The CBA talks have heated up of late and we now near the original unofficial deal deadline of July 15. Even with the new deadline of the 21st, it is looking like a new CBA will be reached soon. This means that free agency will be right around the corner. And therefore it is now time to start thinking about who would be the most likely free agent players to join the Raiders.
Let me preface this list by saying, the most important free agents the Raiders need to sign are their own. That means Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha first and foremost. It is still not certain whether Michael Bush will be a free agent or not but if he does hit the market, he is a must re-sign as well.
UPDATE: Nnamdi Asomugha has signed a 5 year, $60 million deal with the Eagles. Michael Bush is a restricted free agent and will be back with the Raiders.
Regardless of whether the Raiders are able to re-sign all of their free agents-to-be, they will still have an eye toward bringing in some veteran talent to strengthen some of their weaker positions.
Here are a few players that are most likely to bring into the fold.
Trent Edwards, QB, Jaguars
Jason Campbell is entrenched as the starter. That much we know. After that, it looks like Kyle Boller will be back as well. Boller had very limited game time last season and looked terrible. Edwards was a starter in Buffalo and had some marginal success. He also attended Stanford and would likely welcome a job back in the Bay Area with the Raiders.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
The Raider receiving corps is in much need of a veteran influence and has been for quite some time now. Santana (I won't call him Moss), is approaching the twilight of his career and would probably come pretty cheap even though he had 1115 yards receiving last year. Joining the Raiders would also re-unite him with Jason Campbell with whom he had some pretty good seasons. In 2008, Santana had over 1000 yards receiving and nearly half of Campbell's 13 touchdown passes went to him (6). This just makes too much sense.
RE-SIGNED with Redskins
James Jones, WR, Packers
Jones has never been a spectacular receiver, he has just been solid. He wouldn't be a big free agent find but he would add some more stability to the receiving unit. He would also bring with him the experience of playing on the Super Bowl champion Packers squad. He had his best season in the NFL last year when he caught 50 passes for 679 yards. And he continued it into the playoffs where he had 11 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns with five of those catches coming in the Super Bowl. The Raiders are very likely on his short list of teams he would like to play for as he was born and raised in San Jose and went to San Jose State.
JETS are reportedly interested in signing Jones
Vonta Leach, FB, Texans
Arguably the best fullback on the market right now. He blocked for Arian Foster as Foster was the NFL's leading rusher last season. The Raiders went into last season with just one fullback on the roster—Marcel Reece. The Raiders typically have two fullbacks on the roster. Reece is the receiving threat and Leach would add that power blocker they have lacked.
RAIDERS signed UDFA FB James McCluskey and are not said to be in the mix to sign Leach.
Bo Scaife, TE, Titans
The Raiders drafted two players who will compete at tight end this season behind starter Zach Miller. That is of course, if Miller is re-signs. One of the tight ends the Raiders drafted is a blocking tight end and the other is a converted wide receiver who is a project. That means the Raiders must bring in a veteran to compete for the primary backup spot with Brandon Myers. Scaife is a starting caliber tight end and would be a reliable set of hands across from Zach Miller in two tight end sets. A dynamic the Raiders have not had in quite some time.
Justin Blalock, OG, Falcons
The Raiders are in a state of uncertainty at the guard position. Blalock was in a constant state of uncertainty with the Falcons as well. He played right tackle in college and was put at left guard in the pros. He is an imposing 6-4, 340 pounds and is a power blocking specialist. He caught a lot of the blame for the woes of the Falcons' offensive line even though his line mate Sam Baker was rarely healthy and the line has been in constant flux since his arrival. He could be moved back to the right side either at guard or tackle for the Raiders. Two positions they could use an infusion of veteran competition.
Derrick Dockery, OG, Redskins
At one time Dockery had started 111 straight games at guard for the Redskins dating back to his 2003 rookie season. But when new coach Mike Shanahan came to town and brought his zone blocking scheme with him, Dockery was no longer seen as a fit and the Redskins released him this offseason. Lucky for the Raiders, they no longer run the zone blocking scheme and now there is a solid veteran guard like Dockery available. Jason Campbell will no doubt have some input as to what kind of teammate Dockery is.
