The Raiders have 18 free agents this year, including some big names who have been with the club for many years. Shane Lechler, Richard Seymour, Philip Wheeler, and Brandon Myers. There are also a number of key contributors who have the potential to develop into starters: Desmond Bryant, Philip Adams, and Mike Mitchell. The full list of FA's is below extracted from Pro Football Focus.
In addition to the FA's the team has a number of potential cap casualty candidates as outlined by Levi Damien on February 5th:
Most people would argue that 2013 is another opportunity to purge the roster of long standing cancers, but players need to be evaluated on an individual basis to asses their status going forward.
Shane Lechler: The longest tenured Raider on the list (13 years), is definitely a fan favorite. At 36, however, Lechler had one of his worst seasons as a pro. The drop off in average (3.6 yards) seems small, but his total yardage by dropped by 143 while punting an extra 3 times. If you look at it in this light, Lechler gave up at least an extra 2 scoring drives in punting distance. Also his percentage pinned inside the 20 dropped by almost 10%. Lechler has never been known for his Coffin kicks, but last year was particularly bad.
Marquette King is waiting in the wings and has a monster, yet inconsistent, leg. All things considered Lechler is probably a commodity the Raiders cannot afford.
Desmond Bryant: is arguably the most important player on this list. After all, the two opening day starters at DT (Seymour and Kelly) are also on this list. As has been discussed on this site, Bryant has received a high FA rating from Pro Football Focus due to his efficiency while on the field. While only playing as a backup he has recorded 8 sacks over the past two seasons, which is good for an interior defender.
Philip Wheeler: The prize of the 2012 FA class could wind up being the prize of the 2013 class. Wheeler excelled in his first season outside of the cover 2 defense. Recording 109 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles Wheeler was the leader of the 2012 defense.
The rest of the league has surely taken note of his improved play, but he must be brought back at a reasonable cost.
Richard Seymour: Most will argue that Seymour's departure is a forgone conclusion. The man has drained the raiders cap in a way only rivaled by Javon Walker. He did, however, have several productive years in Oakland, and deserves a statistical breakdown as a parting gift. Some may be suprised to hear that Seymour has ranked 6th in the NFL in pressures over the past 3 years among interior lineman:
Wait, Wait, Wait.... but he had over 1200 snaps, so he had more opportunities to pressure the QB. Well it actually turns out that he was pretty efficient; 9th in the NFL to be exact.
Obviously a defense that has struggled for the most part over the last 3 years has its issue, and the Raiders is run defense. Seymour is one of the poster-children for poor run defense. Seymour only was disruptive on 5% of the run plays he was in for.
Additionally, Seymour will already be counting for $13.714 million in cap money despite the fact that he won't be on the team. Couple that with his worn out knees and questionable influence on the team and Seymour should be on his way out.
Mike Goodson: Arguably out-performed McFadden when given the opportunity. Amongst RB's with 99 or fewer carries Goody was ranked 14, which is solid. This is a ranking generated by Pro Football Focus which adjust yardage based off of the situation the player performs in.
In receiving he was ranked #2 among players with less than 25 receptions.
Goodson played well last year in the zone scheme, but with a change back to PBS he may be a poor fit. Furthermore, the Raiders will likely pursue a RB with a bigger frame to help better compliment McFadden in the redzone.
Philip Adams: was the one bright spot among a terrible secondary last year. He had two interceptions in limited playing time last year. He should definitely be resigned at a low cost.
Joselio Hanson: Joselio was picked up to man the slot position last year, and performed admirably. He had 2 interceptions last year and played tough defense. Below is a breakdown of the Raiders performance against different types of receivers. While the outside corners performed predictably bad against #1 and 2 recievers, Joselio ranked 7th in the league against his slot opponents.
|vs. #1 WR||vs. #2 WR||vs. Other WR||vs. TE||vs. RB|
Joselio did struggle on a per snap basis, though compared to other CB's. Below are his statistics for yards and TD/1st downs allowed, he ranked 4th and 9th worst in the league respectively.
