In this article, I’m going to give you a list of free agents with recent ties to the new coaches who were just added to the Oakland Raiders coaching staff.
The coaches include, Hue Jackson; former Baltimore Ravens QB’s coach and now Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator, Clancy Pendergast; Former Defensive Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals and now DB coach for the Oakland Raiders, and Mike Waufle; former New York Giants defensive line coach who accepted the same position with the Oakland Raiders.
This is certainly not a list of probable free agents signings, but this is a list of players that Oakland could take a long hard look at during this free agency period based on their bodies of work and their experience working with Oakland’s new staff members. The list follows typical order from offense to defense and is in no way a reflection of order that the free agents may be looked at, nor is it based on team needs.
An "Unrestricted Free Agent" is a player who is free to sign with any team in the NFL. A "Restricted Free Agent" is a player who is free to talk and take offers from any team, but the offers may be matched by the player’s current team, or the current team may require a draft pick up to and including a first round pick for the player. "UFA-CBA" means that is no collective bargaining agreement is reached for the 2010 season, then the player will become an unrestricted free agent just before the start of the 2010 NFL season.
I must include a big thank you to Wikipedia, ESPN.com, and KCChiefs.com for providing much of the information obtained during the research of this article.
You can see more articles from me @ www.fanhuddle.com/oaklandraiders.
Troy Smith (26), Baltimore Ravens QB - Restricted Free Agent:
Smith won the 2006 Heisman Memorial Trophy on December 9, 2006.He beat out sophomore RB/QB Darren McFadden (2nd) from Arkansas turned Oakland Raider and QB Brady Quinn (3rd), senior quarterback from Notre Dame turned Cleveland Brown.
Smith became the first true quarterback from the Big Ten to ever win the award. In winning the 2006 Heisman Trophy, Smith took 86.7% of the first place votes, which is a record.
Smith declared for the 2007 NFL Draft. Despite winning the Heisman Trophy, Smith saw his draft stock drop considerably after the 41-14 loss to Florida in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game. At exactly 6’0", his height was cited as a liability as was an NFL Combine performance that did not impress.
He was expected to start the 2008 season for the Ravens, but he became ill before the first game of the year, and the Ravens had some success with rookie QB Joe Flacco. Call it a missed opportunity for Smith, because the Ravens haven’t looked back to him since, and Flacco has led the Ravens to three playoff wins over the last two years.
Smith has talent, but given his size, Al Davis may not be too interested in the young QB who is certainly awaiting a shot to prove himself.
Le’Ron McClain (25), Baltimore Ravens FB - Restricted Free Agent:
McClain was considered as one of the best fullbacks available in the 2007 NFL Draft, and drew comparisons to William Henderson. He was drafted with the 137th pick during the 4th round by the Baltimore Ravens.
During the 2008 season, McClain became the team's primary running-back as he rushed for a team-high 902 (3.9 average) yards and 10 touchdowns on 232 carries. He also caught 19 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. McClain's performance earned him a Pro Bowl selection, in which he scored a touchdown off of a Fumblerooski play handed off by former Denver Broncos Quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler put the ball between McClain's legs in which he ran in for a touchdown.
On December 29, 2009 McClain was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl as the fullback for the AFC.
Derrick Mason (36), Baltimore Ravens WR - Unrestricted Free Agent:
Mason started his career with the Oilers/Titans after being drafted in the 4th round (98th overall) in the 1997 NFL Draft. In his rookie season he played in 16 games recording 14 catches for 186 yards (sounds a little bit like DHB). He made his NFL debut versus the Oakland Raiders on August 31. The following season he again played in all 16 games and this time recording 25 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns.
Mason signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an unrestricted free agent on March 7, 2005. In his first year with the team, he started in all 16 games and recorded 86 receptions, a Ravens franchise season record. In 2007, Mason had 103 receptions for 1087 yards and five touchdowns. Mason became the first player in Ravens history to record 100 receptions. In 2008, Mason was selected as a third alternate wide receiver for the Pro Bowl. In 2008, he had 80 receptions for 1037 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.
On September 27, 2009 against the Cleveland Browns, Mason became the 23rd Wide Receiver in NFL history to have 800 career receptions. On December 20, 2009, against the Bears, Mason became the 16th receiver in NFL history to have 850 career receptions.
- All-purpose yards in a single season(2000): 2,659
- Kick return yards in a single postseason(1999): 437
Mark Clayton (28), Baltimore Ravens WR - Restricted Free Agent:
Clayton was the 22nd overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He started his rookie season slowly due to various injuries but picked up speed during the latter part of the season. He finished the year with 44 receptions for 471 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 8 rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown.
In his second year, his stats improved significantly, with 67 receptions for 939 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2007, Clayton had 48 receptions for 531 yards. Way down from his impressive 2006 season.
In 2008, Clayton had receptions of 70, 48, and 53 yards. He finished with 695 yards on 41 receptions and 3 touchdowns. In 2009, he had 34 catches for 480 yards and 2 touchdowns with a long catch of 54 yards.
Clayton is a young man with a tremendous upside, but he certainly a work in progress. Oakland may have too many "works in progress" to take a serious look at Clayton.
L.J. Smith (30), Baltimore Ravens TE - Unrestricted Free Agent:
Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. As a rookie he had 27 receptions for 321 yards and a touchdown. He had 34 receptions, 377 yards and five touchdowns in 2004. His touchdown total of five was the most in a season by an Eagles tight end since Chad Lewis posted six in 2001. Smith also made an impressive diving reception in the back of the end zone for the Eagles' first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIX.
