Raiders free agents to be allowed to speak with other teams

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Several Raiders are due to become free agents next week and the team isn't expected to lock them up prior to the free agent tampering period.

Free Agency is rapidly approaching and there has yet to be a peep out of Raiders headquarters with regards to re-signing any of their free agents. The next important date is March 9, which is the beginning of a three-day period in which teams will be allowed to contact the free agents of other teams. Free Agency will immediately follow on March 12 at which point those free agents can choose to sign.

Now, according to a source, the Raiders have no plans to make any moves this week which means all of the team's free agents will be free to speak with prospective teams and therefore gets a very good idea of their market value.

The Raiders key free agents are linebacker Philip Wheeler, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, punter Shane Lechler, and tight end Brandon Myers. They are the players who are expected to receive the most interest on the free agent market.

Myers told the Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group on Monday that he thinks the Raiders are ready to let him test the market outright.

"I'd like to be [in Oakland] but it's not looking like that right now," said Myers. "I guess I just have to stay patient and figure some stuff out."

Both Myers and Philip Wheeler have now openly expressed interest in returning to the team. The only thing we have heard from Desmond Bryant was his arrest and subsequent embarrassing mug shot. But he is still considered a top free agent target after his strong performances late last season. Even so, with no immediate deadline, the Raiders don't feel a sense of urgency to get a deal done with any of them.

In the meantime, the team can watch as the rest of the league unfolds. Then starting Saturday, these players and their agents will field calls and offers from other teams.

Talks with the Raiders should heat up on Monday, the day before free agency begins with both sides having a pretty clear idea of the market value of each. If it is a figure the Raiders are willing to pay, a deal will get done. If not, then they could be moving on.

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