Derek Hagan and the Raiders have had an on again, off again relationship a couple times the past two seasons. He was in camp with the Raiders in 2011 and spent the first half of the season with the team. He was cut two weeks after the team acquired Carson Palmer in a trade because Hue Jackson wanted to give Palmer a familiar target - TJ Houshmandzadeh.
The Raiders and their new regime re-signed Hagan again prior to last season. This time he stayed through the entire season. He was a pretty reliable target for the Raiders and their depleted and overall unreliable receiving corps. He played in 14 games with 2 starts and caught 20 passes for 259 yards -- his best numbers since his second NFL season in 2007.
The journeyman wide receiver was on a one-year deal, which is something he has become quite familiar in his six seasons in the NFL. That means he is a free agent yet again. This isn't any reflection on Hagan from the Raiders perspective. They gave most of their free agent acquisitions one-year deals last offseason due to a prohibitive salary cap situation.
I caught up with him this week to ask him about his current prospects.
"I'm not sure," said Hagan. "Obviously I'm currently a free agent. We're just going through that process right now and just seeing how things go. I prefer to stay a Raider but if there's other opportunities out there, of course I'm going to look into them just to see if that's the right situation for me, and if not, we'll just go from there.
"I've talked to the Raiders before we left, as soon as the season was over. In their opinion, they would love to bring me back but you just never know, you never know this time of year because so much stuff goes on."
Teams know what they're getting with Derek Hagan. He isn't flashy, he comes to work, and he is a dependable possession receiver. One of the themes this offseason with the signings the Raiders have had is hungry, under-the-radar guys, "hard hat" type guys.
The primary reason the Raiders must seek out the hidden gems is the number of holes they have to fill and a limited amount of money in which to do it.
One reason they have so many holes is the players they released due to their bloated salaries. One such player was Darrius Heyward-Bey. That release ups the odds Hagan would return to the team but it's also a bittersweet situation due to the two being teammates much of the past two seasons.
"It's unfortunate for a good friend of mine, DHB to get let go yesterday it's just crazy," said Hagan. "You never know what happens. A lot of guys are happy about free agency but you know when a new league year starts, a lot of guys are gonna get released also."
There are no elite receiver options left in free agency and very few good options on the whole. For that reason alone, bringing back a guy like Hagan makes a lot of sense. He has no plans or wishes to be anywhere else.
"I have not worked out for any other teams," said Hagan. "But, like I said, I prefer to come back to Oakland/Alameda, I love the city and we'll just see where it goes in the next few weeks."