Despite the recent losses, the Raiders have a bright future
By Daniel Davis
While the playoffs may be out of the picture for their last season in Oakland, the Raiders franchise future is looking as bright as ever.
The Oakland Raiders are coming off a heartbreaking loss which severely hurt the playoff chances for their last year in Oakland, California. However, as they look towards next season, and the future, there are decisions to be made, but the franchise is in much better shape than it was a year ago today.
The Raiders have 31 free agents in 2020, and with names like Richie Incognito, Vontaze Burfict, and Daryl Worley, it’s going to be a frenzy in Las Vegas. Not only will the team be moving 800 miles to the Southwest, but they’ll also be trying to improve from an offseason which included Antonio Brown walking out the front door and Gabe Jackson missing the first few games of the season.
To make matters worse the Raiders lost Vontaze Burfict against the Colts on a controversial hit on Jack Doyle, who, as a Colts fan, I thought the season-long suspension was overkill at best, and targeted against Burfict at worst.
Other noticeable free agents include Karl Joseph and Nevin Lawson in a secondary that’s struggling mightily as of late. The Raiders tried to bolster the secondary by drafting Johnathon Abram and tried to improve the pass-rush by drafting Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby, via the 2020 NFL Draft, and it has improved this season.
They also signed tight end Darren Waller to a long-term deal during this breakout season, in which he leapfrogged into the elite category. Even more encouraging is the play of the offensive line, who have been opening up holes for rookie running back Josh Jacobs as well as performing well in pass protection, too. Kolton Miller has much improved by not allowing a single pressure or sack against Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Bradley Chubb combined.
Despite the 6-7 record, the Raiders are the second-youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.47, just behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 25.43, which may play a part in the large salary cap space for 2020. The Raiders have just over $71 million and only $2 million in dead cap money.
Oakland is also below the league average of $159 million signed contract money with $143 million. Presumably, this is a recipe for a large free-agent spending spree and resigning some important free agents for another few years.
Even with that being said, there are young players on this team which will be the future of the team for many years to come.