I am hoping that the Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL Free Agency season actually starts in 2011. It may not. Or it may start tomorrow. Who knows? So with that in mind I am just going to start looking at possible free agent targets for the Oakland Raiders now. We will either be thoroughly over-prepared, vastly under-prepared, or maybe our porridge will be just right. I am going to kick things off with potential right tackles.
It is the biggest hole on the team. Right now the only Raiders under contract that would be candidates to play RT are Bruce Campbell and Joe Barksdale (Jason Campbell's stinger just flared up with the thought). Of course, the Raiders may try to bring back Langston Walker (who is rumored to be considering retiring), Mario Henderson (who is rumored to still suck) or Khalif Barnes (who wouldn't be able to use his receiver skills there). Any way you cut it, it'd be nice if the Raiders upgraded.
So let's start off with a Pro Bowler, Tyson Clabo....
Three of the five Atlanta Falcons starting offensive linemen are free agents. Two of them may be restricted free agents. Tyson Clabo is about to start his seventh season and will not be. He is going to hit the open market, and it is very likely the Falcons will not have the resources to entice him to stay. He is going to draw plenty of interest in a shallow tackle pool.
Clabo has ascended the NFL ranks from an undrafted free agent, to the practice squad, to a backup, to a starter, and finally to the Pro Bowl in 2010. He is about to turn 30 and just hit his prime. He is 6'6" and 331 pounds. He is durable and reliable. He has started every game for the Falcons the last three seasons.
Clabo has struggled at times in pass protection. He gave up four sacks in 2009 and five in 2010 (these numbers are very unofficial and found on Pro Football Weekly). He remains very solid, but not quite dominating in run blocking. He has not had a false start since 2008, and he did not get flagged for holding one time in 2010. He is also a high-motor guy that finishes off blocks.
Clabo would certainly be an upgrade in pass protection, and instantly be the Raiders most consistent offensive lineman. However, he is not as elite as his 2010 Pro Bowl selection (he made it as an alternate) would suggest. The Raiders should definitely target Clabo, but I'd stop short of paying him top dollar.