He followed up his 2004 season with a strong 2005 campaign, hauling in 61 receptions for 682 yards (both career highs) and three touchdowns. In 2006 he had 50 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns. In 2007 he had only 22 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown.
On February 19, 2008 he was designated the franchise player of the Eagles. He finished the 2008 season with 37 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Smith signed a one-year, $1.5 million dollar deal with the Baltimore Ravens on March 20, 2009.
Smith appears to have leveled off after a great third year in the league, and with Oakland’s current stock in tight ends, they may never even glance at Smith.
Barry Cofield (26), New York Giants DT– Restricted FA (UFA-CBA):
Cofield was drafted by the New York Giants as the 124th pick in 2006 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 2006, he started all 16 regular season games and the NFC Wild Card Game at nose tackle and led the defensive line with 67 tackles (43 solo). He also had 22 QB pressures, 3 QB hits and 1.5 sacks.
In 2007, played in all 16 regular season games with 15 starts and started all 4 postseason games and finished with 41 tackles (21 solo), 1 sack, 6 QB hurries, 4 QB hits and 1 pass defended. In 2008 Cofield started 15 games, made 43 tackles and 3 sacks and forced a fumble.
In 2009, Cofield had 35 tackles (23 solo), 1 sack, 4 QB hits, and 11 hurries.
Cofield happens to play a position that is in high demand for the Oakland franchise. His size, 6’4" 306 lbs., and the fact that he played in a 4-3 where his former coach is now Oakland’s current coach, could make Cofield an interesting player to watch if he hits the market this year.
Osi Umenyiora - Disgruntled NYG possible trade bait:
Osi looked to get his career back on track in 2009, following a knee surgery that cost him the 2008 season. However, rather than a comeback year, he found himself being benched from his role as a starter in November.
Umenyiora told WFAN radio that, "I'm not going to be a back up player, I can promise you that, I'll stop playing football before I do that ever again. This has been just the worst offseason of my entire life. I can't even think of a time when things were this bad during the offseason. You're supposed to be relaxing, but I can't relax because all I can think of is the things that took place last season, you understand? So for me it's not something that I'm going to do. If I'm asked to come back there and do that then I'll just stop playing football."
"Obviously you come through a situation where you've been here for a long time and you've won Super Bowls, you've been to the Pro Bowl a couple of times, then things like that start happening, you start being benched and they say you're coming in on the third down rush, I think it almost seemed like the writing was on the wall at that particular time," he told the radio station. "I felt like I had worn out my welcome, because for certain people, no matter what happens, they'll never take them out of the lineup, you understand what I mean? So I felt that way. I felt like maybe it was my last year because of that situation."
Umenyiora’s contract runs through 2012.
Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals MLB - Unrestricted Free Agent:
Karlos was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals. Since being drafted, he has turned into one the NFL's most productive linebackers, recording 24.5 sacks and 9 interceptions, taking two back for scores. Dansby is 6’3", 251 lbs., and ran a 4.56 forty yard dash at the NFL combine in 2004.
He was named to Pro Football Weekly’s 2004 All-Rookie team after starting 12 games while accumulating 68 tackles, the most of any rookie on the team and recorded three fumble recoveries, one shy of the team rookie record for fumble recoveries.
In 2005, he became the first Cardinal linebacker to record two interception returns for touchdowns in a single season and finished the year with the first 100+ tackle season of his career with 103. He followed that by finishing 2006 with 94 tackles and eight sacks, both good for second on the team, despite missing two games due to injury. In 2007 he started all 14 games he played and led team with 117 tackles, marking second season with 100+ tackles.
On February 14, 2008, he was designated as the Cardinals' franchise player. He has been franchised twice by Arizona, in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, Dansby recorded 119 tackles, 4 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions, while helping the Cardinals make their first Super Bowl in team history. He followed up in 2009 with 109 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 6 tackles for loss, and 1 interception.
Jarrad Page (26), Kansas City Chiefs S - Restricted Free Agent (UFA-CBA):
Nicknamed The Raider Killer by Chiefs fans, Page has intercepted four balls against the Oakland Raiders dating back to his 2006 rookie season. Three of them have been in the red zone, and three of them have been game-winners, saving the Chiefs from a potential game-winning/tying drive.
Page entered 2009 having started in 32 consecutive games for the Chiefs, but was placed on IR this season.
However, he is an intelligent performer who is seemingly always around the football and has displayed an uncanny knack for making big plays in critical situations. Page has taken on a leadership role in the Kansas City secondary. He possesses an outstanding vertical leap and is a sure tackler. He is a fearless performer who has the ability and the mentality to deliver bone-jarring hits to receivers crossing the middle of the field. He has surprising closing speed for a man his size and isn’t afraid to cover receivers down the field.
Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs (27) - Restricted FA (UFA-CBA):
Johnson was drafted 15th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. After a month-long holdout by Johnson, he was signed by the Chiefs to a five year deal worth $10.4 million.
Johnson started every game for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005, becoming the first Chiefs linebacker in 20 years to start all 16 games of his rookie campaign. He was subsequently awarded the Mack Lee Hill Award by the Chiefs (presented to the most outstanding rookie). Johnson plays inside 3-4 linebacker position for the Chiefs.
Johnson’s terrific speed and anticipation allows him to be utilized in a variety of roles and excel at both rushing the passer and dropping into coverage. Excellent play recognition has allowed him to become a major presence in opponents’ backfields, as evidenced by his team-high 16 tackles for loss in 2007.
His production dropped in 2009 playing inside LB in the Chiefs 3-4 to 37 total tackles, despite playing in 15 of the 16 games during the year. In his first four seasons, he averaged 97.8 tackles per season at right outside LB.