Manny Lawson #99 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after breaking up a pass
Let me start off by saying that with the impending departure of Kamerion Wimbley, the dream scenario would be to replace him with Mario Williams. However, outside of Peyton Manning, there isn't a more coveted free agent on the market. As unfriendly as Wimbley's contract is, Williams' contract would be equally so.
The team is in need of linebacker help regardless. If they lose Wimbley, which it appears they will, they will be in even more need. The team has locked down Aaron Curry for the next couple of seasons at a great price and he is expected to man one outside linebacker spot. But without Wimbley, there is a gaping hole at the other outside linebacker spot. Currently there is no one on the team to fill it.
With the need to replace Wimbley at outside linebacker looming along with much needed depth at the position, the team could make a splash in free agency. Here are the best options out there:
Jarret Johnson (BAL)- Talk about a body of work. He has played in and started every single game at outside linebacker for the Ravens tough defense for the past five seasons. At nearly 31, he shows no signs of slowing down. If the Raiders want him, they may have to outbid Rex Ryan and the Jets though. That could prove difficult.
Manny Lawson (CIN)- Started every game his last two seasons in San Francisco. His linebackers coach during those seasons was Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. Lawson is almost the exact size and weight of Wimbley and would fill in for him quite nicely. Lawson's best season came in 2009 under Tarver in which he had 6.5 sacks and 66 tackles from the outside linebacker spot. He started all but one game last season for the Bengals last season, recording 57 combined tackles.
Wesley Woodyard (DEN)- Though he has had just 15 starts in his four seasons in Denver, he appears to be poised become a starter. Last season he had 90 tackles for Dennis Allen and the Broncos. Though the jury is still out on his pass rushing skills as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he is great in coverage.
Matt Roth (JAX)- He replaced Wimbley in Cleveland in 2010 and had his best tackle numbers (86) of his career. How weird would it be if he replaced Wimbley again in Oakland? He has played both defensive end and outside linebacker and has had a solid, albeit unspectacular, career with at least three sacks every season but his rookie year.