Now that the Raiders know they won't be using the cap space saved from re-signing Kamerion Wimbley on re-signing Zach Miller, they have been busy stockpiling depth on the offensive line. They announced that they have signed four new offensive linemen today in an attempt to ensure they have five solid starters and adequate depth behind them.
The new acquisitions are OG Justin Smiley, OT Stephon Heyer, and OG Seth Wand. The Raiders also re-signed former starting center Samson Satele.
Smiley was originally drafted in round two of the 2004 draft by the 49ers. He spent four seasons in San Francisco, starting every game in his second and third season. From there he moved on to the Dolphins for two seasons and spent last season with the Jaguars, starting 29 games over those three seasons. He has switched back and forth from left to right guard and brings valuable depth and competition for the Raider interior line.
Heyer started 33 games at offensive tackle over four seasons with the Redskins. He started every game at right tackle in 2009 but was not able to acclimate to the new zone blocking scheme in Washington. You can read more about him here. If Joseph Barksdale is not ready and Khalif Barnes can't step up, Heyer has a real shot at being the Raiders' starting right tackle.
Seth Wand is a familiar name around Napa. The Raiders have brought him into camp nearly every training camp since 2007. He has only played in one NFL game since 2006 and it was for the Raiders in 2008. He is back to be a camp body yet again.
Samson Satele started at center for the Raiders the last two seasons. He looked pretty good the latter half of last season and adjusted well to the switch back to power blocking. He had an original round two franchise tender placed on him before the new CBA changed the rules. That made him an unrestricted free agent but the mere fact that the Raiders tendered him suggested they wanted to bring him back.
Even after Stefen Wisniewski was drafted, Hue Jackson was talking about how he liked Satele's versatility. The positive mention suggested that the Raiders wanted to keep him as at least a utility guard/center if not a starter at one of the guard spots.
Jackson said earlier this week that he was happy to enter the season with the starters they have now. He said this even though the right tackle position is not set as of yet. They have been playing rookie Joseph Barksdale at the right tackle spot since they have no better option. Then they re-signed Khalif Barnes although he can't practice until Friday. Barnes has never been able to hold down a starting job at either tackle position and I don't see how Jackson could possibly feel comfortable with him as the starter on the right side.
Free agent tackle Jared Gaither came to camp earlier this week but it was discovered that he was not entirely healthy and therefore left without a contract. If he had been healthy and signed with the team, it would have moved Jared Veldheer to right tackle and thus given the Raiders two solid tackles.
There have been rumblings about the Raiders ready to re-sign OT Mario Henderson only to have him come in overweight and fail his physical. I have expected the Raiders to bring Henderson back into the fold if another team didn't make a strong play for him. His inability to keep his weight down didn't factor into that.
The signings made today are not groundbreaking by any stretch. The Raiders would be lucky to get two serviceable players out of the group and even more lucky to somehow end up with a solid starter. The best free agent linemen are long gone but there are still a handful of good ones out there. And with the money they now have, they may not be done, though there are other positions that need some money spent on them. Like tight end for instance.
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Leonard Davis or Brian Waters ... I'd take my chances with both of them over these guys. Smiley is over the hill, Wand is nothing worth mentioning, and Heyers might be "ok" ... yet more "competition" from the scrap heap. i'm thrilled. It's looking very grim about a possible return from Gaither if he were to get healthy before the season. thanks for reminding me about that LD... what he alone could have done for this OL. It would have definitely eased the pain of losing both of our best players. but since that didn't happen... it just makes this the worst off season in Raider history.
fingers crossed that at least one of these guys comes through ... Campbell is going to need more time to find a receiver now that Zach is gone
@DARKKUSH The thing is with me we all knew what we had to do this offseason and to me have probably accomplished 10% of what we needed to do to improve the team (Keeping Seymour and Wimbley). Other than that we have failed in everything. The OL is still questionable and the players signd in FA aren't of the standard to seriously improve, the WR corp still lacks the #1 guy, even more so with the loss of Miller. The only thing I would say is that despite losing Nnamdi our Def is still looking very solid.
Only have a couple of weeks to restructure the contracts hasnt helped us at all.
Also, 100% understand why Nnamdi would go to the Eagles. They are primed and ready for an NFC championship season and they could go all the way and win the superbowl. I wish him luck. We could never have paid that much money and we could never have given Nnamdi the opportunity to get that success, not this season anyway,
What I find hard to believe is why Miller would leave us for a team who is not as good, well they weren't last year. With the signing of S Rice and Miller they now have a decent catching threat but in the QBs are suspect and the Seahawks generally aren't that good a team! Although I guess playing at Qwest every other weekend will be a great experience. But for me playing at Qwest is the only thing better than playing in the Silver & Black. I am sure we could have offered him 7mil a year once everything got themselves sorted. We just seemed to have run out of time!
God damn Tom Cable! He is loving it now!
There are some interesting FA out there
Boss is now essential, only for the fact we will need time for the Rookies to get ready. There has been of Malcom Floyd but can we afford him. I still think the OL is so important and someone like the newly released Bryant McKinnie is perfect... Hue wants to build a Bully! Lets get a nasty guy in!! along with Ex Cowboy Davis who wants to prove the Boys wrong for letting him go!
The preseason is still far from over and it still could turn out ok..
@oaklandraider Gordon will help in that department. maybe Ausberry will chip in... who knows. either will have to stay back to help Veldheer on a regular basis, that is if this "vertical offense" wants to function properly. Campbell will need a healthy pocket more so than EVER in his career. he's always has a reliable safety valve in either Cooley or Miller ... coincidentally it's his first time having this kind of consistency in a playbook 2 years runnin(plus extra time with Al Saunders) .... we will really know what Jason Campbell is all about.
this is why I was more pissed about the Gaither situation than any of this other stuff... a solid OL would fix all my woes. Miller won't be needed as much because JASON CAMPBELL can open up his game with more time.
it's hard to imagine ANY of these new pickups BULLIES.... or am i just crazy here?
Not crazy at all. None of these guys are any better than Cooper, Veldeer, or Loper. Gaither really must have some obvious problems; that or they are going to let him hang out there and try to pick him up cheaper later.
Mckinnie would definetly improve our talent in the OLine. He is F'n HUGE too! I read that he is at 400# and his playing weight should be 360#. Character issues too. At this point though, I WOULD TAKE HIM. He makes our OLine better, period.