Good guard, the Raiders need one badly. Austin Howard was terrible most of last season in a failed attempt to switch the former tackle to guard and that plus the poor play of Menelik Watson at right tackle has caused them to move Howard to right tackle. Now they simply don't have a viable starter. Unless you count Kevin Boothe, but I think they would rather have him as the fallback option.
Offensive line was the focus last offseason when they signed Howard in the first place and now it must once again be a priority. That being said, they really have three good free agent options to fill that spot. These are those three options:
The benefit to adding Franklin is two-fold. He gives the Raiders the road grader they need at right guard and they take one away from a division rival. Franklin has spent the first four seasons of his career in Denver. The first three seasons he was their everyday starting right tackle and was one of the better right tackles in the NFL. Then they switched him to left guard and he played well there too.
He will be a hot target in free agency and could see interest at both guard and tackle, but for the Raiders purposes they would want him as a right guard. They are moving Austin Howard back to right tackle, leaving a vacancy at right guard. They have plenty of money to get the guy they want and the best on the market could be Franklin. Plus if neither Howard nor Menelik Watson work out at right tackle, they could always move Franklin back to right tackle. Having that option raises his value immensely.
The Raiders are going with a power rushing attack and there is no free agent guard out there who can power block in the run game as well as Iupati. He has been a Pro Bowler the past three seasons and was named All Pro in 2012.
He has struggled some in pass blocking the past couple seasons, but there may be a somewhat simple explanation for that difference - the change at QB. Alex Smith was his quarterback when he was an All Pro. Smith started the first nine weeks. The first game Colin Kaepernick took over as the starter was Iupati's first game with a negative pass blocking grade. Kap is harder to predict for a pass blocker. It's the same reason Orlando Franklin had his worst pass blocking season with Tim Tebow at quarterback the season before Peyton Manning arrived.
In Oakland, Iupati would have Derek Carr who is very much like Smith in his pocket presence. More importantly, an offensive lineman can better predict where his quarterback will be at any given time. And coming to the Raiders from the 49ers would mean he doesn't even have to move. Also the Anaheim native could stay in California.
Here is what David Fucillo of Niners Nation had to say about Iupati:
He has been the 49ers left guard since being drafted in 2010. He is a great run blocker, but an inconsistent pass blocker. I don't quite get why he is so inconsistent, although it could just be the heft he is moving with out there. One big downside has been injuries. He has dealt with a variety of injuries, and he moves like a guy who is perpetually injured. He is still great in run blocking, but at times it just seems like an injury is an inevitability. I see virtually no chance he re-signs with the 49ers as they have some internal options to replace him, and could use the cap space.
Boling has that versatility the Raiders covet. He has played three different positions on the offensive line in his four seasons in the NFL. The Bengals drafted him in the fourth round and he started three games at right guard as a rookie. Come the next season, he was the everyday starting left guard which is where he remained the past three seasons and even started a couple games at right tackle last season.
Here is what Josh Kirkendall of Cincy Jungle had to say about Boling:
Boling has pieced together a solid career and developed a knack for playing multiple positions. Factoring Cincinnati's quick-pass scheme, Boling was part of an offensive line that only allowed 23 quarterback sacks. Boling also helped power the Bengals' running game to one of the best we've seen during the Marvin Lewis era.