Sean Locklear, OT, Seattle Seahawks
Locklear was a longtime starter in Seattle and is considered to be one of the better NFL pass blockers. Where he tends to catch the most criticism is in his run blocking. He is a right tackle by trade but in 2009 the Seahawks tried him at left tackle. He struggled to make the transition and was back at right tackle last season, but was oft injured and couldn't regain his previous form. He was once considered as being an ideal zone blocker but his injuries have taken their toll on his athleticism. He is 6-4, 310 so he has the size to play in a power blocking scheme. The Seahawks have brought in zone blocking guru Tom Cable as their line coach and they are moving on from Locklear. Which is probably for the best because a change in scheme could be just what he needs to revive his career. The Raiders could show interest in bringing in Locklear as either a possible starter at right tackle or as the backup to Jared Veldheer at left tackle.
RAIDERS agree to terms with OT Jared Gaither. They will likely not sign any more free agent offensive tackles.
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Levi, if the rules for free agency change under the new CBA, and veteran players become unrestricted after (4) years, then the guy I would add to the top of your list is Vincent Jackson, the Chargers star wide receiver. I wrote a post on this a while back, and am a huge believer that Jackson would have the same kind of impact on the Raiders that Nnambi Asomugah has had. Phillip Rivers said it himeslf, Vincent Jackson is the best receiver he has ever seen, and Asomugah said he was the toughest receiver he has faced in his career. This guy can flat out bring it, and if the Raiders signed him, and some how brought back Asomugah, we could be looking at the making of a very special team that will dominate for a long period of time...
Good list LD. I still say Gaither should be added to this list. there's question marks about his attitude and health .. but given he's motivated by new scenary in Oakland, and his back is much better and can last him through the season, this man would be solid. 6'9 340 lbs ... that's what i call a BULLY for a tackle.
with that being said, i love the idea of Blalock as our LG ... If Veldheer is going to be our LT, then having that man next to him will make Jared's development that much easier.
Never thought about Dockery or Locklear. very nice obvservation there. I would love one or two of these guys.
do you not like Troy Smith as a backup? man, i think with the right coaching(Hue and Saunders), he could develop behind Campbell for a while. he's a great downfield passer, as we saw last year ... it's his short game that leaves a lot to be desired. I just think he's never fully gotten the chance to prove himself in this league. just goes to show you that it doesn't matter what you do in college...
My choice would most definitely be Santana Moss out of the bunch. 93 receptions on a crappy Redskin offense last year? he would do wonders for the development of guys like Murphy and especially Jacoby Ford, while adding a reliable target for Jason Campbell. He and Al Saunders would love to work with him again.
nope. he's got an exclusive franchise tag on him, not a 1st and 3rd round tender. the only way he can leave is if he were to get traded. so he will not be a Raider ... unfortunately ..
JARED GAITHER WILL BE THOUGH !!!
@Spartacus I agree about Vincent Jackson being a great receiver. I just think he will command a contract that Al Davis will either be unwilling or unable to pay. I don't see this team breaking the bank in free agency this season unless it is on Nnamdi or Zach. But VJ would be a tremendous addition and would instantly make the Raider receiving corps formidable.
@DARKKUSH I still see Gaither as apossibility too! Could see Yanda and his versatility as well! And still see Troy as the backup QB we bring in, we'll see..
.. But Blalock would be a solid addition! Only question is if he will resign as both Clabo and Dahl are FAs as well, and they will at least resign two of them, and as Clabo might be given a huge contract after this probowl year, it could be the two interior guys that were kept.. But if he is available he would be a good signing imo!
Santana Moss is a real possibility, and he still has a lot to teach as well as he is a reliable set of hands!
One of the potential signings i would really like though, is Leach - that man is a beast that blows defenders off the ball! I am a supporter of X-factor Reece, and he is decent in the blocking part as well, but adding Leach to help push the pile in short yardage situations or when pounding the ball on a team, just makes so much sense for a top run first offense who likes to bully people - like we do! Reece and Leach would be a great set of FBs, and Reece could learn some of the blocking technique from Leach and improve his blocking as well!
Would really not likke to add Locklear though - he straight out sucks when running the ball, and he is not the kind of mauler we need when bulding a running bully!
Get Gaither, Blalock, Leach and Santana - i would be very, very happy then!
@DARKKUSH I like Troy Smith just fine. It just seems to me that Trent Edwards is the more likely choice. Plus, I think if Hue was itching to bring in Troy Smith, he would have pushed for it last offseason. He opted for Boller instead.
@LDizzle Ok, thank you for explaining, haven't seen those stats, just remember him as a baller in the 43 - is there statistics from before Redskins moved to 34?
Well ok, Manny Lawson is a good player as well, liked him when he came out, and he could fit good in the 43 imo - what was his stoprate? .. If they made the statistics for rushing OLBs?
