Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers is gang tackled by several Oakland Raiders
Free agency began today at 1pm Pacific time and has been moving furiously non-stop since that time. At the time of this article, it has been about 10 hours since the ribbon was cut and the teams were off and running to seek out their prizes. And while there has yet to be a single incoming free agent to the Raiders or even a peep of a rumor, there has been a great deal of movement that affects them.
Let's lead off with the Raiders:
The first solid news of any kind was the news that Jason Campbell had signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears. This is a puzzling decision by Campbell who was thought to at very least hold out for the big name QB's to sign and try to find a starting gig somewhere. He will back up Jay Cutler in Chicago, putting him in the same situation he would have been in Oakland. Although, one can understand he needed to leave the Raiders after he had the rug pulled out from under him there.
Then there was the news that Chaz Schilens has been in high demand for visits. He has already visited Arizona to work out for the Cardinals and he is also visiting San Francisco to work out for the 49ers. Also reportedly interested in Schilens is the New York Jets.
Then the Raiders confirmed the release of tight end Kevin Boss. The word came out yesterday that he was to be released but the team went into free agency prior to making his release official and therefore hadn't yet freed up the $2.5 million in salary cap space that accompanied his departure. He is said to garner interest from his former, former team the New York Giants. Although they were also looking at Martellus Bennett of the Cowboys.
Then we move to the Chargers
They cut their longtime starting left tackle Marcus McNeil today and also lost their Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a monster deal with the Buccaneers. But the Chargers quickly responed to losing Jackson by signing Robert Meachem formerly of the Saints. They are hoping to re-sign Jared Gaither to replace McNeil at left tackle.
The Chargers also re-signed their center Nick Hardwick
Next up is the Chiefs
The Chiefs reportedly have their sights set on right tackle Eric Winston of whom the Raiders should very much be interested in signing. The Chiefs would like to replace their own free agent right tackle, Barry Richardson. If the Chiefs manage to sign Winston, that would be doubly bad for the Raiders. Because while Richardson was a revolving door, Winston is an outstanding tackle.
If the Chiefs sign him, it would be akin to last season when the Chargers signed Jared Gaither of whom had worked out for the Raiders in camp but left unsigned. The Raiders beat the Chargers in their first meeting with their starting left tackle injured. They then lost to them in the season finale due in large part to them having signed Gaither who protected Philip Rivers brilliantly. Now, as I had just mentioned, they are looking to make him their starter for the foreseeable future.
Two other players the Chiefs are targeting are tight end John Carlson and running back Mike Tolbert-- both of whom would be great fits with the Raiders. It would not be good if all these players who would strengthen the Raiders end up in a Chiefs uniform.
Last and certainly least is the Broncos
The big news of late is their push to try and sign Peyton Manning. If this were to happen, it would be disastrous and it would instantly make the Broncos the top team in the AFC West. If it doesn't happen, the Broncos will have only gotten worse today.
Their free agent wide receiver Eddie Royal visited the Redskins and reports had him signing a deal with them although conflicting reports have him leaving without a deal. But Royal will not be back with the Broncos, that much appears certain.
With their focus on wooing Peyton Manning, the Broncos have been as quiet as the Raiders.