With the great work Reggie McKenzie has done the past two years to get the cap situation cleared up the Oakland Raiders are heading into the off-season with over 55 million in cap space according to Spottrac.com. The pain of back to back 4-12 seasons should finally be over. As a 21 year old raider fan I have never seen much success over my journey as a diehard raider fan. It has been a very long 10 plus years. Since being from the New England area it has been very tough to see the success the Patriots have had over that time. The past decade has been a very dark one for raidernation but I can't help but hope the next decade will be a very bright one. This year's free agency period is the most important period since I have been a raider fan.
First we must resign our in house talent first-
Joe Thomas the best LT in the NFL and he gets an average of 11.5 million per year until 2019 he also received 28.5 million in guaranteed money. While Veldheer has shown he is an elite LT he is not Joe Thomas.
Potential Contract: 6 years 51 million, guaranteed 17 million
This has Veldheer making 8.5 million for 6 years with 17 million guaranteed totaling 68 million. I believe this is a fair contract for Veldheer who is 26 years old and would be in line for another massive contract at the age of 32.
Lamarr expressed that Dennis Allen would want to move on from him because he was not the right fit for their scheme well that could be farthest from the truth according to Allen. Charles Johnson one of the most underrated players in the NFL gets an average of 12.6 million per year until 2017 he also received 32 million in guaranteed money. I believe Houston is an elite talent but not up to Johnson's level quite yet.
Potential Contract: 5 years 35 million, guaranteed 13 million
If Houston took this salary offer it would have him making 7 million for 5 years with 13 million guaranteed at the end of this contract he would have earned 47 million. Just like Veldheer he would be in line for another huge payday at the end of this deal as Houston would only be 32 years old.
I could see Woodson realistically playing another 3-4 years. He was born to play for the Oakland Raiders. Next year most likely will be his last year so this would be a one year deal for him.
Potential Contract: 1 year 2.5 million, guaranteed 2 million
This would be an increase of 1 million from last year's 3.5 million. He would make 4.5 million. It's not about the money for Woodson anymore he knows he has plenty left to offer. The Raider organization has such love for him and he understands that.
Tracy played very well at times for Oakland this previous season. He has Super Bowl experience which very few players on this roster have. Tracy plays hard for his team and that’s what we need at the CB position. An ideal fit for him his nickel back. With teams using smaller slot receivers Tracy would be a great matchup with them.
Potential Contract: 2 years 5 million, guaranteed 1 million
Tracy played on a one year "prove it deal" last season and he proved that he was worth 6 million for 2 seasons. This is a favorable deal for both sides.
Young should have been starting as soon as Branch went down instead of B.Ross. Usama played excellent for the time he was on the field and was a great pick up last year by McKenzie. With Branch returning healthy and hopefully Woodson returning next year Usama should be the number 3 safety without question.
Potential Contract: 3 years 4 million, guaranteed 1 million
Usama is great depth without question. When watching Raider games last year he was often making big plays. This contract would be fair for both sides Usama has never really been a full time starter in his career but he has a contract that could make him 5 million for 3 seasons not bad for a career back up.
McKenzie's best free agent pick up as GM so far. When McFadden went down Rashad saw an opportunity and literally ran with it. Rashad proved that he could be a top 15 NFL back if given the opportunity as well as being a great fit with the current power blocking scheme.
Potential Contract: 3 years 14 million, guaranteed 3 million
Jennings turn his "one year prove it deal" into some serious cash. With this contract he would make 4.6 million a year for three years. Including his guaranteed 3 million he would have made 17 million for three seasons. Not bad for a guy who signed a one year 630,000 deal last season.
Vance played a little above average with his "one year prove it deal" Vance was a great part of the early season run defense effort that lasted about the first 12 games of the season. Walker is more of a backup but a quality backup. It would be wise to sign him for depth.
Potential Contract: 3 years 4 million, guaranteed 2 million
This would be a fair contract for Walker but he might be expecting a little more than 1.3 million a season. It's more likely he will sign another one year deal somewhere else. I can't see Oakland offering much more than that.
I think it’s time to give this man a multi-year deal! Barnes can be a very frustrating player at times. But he is actually pretty decent at his job. While I would like not to see him on in the starting lineup he would be a great back up to either tackle spot or guard spot.
Potential Contract: 2 years 4 million, guaranteed 1.5 million
Barnes stepped up big while Veldheer was out. Many fans thought he would not stand a chance on the left side but he actually played much better than people thought. Tony Sparano most likely is the reason for that. Oakland needs depth everywhere Barnes would be a quality piece.
