This offseason, the Raiders will be looking at a few free agents on their own team who could attempt to test the market. Some of whom, they should make it a priority to get locked in, while others may not be as urgent.
The Raiders got ahead of the curve on this with the extensions for Michael Crabtree and Jamize Olawale late in the season. Here are the rest of the Raiders players who are set to become free agents this March in order or the priority the team should place on getting them under contract.
Marquette King P 27 UFA
This organization has placed quite a long-term investment into King already. The former undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley state was ‘stashed' on injured reserve his first year in the NFL in 2012. The raw former college wide receiver spent that year honing his skills and the following year, when Shane Lechler left for Houston, King won the job out of camp. Since then he has shown improved consistency every year, while not losing any of his tremendous leg strength. He has worked his way up to becoming one of the best punters in the NFL and the Raiders would be downright foolish to let him go now.
Aldon Smith OLB 26 UFA
This priority won't be immediate. He started his one-year league suspension midway through last season, which means, barring a reduced suspension, he won't be eligible to play again until midway through the 2016 season. That's when the Raiders need to make sure they get him under contract. Just like King, the Raiders took a chance on Smith and made an investment in his future. It would be a huge disappointment if he were to come out of the suspension only to get back to his All Pro ways with another team.
Donald Penn LT 32 UFA
His 2-year contract with the team ended after the season. He has said he would like to return to the Raiders, and while that is what most free agents say, he probably means it. He was a Raiders fan growing up and now he plays close to home. However, he will turn 33 in April and seemed to wear down quite a bit midway through last season, so any deal he signs would be another short term one with little to no guarantees should the team find a long term replacement and look to move on from him.
Justin Tuck DE 32 UFA
There is no doubt, Tuck is a valuable leader in the Raiders' locker room. But have they grown out of needing his services on the field? When the soon-to-be 33-year-old defensive end was lost for the season with an injured shoulder, Mario Edwards Jr stepped in and the defense stepped up. Should they bring back Tuck, it would have to be as a part time player, much the same way the Cardinals use the 35-year-old Dwight Freeney. Both sides must agree on where Tuck stands at this point in his career.
Andre Holmes WR 27 UFA
Many people were surprised when the Raiders didn't put a high tender on Holmes last offseason as a restricted free agent. Then when no one jumped at the chance to take Holmes away, it turned out that perhaps the Raiders valuation was spot on. Now a year later, Holmes has been passed up on the roster by Seth Roberts and is clinging to the bubble. An upgrade would be a good idea for the Raiders, who have plenty of money to spend. If they don't see one out there, it would be worth it to bring Holmes back.
Matt McGloin QB 26 RFA
A quality backup quarterback is a valuable thing in this league. If he were unrestricted, his priority would be higher. As a restricted free agent, the Raiders can slap a 2nd round tender on him to keep him around.
Larry Asante SS 27 RFA
Last offseason the Raiders put an original round tender (5th round) on Asante to keep him around. After appearing in all 16 games this season at safety and on special teams, they should do it again.
Benson Mayowa OLB 24 RFA
Mayowa has been a special teamer and sometimes defensive contributor for the Raiders. As an undrafted free agent, an original round tender would mean no compensation would be required should someone sign him. Even so, that could be enough to keep him.
Neiko Thorpe CB 25 RFA
What I said about Mayowa applies exactly to Thorpe.
Taylor Mays SS 27 UFA
Played a decent bit of safety last season in relief of the injured Nate Allen. It shouldn't be difficult to bring him back for another shot as insurance. Especially considering the Raiders could be very thin at safety.
*Denico Autry, Seth Roberts, Korey Toomer, Shelby Harris, Gabe Holmes, Leon Orr, and Tevin McDonald are all Exclusive Rights Free Agents which means the team can keep them on next season on a league minimum contract.
Rod Streater WR 27 UFA
I like Rod Streater. Which is why I say he should leave Oakland. Once the top receiver on this team, he was inactive nearly every game last season. There are opportunities out there and he should seek to find them.
Khalif Barnes LT 33 UFA
It appeared the Raiders finally moved on from Barnes last season. In previous years, he was the best option when an injury occurred. After seven-straight one-year contacts with the Raiders, it might be time for Barnes to hang ‘em up.
Tony Bergstrom C 29 UFA
For the first time since the team drafted him in the third round in 2012, Bergstrom was able to contribute in a positive way. He stepped in for Rodney Hudson at center for three starts this season. Backup centers are not hard to find and he could get a legitimate shot at more playing time with a team that runs a zone scheme.
J'Marcus Webb RG 27 UFA
He was a stopgap at guard and could have some value as a utility backup. But the Raiders should continue to seek an upgrade.
Jeremy Ross WR 27 UFA
After going through several return men during the season, the Raiders finally settled on Ross after he was waived midseason by the Ravens. He showed some decent skills as a kick returner, but had a few miscues as well. Nothing that makes him a priority to re-sign him.
Matt McCants RT 26 RFA
This utility backup could receive an original round tender (6th round), or be allowed hit the market. No big deal either way.
Thomas Gafford LS 32 UFA
Jon Condo's fill-in. With Condo back next season, Gafford's work here is done.