Congrats Raiders fans, we made it past another awful season with several holes. Lucky for us our front office is finally showing some patience and continuity and we're letting Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen build their team. With $70M of cap space, and a complete draft, we can finally evaluate the Raiders brass as the first two seasons were widely considered a lost cause.
This is a state your offseason plan here thread for all members to take part in
Without further ado, I will open up by posting my entire offseason plan for the Oakland Raiders
Raiders 2014 Offseason
Retain coaching staff
Per a league source, the Raiders currently have only $57 million in 2014 salary-cap commitments. Assuming a 2014 cap in the range of $125 million, this gives the Raiders $68 million to work with.
Throw in their remaining 2013 space of $2.7 million (which can automatically be carried over), and it puts them over $70.7 million under the cap.
Set aside $12.7M for Draft Picks
Jared Veldheer, LT (5 years, $40M)
This is the biggest priority and test for Reggie McKenzie. Veldheer is one of the best LTs in the game and he deserves to get paid like one. Many analysts said this was going to be his pro bowl season during the off-season. Unfortunately he suffered a huge blow, missing most of the year.
Pat Sims, NT (3 years, $9M)
Sims showed a lot of flashes and improvement down the stretch. Not only was he a very good run stuffer. PFF has him graded highly and this is their insight: Sims can generate pressure, but it’s against the run that he is best, controlling his blockers and getting himself in the running lane to blow things up at the line of scrimmage. If this is the guy the Raiders can get going forward they have made a great addition.
Charles Woodson, FS (1 year, $2M (Base Salary))
This is a deal similar to what he received this season but there will probably be less incentives and a lower signing bonus. Woodson stated he wants to be a Raider and he’ll only be better with Branch alongside.
Khalif Barnes, OL (1 year, $840k)
In the wake of all the issues along the OL, Barnes was the only one who stayed healthy. He has his disciplinary issues, but the Raiders players love him and he did a good job filling in at LT. Plus he provides good depth because he can play any position on the OL except center.
Tracy Porter, CB (1 year, $1.5M)
Porter was far from great this season as the Raiders starter but he has versatility and good ball skills. At this price, you won’t find much better who can play the slot role.
Rashad Jennings, RB (2 years, $3M)
Does this really need an explanation? Jennings was awesome behind a patchwork banged up OL and was the Raiders best RB by far. We’d be smart to lock him up for a couple of years and let him compete for another jab at starting in 2014.
Vance Walker, DT (1 year, $2M)
Walker was forced to play all over the place on the DL due to injuries, but when he was playing DT he was a good run plugger and graded out positive by PFF. He would be a good guy to bring back.
Tony Pashos, OT (1 year, $840k)
Depth signing here, Pashos did pretty well or us at RT, and he may even have to start again if Watson can’t stay healthy. Prior to week 17, Pashos has earned a respectable +3.2 grade in pass protection, giving up just 25 total pressures on 368 pass-blocking snaps.
Usama Young, SS (1 year, 840k)
Young was a pretty good depth safety for us. He had some versatility finishing with 2.5 sacks, 26 tackles and a pick, before getting injured in week 13.
Total cap hit: $20.5M
Greg Hardy, DE (6 years, $66 Million)
Face it Raider Nation, Houston is leaving. He doesn’t want to be a part of the Raiders and who blames him? We forced him to lose weight to play OLB in 3-4 sets. Hardy was a stud this season; he finished with 15 sacks and 59 tackles. Named to his first pro bowl, he was a beast in the run game as well.
Brent Grimes, CB (3 years, $21M)
Grimes signed a one year "prove it" deal with the Dolphins coming off an Achilles injury and played absolutely amazing in response. He led the league in passes defensed and allowed zero touchdowns. He was shut down and was one of the best CBs in football. His age (30) and injury concerns will hopefully keep his price tag reasonable, but if needed, Raiders shouldn’t hesitate to spend. CB was a huge issue for the second year in a row.
Michael Bennett, DE (3 years, $21M)
Bennett is the ultimate Reggie McKenzie type player. He’s a hard working DL who can play both 4-3 DT and DE, as well as 3-4 DE. His versatility will make Jason Tarver salivate and he can kick inside or serve as an edge rusher whenever needed.
Matt Slauson, OG (2 years, $4M)
Slauson signed a one year deal with Chicago worth less than $1M and severely outplayed his contract. PFF ranks him as the fifth best OG in the league. There were rumors he was being pursued by OL coach Tony Sporano last off season, who worked with him on the Jets. Sporano would be stupid to let him go this time around. Slauson would also be smart to reunite with his former OC considering what magic Sporano did during the regular season.
Total Cap hit: $27M
Left Over: $10.5M for roster fillers and carry over
1st Round: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA (6'4/248)
The Raiders have no true pass rusher on the team and are thus forced to blitz excessively, which has obviously given us a disadvantage. Here, we get a legit DE/OLB pass rushing hybrid who can immediately step in and play the Von Miller type role. Barr gives us versatility on defense. Barr is a RB who played defense for the first time last year and recorded 13.5 sacks. This season he has 10 sacks, but to go along with 62 tackles (20 tackles for loss) and 5 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries. Running a 4.48 40 (via CBS), Barr is the perfect combination of size and speed and will only get better.