Could seem that he would be the prime prospect as well - Big Al loves athletic freaks, he loves 1st rounders and he is already in the near vicinity! Let's hope we get him then!
I agree that the LBs bear a large part of the blame, but the Safeties bear one too - as well as the system! When the CBs arent in a position to help because they run with their backs to the action, then any mistakes by the LBs and/or the S will be for a large gain.. Hearing Woodson talk about having the DB's facing the action more makes you wonder - don't think we will be a Zone team, but could indicate that they want their CBs to get more involved, which imo would help greatly on the Run D!
@Harder2000 One reason I didn't include Rocky McIntosh is he was among the worst linebackers in the NFL in run stop rate (53%). The Raiders biggest problem is stopping the run and after last season, it became obvious the fault was with linebackers and weadside linebacker in particular. That is the biggest flaw in McIntosh's game and it has nothing to do with scheme. Therefore he would not be an upgrade over Groves or Howard (or Scott if he plays there) at OLB.
100% on Rocky. i've been clamoring for him for a while now. he would thrive as a 4-3 OLB ... especially with McClain and Wimbley next to him and our beast DL in front of him. I bet Al is taking a good look at him ...
another alternative would be to bring back Cpt Kirk to play OLB ... he was misused at MLB here and last year in JAX. his coverage skills are awesome, it's just his shedding blocks-issue that gets in his way... i dunno, he would be had for cheap that's for sure.
@LDizzle @DARKKUSH Adding Gaither, Blalock, Leach and Santana for the Offensive side, and Rocky/Lawson, Weddle/Goldson and Gholston for the Defensive side would really be something! But it is a lot of players and with the cap issues being mentioned, it could be too much! If one man can make it happen though, it is definately Big Al! Go get 'em Big Al, make it happen! And throw Jenkins in just for the fun of it!
@LDizzle Great list of D FA's..
I would ad Rocky McIntosh as well though! Any reason he is not included on the list? He didn't fit the Redskins scheme change to a 34, but is a very good OLB in the 43! As he had a bad year and doesn't fit the 34, he could probably be had for a bargain and would fit our D very well imo!
... I like Lawson to, and i completely agree that he has the ability to be a good WOLB in our 43! He is very fast and pretty good in coverage, would be a good signing as well!
Adding one of either Rocky or Lawson would be great imo, and i keepm my hopes up for either!
I really like the potential Gholston signing as well - he was miscast and never found a fit in the Jets 34, and as a bust he could come cheaply! He is and always has been a 43 DE, and he is build perfectly for it! He struggled in the 34 as he has stiff hips, bu he has immense potential and could be a real asset in our 43 as a DE! He would be a great low risk high reward signing for us, and as he would not be expected to start, he could learn and adjust to our scheme while Mister Waufle could work him into the rotation! Imo he is a potential star at the 43 DE, and as he would be a cheap addition, i really supports this pick! He is a hard worker, he has high intensity and he want's to learn! He will succeed if he is brought to Silver and Black! Go get him Big Al!
I like the idea of signing a CB, but really don't think it will happen - seems the staff is pretty high on W-Mac, and with CJ (not good enough imo) as well as two new rookies coming in, i don't see us bringing in another CB! Would have loved to see Jonathan Joseph though - would be a great fit, but would most likely be too expensive! I see Ware fight for a spot in the S squad, he could fit in as a backup there!
Also like the idea of stealing Burnett from the Chargers - always like to steal good players from rivals, and he was a big part of their Defense last year! But i think he is better fit as an inside guy at this point, and even though he could be the OLB, i don't think we will pay what he will demand - he could recieve a very large contract! Hope he leaves the Chargers anyway, he is a very good player!
... Another Charger i would like to steal is Weddle - he is most likely too expensive, but if he was somehow available for us to compete for, he would be a great addition! Three hard hitting, fast Safeties would improve the scheme versatility and he really is a good player! - think JLH would hate the idea, but then again, he is out the door anyways!
-- If not Weddle, then Goldson is a very good alternative - he is a good, young, fast Safety who might come cheap as his last year was up and down due to injuries! He has some swagger, and he is at least an intruiging prospect! And as you say - that he is already based in the Bay area makes the Raiders that much more interesting! Would be a good signing!
From the defensive side i would like an OLB: Rocky or Lawson, a Safety: Weddle or Goldson, and Gholston as DE depth!
If we somehow could get Burnett or Cullen Jenkins at a decent price i would like both of them as well! But three of the first mentioned seems to be the most realistic scenario, and i would be happy to see three quality D playres players enter the squad!
@LDizzle Thank you, hadn't seen it before ..