Grading Raiders 2013 off-season moves: Offensive Backfield

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Moving to the offensive side of the ball as I hand out the grades for the Raiders moves in their backfield.

The offensive has had a lot less turnover the past couple years than the defense. Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, and Marcel Reece all returned as the starters last season from the 2011 season that looked pretty good offensively.

Last year, there was little semblance of that great offense left. The new regime brought an old face with them in Greg Knapp and the west coast offense, Darren McFadden couldn't get going with the new zone blocking scheme, and Michael Bush left in free agency leaving no solid replacement in the lineup when McFadden went down with injury. It was a disaster.

Here is what the team has done this off-season to try and improve the backfield:

Departures

QB Carson Palmer - Palmer has been traded to the Cardinals. According to him, the Raiders made him an offer that had no guarantees in it which he, of course, turned down. He also wasn't keen on being on a rebuilding team this late in his career. The Raiders will take a step back with his departure. He also leaves behind $9.34 million in dead money.

RB Mike Goodson - The team traded for him last off-season and after one year with the team in which he averaged over six yards per carry, he was allowed to leave as a free agent.

Additions

QB Matt Flynn - At least the Raiders made sure they had someone in place before they shipped Carson Palmer out. They traded a couple late round picks in future drafts to get Flynn. Flynn could be their new franchise quarterback or he could be a placeholder until they get something better. We won't know until he plays - something of which he has done very little in his five-year NFL career. His salary plus the dead money left by trading Palmer end up being more than the $15 million cap hit Palmer represented if he were still on the team.

Breakdown: The story right now is at quarterback with Carson Palmer being replaced by Matt Flynn. Even if this were a lateral move, that still leaves the team with the same depth issues they already had. Running back has even worse depth issues. Darren McFadden is still here but he has never played a full season. Marcel Reece is here but he is a fullback, not a running back. There is no evidence the Raiders even sniffed at the idea of signing a free agent running back.

Backfield grade: D

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