The Oakland Raiders have a very big off season in front of them. After a four win season in 2012, the Raiders have the dubious honor of picking third in the 2013 NFL Draft. As a result, most of the tall surrounding the Raiders in recent weeks has been focused on who the Raiders will take in the draft.
But long before the Raiders get to the draft, they need to first do their best to keep some of their players hitting free agency. But that may be easier said than done. ESPN AFC West blogger Bill Williamson posted a list of his top ten free agents in the AFC West and not only do the Raiders have four of the top ten, they have the number one free agent in Brandon Myers.
In addition to the tight end who has a breakout season in 2012, Desmond Bryant (5), Shane Lechler (8) and Philip Wheeler (4) all made the top ten list. When you take Lechler, who is all but gone, out of the picture, the Raiders are looking at trying to re-sign three of the top five free agents in the division. Not an easy task for a team that only just got under the salary cap this week, and only barely so.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, not only are Wheeler, Bryant and Myers good players, they also play at positions of need for the Raiders. Howeverm considering how bad the defense has been, keeping two solid defensive players is critical. Especially considering the lack of depth at the linebacker and defensive tackle positions. That means if the Raiders fail to sign one of these players, Myers is the most likely candidate.
Behind Myers in the Raiders depth chart are David Ausberry and Richard Gordon. Both guys are young and have some upside, but both players are also one trick ponies. Ausberry is a pass catcher and Gordon is a blocker. The nice thing is that both guys are pretty good at what they do. The down side is that their presence on the field is likely to signal s run or a pass play to the defense. It's not great depth, but it's better than the depth at DT or ROLB.
The Raiders will obviously try and clear more cap space before trying to re-sign any of these guys, but even then, will have a hard time affording all of them. Lechler is not even in the question because of cap issues and after the season that the other three players had in 2012 will allow them to command some valuable contracts this off season.