Could we see yet another defensive overhaul in Oakland?

Jeff Zelevansky

The next best question would be; might that be a good thing?

The new regime has overhauled the Raiders defense in both of their first two seasons with the team and it is entirely possible it could happen again. With the way the defense as currently constructed is playing, it might just be the best option.

Here is the defensive as currently constructed (not including the practice squad players called up last week):

DT: Vance Walker, Pat Sims, Stacy McGee, Daniel Muir

DE: Lamarr Houston, Jason Hunter, Jack Crawford, Ryan Robinson

LB: Kevin Burnett, Nick Roach, Sio Moore, Miles Burris, Kaluka Maiava, Kaelin Burnett

CB: Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins, D.J. Hayden, Phillip Adams, Chimdi Chekwa

S: Charles Woodson, Tyvon Branch, Brandian Ross, Usama Young

Of these players, only the linebackers have all the starters still under contract after this season. And even that doesn't guarantee all three will be the starters next season.

On the flip side, the entire starting defensive line will see their contracts expire after the season. Lamarr Houston's rookie contract is up and he is the only one that the team should make a strong effort to bring back although Vance Walker and Pat Sims have both played well at times. They are both currently on one-year deals as is Jason Hunter.

The only starting player in the secondary under contract is Tyvon Branch who is playing on a restructured version of the big contract he received before the new regime came in. D.J. Hayden didn't start most of this season but is pegged to be a starter next season as the team's top pick in this year's draft.

All other members of the secondary, including backups, will see their contracts expire after this season.

Attempting to bring back Tracy Porter and Charles Woodson would be wise but it may not happen for either player.

Woodson has been pretty disappointed in the Raiders of late and he is 37 years old. It seems if he wants to stay in the NFL next season, it could be with another team he thinks of as more of a contender.

The deal for Porter has always been for him to show his stuff in one season to improve his marketability for a long term deal. That could come from anywhere. And, call me crazy, but I still think the way he was treated with regard to his number being stripped before training camp without his approval could be enough for him to choose to leave.

That's at least six of eleven defensive starters who may not be here next season and a total of 14 of 23 defensive players on the roster whose contracts are up.

Replacing six starters on the defense wouldn't be as much as the Raiders had last season when they replaced nine, but it would still be the greater portion of the defense.

The Raiders are set to have about $55 million in cap money to spend as well as 7 draft picks. With the way the defense has looked of late, one must assume a good amount of that money as well as draft picks will be used on the defensive side of the ball.

Which means yet again, this Raiders defense and next year's team could be almost unrecognizable. But really, what do they have to lose?

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