TFDS has looked at the Raiders biggest area of need already this offseason. We've also discussed the franchise tag and the chance or lack thereof that the Raiders will avail themselves of that option. We will now look at the Raiders' upcoming free agents and the likelihood of each player being re-signed.
Here are the players whose contracts are ending soon:
Unrestricted Free Agents:
QB: Jason Campbell
RB: Michael Bush
WR: TJ Houshmnzadeh
OT: Khalif Barnes
C: Samson Satele
DE: Jarvis Moss
LB: Quentin Groves
S: Tyvon Branch
CB: Lito Sheppherd
Restricted Free Agents:
FB: Marcel Reece
DL: Desmod Bryant
Of the first group, the unrestricted free agents, Tyvon Branch and Samson Satele were starters and are the most likely to be re-signed. Branch has improved each year and really held his own overall this year despite poor talent around him and a bad defensive scheme. While I don't think he'll get the franchise tag, I do think the Raiders will work out a long term deal with him.
I've had discussions with some of the frequent posters on this site about Satele's worth. I think he is underrated because people see him as being undersized and over-look the skill and athletic ability he has. Plus he was brought in as a possible fit for zone blocking as as the Raiders appear to be headed back to that system, he's a good fit, and he likely won't cost too much.
I could see the Raiders re-signing Stephon Heyer, Chaz Schilens, Rock Cartwright or Matt Giordano for depth but I think the most likely scenario is that, of the UFAs, all players except for Branch and Satele will remain unsigned.
Of the second list, restricted free agents, I would expect both to be retained. Reece, especially, is a dynamic playmaker out of the backfield and he will be playing in silver and black next season. I would imagine that he would get a 2nd round tender so that if someone else signed him and the Raiders chose to not mach they would be awarded the signing teams 2nd round pick. That seems sufficient to protect him or get some appropriate compensation.
For Desmond Bryant, I would imagine a 2nd round tender would be sufficient as well. I would be very surprised if any team would sign him for that amount. However, he's a versatile lineman as he can play both DT and DE – he played both in the 4-3 alignment this year. In a 3-4, he's much more likely a DE and could push for a starting job in that alignment as 3-4 DE need to be bigger than their 4-3 counter parts. Actually, Bryant seems like a really good option for 3-4 DE if the Raiders use that alignment consistently because he is big enough to draw some double teams on the outside and athletic enough at the point of contact to be able to seal the edge. There were times last year where Bryant was chasing down plays 10+ yards downfield which is unusual for a defensive lineman and indicative of his drive and conditioning.
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