1st downs and TD's allowed
Yards Per Coverage Snap – Bottom 15
Joselio should be let go.
Derek Hagan: Gone, simple as that. The team has a lot of homegrown talent.
Andre Carter: Carter joined the team late last season and seamed to pick up momentum towards the end of the year. He recorder 2.5 sacks coming off of major surgery and should continue to improve to the extent that his 33 year old frame allows. Statistics show that he has been performing at an elite level over the last 3 years, despite being south of 30. over the last 3 years he ranks 11th in tackling efficiency among edge rushers. Couple that with the fact that he is a year removed from a 10 sack season, and there is reason to believe there is at least one year left in the tank.
Carter should be resigned for a reasonable contract.
Cooper Carlisle: The myth behind Carlisle is that he has performed well and remained durable throughout his tenure in Oakland. the 35 year old guard has shifted left to right side, and zone to PBS to zone again, and remained the starter without missing time. The truth of the matter, is that the Raiders would have been better off without Cooper in the lineup. Over the past three years no player has allowed more QB pressures than carlisle. In fact he surpasses the next closest player by 14 pressures.
This kind of gross inefficiency can not be allowed to continue.
Shawntae Spencer, Omar Gaither, and Matt Leinert: Gone... just gone.
Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell: The backup safety group is a solid one, if at time inefficient. The truth is the Raiders could do much worse than both of these players. Giordano has become a punching bag on this site due to a few blown coverage's, but he is a backup, and he was playing behind some terrible CB's. Giordano has 7 picks over the last two years, and Mitchell is the kind of hard nosed enforcer you want in a backup SS. Giordano, also, allowed the lowest catch rate for a safety in the AFC West at 40.0%.
Khalif Barnes: Barnes has performed at a meh status for the past few years. Barnes struggles mightily with the speed rushers that are prevalent in the Raiders division. Him returning will depend on Reggie's ability to find someone better in the draft or FA.
Matt Shaunessy: Looked like an up and comer two years ago with 7 sacks, but ever since he was injured he has never recovered. He should only be brought back at a minimum contract.
Brandon Myers: This site has already examined his unusually low FA rating coming off his career year. His low rating has to do with his poor blocking skills. The Raiders can't get suckered into an elite contract for Myers as he is only a short range passing target. Below is his stats based on Yards per Route Run (YPRR). This stat shows that Myers got most of his yardage off of dumps, and failed to get open down field.
YPRR Top and Bottom 10:
among the cap casulties only two players warrant further review (Kelly and DHB), the rest should be cut.
Tommy Kelly: Kelly is much like Seymour, a veteran DT who excels in pass rushing, but struggles in run support. Kelly is #9 in pressures over the last 3 years as an interior lineman, but only has a 3.9% run stoppage rate (41st in the league).
The situation with Kelly is different from Seymour's, however, in that he is still under contract. Kelly is a year younger and has remained healthy for the most part (hasn't missed a game in 5 years). Kelly is slated to make $13.5 million over the next few years, which is unacceptable. He could however take a pay cut or be resigned at a much lower rate. He is clearly a productive pass rusher, and could be used situation-ally on 3rd down for the right price.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: No one bore the brunt of Knapp's inadequacies as an OC than McFadden, a close runner up though was DHB. DHB had a Breakout year in 2011 in Jackson's offense, almost reaching 1000 yards. Knapp's offense, however, caused him to regress drastically, and now he is on the cap bubble. While his yardage dipped he did have a career high 5 TD's last year, and he has drastically reduced his drop percentage over the last 4 years:
- 2009: 45.7%
- 2010: 35.71%
- 2011: 21.21%
- 2012: 8.57%.
There is no doubt DHB is over-payed at $7.721 million this year, but hopefully he will re-structure. He seemed to do well with comeback routes in Jackson's system, hopefully Olson will return to this strategy.
While another year of massive turnover may be good from a morale standpoint, there are some salvageable players in this group. Reggie would be well advised to examine each player carefully when determining who should stay and go.