2nd Round: Bryan Stork, C, FSU (6’4/312)
Stork was dominant this season as both a run blocker and pass blocker. He played a vital role on FSU’s exuberant offense. His medical concerns could have him fall. You can never have too much OL depth and this allows Wiz to get a lot more time at guard. This could be a great pick in the long term, and even short term, he has the ability to be starter day one.
3rd Round: Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington (5'10/203)
Honestly I would be ecstatic if we were able to land Sankey in the early third round. He is simply a workhorse who can really do it all and was one of the best RBs in college football this season finishing with 1775 yards at 5.8 ypc and 18 TDs. Fortunately, Sankey is very under-appreciated and could thus end up slipping to the early third. McFadden is as good as gone and the coaches would be smart to give Latavius Murray and Sankey more of the rock.
4th Round: Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida (6'0/187)
Mike Jenkins, Tracy Porter, and Philip Adams will all be free agents and playing in a division with Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and all sorts of electrifying receivers, we need all the secondary help we can get. I think Reggie will go after some quality CBs in FA (See Grimes) but taking a CB in the mid rounds would be smart. Watkins recorded 54 tackles with seven passes broken up in his senior season. He had some miscues against Miami, but generally played well. Watkins would be starting for most teams in the country and did well filling in while Marcus Roberson was injured. Watkins is a sleeper prospect who has a good athletic skill set - it runs in his family - and could be a mid-round steal.
4th round (comp): Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech (6'6/262)
This is a brief timeline of Thomas' college career:
2011: Had an exceptional season. Thomas set the school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in 2011, running for 627 yards and 11 scores. The first-year starter completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,013 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He portrayed a skill set similar to Cam Newton.
2012: Thomas was an utter disappointment, particularly in terms of accuracy completing only 51% of his passes for 2,976 yards and 18 TDs with 16 INTs. He added 726 yards on the ground with 9 TDs, but his passing was awful.
2013: This season, Thomas made a lot of improvements regarding accuracy, decision making, and pocket presence. He had an up and down year, but a lot of it was attributed to terrible receiver play. He finished completing 57% of his passes for 2,861 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions (only nine excluding a disastrous game against Duke).
Reggie would be smart to take a QB he likes some point in the draft after the first three rounds as the Raiders continue to search for their answer at QB. The big armed QB has the size, arm and mobility to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he could be a project that really pays off.
4th round (comp): Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford (6'4/277)
Gardner is well respected by coaches and has a straight up knack for getting to the QB and causing havoc in the backfield. In just 8 games this season, he had 4.5 sacks, 9 hurries, and 7.5 tackles for a loss. Our current DE opposite of Houston is Jason Hunter who many scouts don't even consider NFL caliber. We've been forced to start a multitude of different DTs there so Gardener would be a big help. He's probably going to go higher, but maybe a torn pectoral muscle could shy teams away.
6th round: Deandre Coleman, DT, Cal (6'5/315)
Vance Walker, Pat Sims, and Daniel Muir will all be FAs. We're gonna need some DT depth and Coleman was an elite run stuffer for the Golden Bears and really their lone bright spot this season. He also chipped in with 2.5 sacks
6th round (comp): Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson (6'3/315)
Here, the Raiders would like an upgraded depth over Lucas Nix and Lamar Mady. Thomas has been a vital and very consistent part of Clemson's high powered offense the past 35 consecutive games he's started.
7th round: Isiah Lewis, S, Michigan State (5'10/205)
7th round (via Cardinals): Chad Abram, FB, FSU (6'0/229)
Abram is a young Vonta Leach clone, but with FB being a dying breed he is sure to fall. He is a hard noised converted safety who does a lot for FSU including pass blocking, run blocking, pass catching, and running.
Final Depth Chart:
HB: Rashad Jennings, Bishop Sankey, Latavius Murray
LT: Jared Veldheer, Khalif Barnes
LG: Matt Slauson, Tony Bergstrom
C: Stefen Wisniewski, Bryan Stork
RG: Mike Brisiel, Brandon Thomas, Lamar Mady
RE: Greg Hardy, Ben Gardner, Ryan Robison
DT: Vance Walker, Deandre Coleman
NT: Pat Sims, Stacy McGee
DE: Michael Bennett, Jack Crawford
FS: Charles Woodson, Usama Young, Isiah Lewis
SS: Tyvonn Branch, Brandian Ross
Specific Passing down front 7 set: (expect to see this a lot)
DE: Greg Hardy
DT: Pat Sim/Vance Walker
DT: Michael Bennett
DE: Anthony Barr
This is what DA did back when he was DC with Denver and he tried to do it a lot this year with Sio Moore playing the Barr role. Barr, Hardy, and Bennett will make this all the more deadly.
· Expect more touches with Reece at both TE and WR in the passing game as well as taking some handoffs.
· Expect a lot more 3-4 sets.