to be an offensive coordinator. While other wide receivers flourished in McVay’s scheme, Watkins managed just 39 catches for 593 yards.
However, he did have eight receiving touchdowns in 15 games with the playoff-bound Rams. Though he might be a tad pricey, Watkins could sign a one-year prove it deal to play opposite Amari Cooper in the Raiders offense. He could be the spark this Oakland receiving game needs.
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Yes, Bisaccia is a special teams coach. It’s not like the Raiders will be able to pry the Cowboys’ outstanding placekicker Dan Bailey anyway. Nor would they want to, as the Raiders have faith in Giorgio Tavecchio coming off a strong first season. That being said, Bisaccia did briefly coach running backs for Gruden in Tampa Bay. Could veteran Alfred Morris be a fit in the Oakland backfield?
Though he can’t catch a cold with his hands, Morris did have 547 rushing yards on 115 carries for a touchdown in relief of the suspended Ezekiel Elliott. Obviously, this will be more of new running backs coach Jemal Singleton’s call, but it wouldn’t be shocking for Gruden to pick Bisaccia’s brain about how much Morris still has left in the tank.
He might be a lesser redundancy of Marshawn Lynch, but there is value to be had with the former two-time Pro Bowler out of Florida Atlantic if put in the right system.