While the post-Thanksgiving bargain hunters are rushing stores and trampling young children and the elderly to get that discounted flat screen TV, the Raiders have a few of their own bargain players to think about.
This off-season, Raiders general manager, Reggie McKenzie, had no choice but to bargain shop. He signed a few players to multiple year contracts but most of the contracts he doled out were one-year ‘prove it' deals. There are a lot of players who are more than willing to sign such deals because they believe if given the chance to prove themselves, they can earn a longer, more lucrative deal once the season is up.
That ‘prove it' mentality worked just fine for this team this season. And the low cost of those deals worked just as well. And unlike last season's one-year deals, the Raiders will be able to afford to retain pretty much any of the guys they want from this season.
So, which of those players on one year deals should the Raiders bring back for another season or sign to a long term deal?
RB Rashad Jennings - Over the month of November, Jennings was second only to Adrian Peterson in rushing yards. Need any more proof that he is a starting running back in the NFL? I don't. Darren McFadden is a free agent this off-season too. The Raiders will not be bringing him back. They need to make Jennings the priority.
CB Tracy Porter - He has been the best cornerback on this team this season. That isn't saying a whole lot considering how bad this unit has been overall, but it would be a tall order to overhaul the position completely. He plays both the boundary as well as the slot. He played under Dennis Allen in New Orleans when they won a Super Bowl together. They speak the same language. If Allen is back, Porter absolutely should be as well.
S Charles Woodson - So what if he's 37 years old. He doesn't look to me like he's lost anything and is a great leader on this team. The fans still adore him and he is glad to be back with the Raiders. Another one-year deal at least is in order.
DT Vance Walker - He has played well at times. Certainly enough to justify the Raiders' interest in him. He is among the league leaders in quarterback hurries. Unless he chooses to go elsewhere, the Raiders should make him an offer to return.
DT Pat Sims - Sims is having probably his best season as a pro. The question always lingers of how long he can keep it up or when he will go down injured. So far, he hasn't shown signs of slowing down and deserves a shot to return on a multi-year deal unless the team plans to make his position a priority in the draft (which they probably should have done this season).
S Usama Young - Why he hasn't been the starter ahead of Brandian Ross is a mystery to me. He outplays Ross everytime he steps on the field. He too played under Dennis Allen in New Orleans. Same deal applies as with Porter.
OT Matt McCants - A big surprise was McCants who has moved ahead of a healthy Menelik Watson on the depth chart. He was a sixth round pick just last season and has shown the kind of skills that got him drafted. He shouldn't be difficult to bring back in case he can keep proving valuable.
Some value there
CB Phillip Adams - Adams has played well in as a fill-in the past couple seasons. The Raiders need to get stronger overall at the position but Adams can still make for valuable depth.
OT Tony Pashos - Was a pleasant surprise as the starter early this season. Deserves a shot to be the guy next season as well. If the Raiders give the job to Watson, Pashos would be solid depth.
LB Kaelin Burnett - Really just to keep his brother Kevin happy. Kevin has played quite well for the Raiders. Kaelin plays pretty well on special teams so he isn't simply taking up a roster spot.
Let ‘em walk
CB Mike Jenkins - Relies way too much on closing speed and not enough on technique. The Raiders need to make his position a priority... again.
OT Khalif Barnes -Barnes has seemed on his way out for going on three years now, and his penalties can very frustrating. He has played well at times and has showed some versatility but the Raiders appear ready to move on from him in favor of some youth.
DE Jason Hunter - Has been mostly invisible all season at the right defensive end position. He is considered more of a run defender than a pass rusher although his tackle numbers don't really show it. He shouldn't be a starter and with the team looking to upgrade his position, he could contribute in a reserve role.
S Brandian Ross - They seem to like him well enough to keep starting him. But not as much as the opposing quarterback likes him.
RB Jeremy Stewart - Plays well on special teams but at his actual position, he doesn't see the field.
OG/C Andre Gurode - Has been valuable as a backup this season but will be 36 in March.
TE Jeron Mastrud - Decent as a blocker but offers almost nothing as a receiver. At a position well overdue for a big upgrade.
Daniel Muir - Absolutely nothing against Muir's play on the field. He has been quite good at times. But the team is high on Stacy McGee and will look to add more solid young talent at defensive tackle this off-season; likely in the draft.