Many fans may not want this guy back. But when watching him last year he was the best tackling DB on the field he delivered big hits to receivers. While his coverage's skills are poor he does play with intensity and effort something that cannot be ignored when talking about DBs. He would provided quality depth but should be removed out of the starting line-up
Potential Contract: 2 years 3 million, guaranteed 500,000
Jenkins showed that he enjoys playing the game and wants to win. He's been capable of playing at a pro bowl level and with the right coaching he should reach that level once again.
I highly doubt all of these players will get resigned but these players make the most sense of investing more time and money into building a consistent winner over the next few years.
Now we will go over the free agents from other teams by position that the Raiders REALISTICALLY could bring in.
Vick still can be a starting NFL QB for a franchise like the Raiders. He is 33 years old but still has talent left. With Greg Olson I believe Vick could make the Raiders into a respectful Offense. Now Vick's problems has been turnovers and injury issues but it would be worth the risk to see if he can be the Oakland Raider starter at the start of the 2014 season.
Potential Contract: 2 years 6 million, guaranteed 2 million
It wouldn't be about money for Vick as he has signed two 100 million dollar contracts in his career. I am a little gun shy about drafting a QB in the top 5 after JaMarcus Russell. I think Vick would be great for a short period of time and could be great for the development of Terrelle Pryor.
Ahmad would be a great spell back for Jennings. Bradshaw has proven to be an effective runner in the NFL. Coming off a season ending injury he will most likely be happy to take any contract that comes his way. He would be worth adding for the price Oakland would have to pay
Potential Contract: 1 year 850,000, guaranteed 300,000
James has been a decent runner since his time in the NFL. He has never been given one year to fully prove himself of being a 20 carry back. The Green Bay connection is obvious since McKenzie probably knows James very well.
Potential Contract: 1 year 750,000 guaranteed 100,000
Kenny Britt has been in Tennessee dog house for some time now. But he possesses some serious talent and size that the Raiders have been looking for. It would be worth seeing if Britt would consider coming to Oakland because he is still young (25 years old). He could be a sleeper for some teams in free agency.
Potential Contract: 2 years 2 million, guaranteed 200,000
This is the most unlucky player in the NFL. DX has supreme talent. But if you think McFadden is injury prone this guy has torn his ACL multiple times. Last year was supposed to be a breakout season for DX but instead he tore his ACL first week of training camp. If he has been training to come back and play yet again he is more than worth the risk of taking a look at.
Potential Contract: 1 year 650,000, no guaranteed money
Now that is all I am going to list I know there’s H.Nicks, E.Decker, J.Maclin, J,Jones but I can't see Oakland throwing tons of cash at those guys. They have all played for decent QB's throughout their career. J. Maclin is the only one that makes sense.
Schwartz would be a smooth pick up for Oakland. He comes from LA and I'm sure he wouldn't mind coming back to Cali. Schwartz blocks the sun at 6'6 340. Pairing him with Veldheer would be a great move by McKenzie.
Potential Contract: 2 years 5 million, guaranteed 2.5 million
Rinehart did a respectful job at San Diego last year and would come and compete for a starting guard position. This wouldn't break the bank and could be a great pick up by Oakland.
Potential Contract: 2 years 3 million, 1 million guaranteed
No matter what people say about Incognito he knows how to block. Now he has even more of a chip on his shoulder to perform at a pro bowl level something he is very capable of. McKenzie might be gun shy to entertain the idea of signing him but Sparano knows how to get the best of Incognito.
Potential Contract: 1 year 1.5 million, 500,000 guaranteed
Incognito would be worth the risk he would be cheap to sign and can be a quality starting guard in the league.
Lauvao comes from Cleveland while A.Mack will get most of the attention on the free agent market. This guy would be a great under the radar signing for the Raiders. He is very young at 26 years old and has yet to enter his prime of his career. He has started for the Browns 44 times over the last three years but his best years are ahead of him.
Potential Contract: 3 years 4 million, 1.5 million guaranteed
Sparano is one of the best line coaches in the game and for the work he did with what he had last year is nothing short of a miracle. McKenzie must get him some talent to work with this offseason and Lauvao could be a great addition.
This is a favorite for the raiders to sign but honestly it's not going to happen and doesn't need to happen. Coming off an All Pro season Mack is going to command a very large salary for a center. Something the Raiders don't need to get involved with.
Potential Contract: 4 years 45 million, 13 million guaranteed
This is the type of deal Mack will be looking for and for the price it will cost to get him it just doesn't make sense.
Tuck would be a great addition to form a duo with Houston. Tuck would bring valuable playoff experience to this young defense. Tuck is 30 years old and still has a few solid years left in him. Dennis Allen would be wise to make this a priority to McKenzie to sign Tuck.
