2012 Free Agency begins next Tuesday, March 13th at 4pm. The sixth in a series of looks at positions the Raiders may target.
Offseason Moves so far: none
On the Roster:
Eddie McGee – signed a reserve/future contract 1/3/12. On practice squad last season.
Restricted Free Agents: None
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Projected 2012 Starters:
Last year at this time it appeared that the Raiders had found a bonafide star in Jacoby Ford and that he and Louis Murphy would be able to team for a potent 1-2 combo based on their potential.
Training camp hit and DHB looked the same - dropping balls and catching with his body when he did catch the ball. Denarius Moore looked like a find for the 5th round and was the talk of training camp.
Chaz Schilens was once thought of as a great find in the 7th round based on his size and hands. He has had one injury plagued season after another and, even though he wasn't known to be hurt last season, he was ineffective in limited duty. He could be back, but I see no reason to expect it at this time.
TJ Houshmandzadeh was signed as a comfort blanket to assist his friend, Carson Palmer. He didn't light the world on fire and as a free agent, I don't see him likely to return.
Derrick Jones was signed as a Undrafted free agent rookie last season and suffered an injury in training camp that caused the team to put him on IR. I was surprised to note that, according to Rotoworld, he had signed a 3 year contract that makes him a Raider through 2014, if the team chooses. I have no idea if he'll make the team or not - looks like he'll get a crack this offseason, though.
This offseason, the WR corps expectations are very different going into the free agency period.
DHB was the Raiders' most productive receiver last season and I have to respect that even if he still struggles with catching the ball naturally. At least he's a hard worker and a good attitude. The last coaching staff learned to play to his strengths which are that he is much better catching the ball short and running with it than running under a deep ball and coming down with the reception.
DHB still drops too many balls and still catches the ball into his gut or chest which causes the ball to bounce if he doesn't field it cleanly but he's much more an impact player than most would have guessed based on his initial two years.
The other big weakness with DHB is that he doesn't position himself well to win jump balls, which is something that with his height - he's 6'2" - should be a strength over many CBs that are under 6'0".
So, DHB is a work in progress but he is progressing, which is encouraging.
Denarius Moore was also a bright spot for the Raiders - he has looked, from training camp forward, like the team's best WR. He is deceptively fast, runs good routes and can get open. He also has good hands and is able to position himself under a deep ball well. I expect him to be the first Raider to cross 1,000 yards receiving since Randy Moss had 1005 in 2005.
Jacoby Ford hopefully will regain his confidence and speed. The three - Ford, Moore and Heyward-Bey - could provide a good tandem if they are healthy and ready to go.
Louis Murphy was a big disappointment last season. He didn't show the skills he had in prior years. He didn't have good hustle and wasn't able to get open. He looks like the teams fourth best WR at best. In looking at game tape for another article there were multiple times where he ran a route that should have had him digging his foot into the grass and coming back to the ball. He repeatedly didn't do this and waited for the ball to arrive to him and when it did the CB was there to break it up.
Eddie McGee was on the practice squad last season and has developed a good repor with Palmer. Palmer would warm up with him before some games. There are reports that McGee is one of the receivers that is going to meet with Palmer seperately before training camp. He has very good size at 6'4", 210 lbs. He may take Chaz's spot on the roster.
In terms of free agent signings, I just don't see any big names. There are too many holes on this team to think that signing someone like Marques Colston is going to solve any issues. As much as I like Colston, this team needs help at CB, LB and both O and D lines more than WR at this point.
Hopefully another year of familiarity for Palmer with the receivers will help this young group grow into a group with no big stars but a decent amount of skill. I could see this WR corp servicing like the Eagles or Patriots. They don't have to have a star player to feed the ball. They can instead alter the gameplan based on what the opposing defense is giving them.
Who do you want the Raiders to sign, if anyone, this free agency period?
Ask me questions or tell me what you think on Twitter @AsherMathews
I think continuity is the name of the game here .... DHB, Moore and Ford (feet permitting) are a solid 1,2,3 ... add in a healthy Murphy (Im not convinced he was ever 100% last season) and Ausberry/Myers at TE plus DMac / TJ / Reece out of the backfield and it adds up to a pretty good group.
Just resign Chaz and we are good to go! Let Carson continue to build continuity with this group this year, then make adjustments next year. We got bigger fish to fry!
I'd hate to see us waste money on WRs when we have so many other needs to address. I'd be perfectly fine with the guys we have and trading TJ back for Hagan. If we lose Schillens will it make a difference? Looked like he had some potential 3 years ago, but the dude is lucky if he caught 5 balls since then. He's never on the field. I'd give Murphy another year to return to form and hope the speedsters keep improving and stop getting hurt. Maybe pick up some cheap talent on the waiver wire or after the draft.
Spend that money on Bush or some D help imho.
Yeah, I don't see this team throwing any money to get any WR. Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore are too young and they both have showed sparks of greatness. If any, i expect the Raiders to sign a couple of veterans and see if they can compete with Murphy and Heyward-Bey for the job. I'd love to have Colston as a slot reciever, but he's not comming unless the price is really low.
Shouldn't repor be rapport?
One WR that would cost a lot that I was considering was Robert Meachem. There are a lot of reports that say that Colston was the product of the Saints system and that Meachem would be the more likely of the two to have more success outside of the Saints.
If we could throw some money at a WR, then I want VJax, hands down. The dude is a beast. Nuff said.
@JarrodRollins Vincent Jackson is completely out of our league. Yeah, dude is a beast but he's gonna get some elite money elsewhere.
Meachem's case isn't an easy one either. There's gonna be some competition to land his services since NE, Washington, SF, Chicago, all of them are looking for a deep threat and there's not enough good material in free agency to cover all those spots.
For the past couple of years, I have been blogging about a certain player who I think would be the ultimate Raider...He happened to have played for the team I hate the most, the San Diego Chargers, and he was Asomugha's toughest matchup, when Asomugha was at his prime. May I present, VINCENT JACKSON.........At 6 ft 5 inches tall he is a matchup nightmare and would be the Raiders biggest receiver. He has the near speed of DHB, but is a much cleaner route runner, and unlike DHB, is a legitimate and proven deep threat whose strength is catching the ball above his shoulders. Jackson is literally a Megatron type receiver, and could be the closest to him in pure talent and ability to make big plays. Adding Jackson to the Raider roster will be expensive, but from a fan and football standpoint, he would immediately elevate the Raider receiving corps into the finest and most dangerous in the league, and Carson Palmer would have his greatest weapon to throw to that he has ever had in his career...... Trust me on this, the Raiders, and all of us fans would not regret a Vincent Jackson signing...
@Spartacus Im a raiders fan and i would be pissed if we signed him that's something the old regime would do and u see how much we sucked. If we sign a big name it better be on the D
@Spartacus I'd love to see that, but he's out of this team's reach. He's gonna get a humungus contract and we can't compete with that having so many defensive wholes and so little cap space.