Potential Contract: 4 years 30 million, 7 million guaranteed
Tuck would be a cheaper option to Hardy who is going to command close to 100 million. Tuck is an underrated player and would thrive with Houston.
Young showed last year he could start in this league and be an effective player. At 28 years old Young’s best years are ahead of him. He would be a very nice addition to this thin defensive line.
Potential Contract: 2 years 8 million, 3 million guaranteed
I was praying for the Raiders to sign this guy last year. At 6’8 300 he is a monster on the end. Pitoitua stuffs runs very well he had 4 sacks last year so pass rushing isn’t his specialty but it’s there. He’s a very underrated player.
Potential Contract: 2 years 5 million, guaranteed 1 million
Pitoitua would be a great rotational piece in this improving defense. If they picked him up it would be a great move by McKenzie but he’s more than likely staying in Tennessee.
Pat Sims played great at times last year but he can’t play every down. They must address this position in free agency because there are some quality pieces out there.
Hatcher really turned it on last year. He played like a man who wants a fat pay check. He deserves it to making his first pro bowl in the process. The Cowboys are in salary cap hell. There’s Jerry will be able to sign this guy to the deal he will be looking for but the Raiders can.
Potential Contract: 4 years 32 million, 9 million guaranteed
Hatcher is a high intensity DT with getting 11 sacks last year. That’s more than our two starting DT last year.
This guy belongs in a raider uniform he’s an absolute monster at the DT position at 6’4 340. The raiders are bound to sign this guy eventually. He would form a dominate run defense with Pat Sims. Not much gets by this guy.
Potential Contract: 3 years 25 million, 5.5 million guaranteed
Joseph is in for a huge pay day. This would be very solid pick up for the D if they pulled this guy in. Joseph doesn’t get much national attention but when this guy is on his A game he brings it and can be a dominate DT.
Potential Contract: 2 years 15 million, 3 million guaranteed
The raiders must make an attempt to sign one of these guys they can’t miss out on this crop of free agent DT’s.
The chances of the Raiders signing this guy are slim but just picturing the idea of Orakpo in a raider uni is just amazing. He is going to get paid very well this offseason. If the Raiders were interested in the bidding process for Orakpo he would become the cornerstone player on D that we have been missing for some time.
Potential Contract: 6 years 65 million, 16 million guaranteed
Casillas would be a great depth addition to the linebacker core. He is also similar with Dennis Allen playing under him in New Orleans. He is coming off a knee injury so the price would be worth the risk
Potential Contract: 1 year 800,000, no guaranteed money
Spikes is a one trick pony. He specializes in run stuffing and He's very effective in it. Watching a lot of Patriots games I have seen him smash people. But when it is a passing down he must be removed from the game. He is in the Belichick dog house nowadays and I can't image them resigning him. Spikes would be a great back up for N.Roach.
Potential Contract: 2 years 4 million, 1 million guaranteed
With our two starters being free agents we must make moves with this position just like last year.
The Green Bay connection with McKenzie screams on this one. McKenzie will make it a priority to steal Shields away from Green Bay this off-season. Shields is a very young exciting CB. He is capable of making exciting plays. He also has experience in the return game.
Potential Contract: 3 years 20 million, 4 million guaranteed
He will get paid like number one CB even though he’s never been nothing more than a second string CB. He had a great season with Seattle stepping up big when Brandon Browner went down for another marijuana related offence.
Potential Contract: 4 years 37 million, 12 million guaranteed
Captain plays the game very hard. He is undersized at 5’9 but he plays the game like he’s 6’4. He shows max effort on every play and is determined to shut his man down. He’s a fan favorite in Carolina so I don’t see him leaving but it’s possible.
Potential Contract: 3 years 15 million, 3 million guaranteed
Pollard goes for the kill shot every down and that's what you need out of the strong safety position. If we could sign him it would turn are secondary into a respectful one. The price tag shouldn't be expensive for Pollard as well. This would be a very smart signing.
Potential Contract: 2 years 5 million, 2 million guaranteed
That wraps up my REALISTIC free agent expectations for this off season. I don't see us being big spenders like Miami last year but more like the Eagles who signed quality pieces last off season. This free agency period is the most important one in some time for the Raiders because we can actually spend money but we shouldn't do it all in 2 or 3 places we should spread it around. As much as I would love to see Greg Hardy, Brian Orakpo, Alterraun Verner, Alex Mack, and Hakeem Nicks get signed this off season by the Raiders it's just not possible. McKenzie has done a great job getting us out of salary cap hell but now it's time to see what he can do with the money.