This week ESPN's Bill Barnwell put out his list of five moves each team in the NFL should make this offseason. And for the Raiders, who have over $70 million to spend under the salary cap, he naturally has all of those moves being adding talent via free agency. Mostly the defensive line and secondary.
His five moves are these in order:
1. Sign Kelechi Osemele
Barnwell: The one place GM Reggie McKenzie has consistently committed money to is the offensive line, so it would make sense for the Raiders to make a run at the best lineman on the market. Osemele could slot in at guard, but more likely, the Raiders would try him as their replacement for Donald Penn at left tackle.
My Take: I fully agree. Osemele would be a perfect, young (26) addition to this Raiders offensive line. Add that the tackle market is very thin this year, and the Raiders must be very aggressive to be sure they get their man. Just like last offseason, they have plenty to spend to be as aggressive as they'd like to be.
2. Sign Mario Williams
Barnwell: Assuming the Bills are going to release the 2006 No. 1 pick, Williams would be a good fit for the Raiders, who are losing Justin Tuck to retirement. They already have a monstrous pass-rusher in Khalil Mack, but there are concerns about the long-term health of 2015 second-rounder Mario Edwards, who has a "possibly genetic" issue with his neck that could jeopardize his long-term future. Even if Edwards can continue his career, the Raiders could get enough out of Williams as a three-down player to justify giving him a hefty salary on a two- or three-year deal.
My take: I gave a nearly identical reasoning as to why I suggested the team make a run at recently released Chris Long. Williams falls into the same category. Williams is a year older than Long, but has produced at an elite level more recently. Williams was an All Pro in 2014 with 14.5 sacks. What all this means is the Raiders should absolutely look to add a proven veteran pass rusher.
3. Sign Eric Weddle
Barnwell: With Charles Woodson retiring, the Raiders are in need of a playmaker and veteran leader in their defensive backfield. No player on the market fits that better than Weddle, who would enjoy the added benefit of getting to suit up twice a year against the same Chargers organization that seems hell-bent on running him out of town. If the Raiders want to skew younger, a move for Browns ball hawk Tashaun Gipson would make sense.
My take: Again, we are in agreement (almost too much so). Weddle and Gipson were both on my Raiders Free Agent wishlist for safeties. And with the likelihood Eric Berry returns to KC, Weddle and Gipson are at the top of the list. Even with Nate Allen re-signing in Oakland, a safety is needed and the market is good.
4. Sign a cornerback
Barnwell: The jury is still out on 2013 first-rounder D.J. Hayden, and the Raiders could use a viable No. 1 cornerback to make everybody's job a little easier. In terms of finances, they'll be able to outbid anybody on the market if there's somebody McKenzie loves. The aforementioned Sean Smith, Prince Amukamara and Janoris Jenkins are all in play.
My take: First off, I would say after three seasons, the jury has returned from deliberations and has reached a solid verdict on DJ Hayden. That verdict is the reason why getting another top corner is absolutely vital now. I like his list of Smith, Amukamara, and Jenkins (although perhaps not in that order) and I would add Trumaine Johnson. Though with the Rams recent cap casualties (the aforementioned Chris Long for instance), either Jenkins or Johnson (or both?) are probably staying with the Rams.
5. Sign Terrance Knighton
Barnwell: Last year, when it seemed a fait accompli that the Raiders would add Knighton to play under former defensive coordinator Jack del Rio, they went in a different direction and signed Dan Williams. Knighton's market never materialized, and he signed a one-year deal with Washington. If that happens again, it might make sense for a reunion, given that the Raiders would be able to rotate Knighton and Williams as part of a rotation on the interior. All it would take is money, and the Raiders have plenty of it to spend.
My take: The first of his moves with which I don't agree. Williams already has Justin Ellis with whom he can rotate along the defensive line. I was all for Knighton coming over last offseason, but that void is filled now. If Knighton still really wants to join Del Rio in Oakland and will come over on a low cost deal, fine. The more the merrier. But it is absolutely not a move the Raiders 'should' make. Especially not ahead of adding a guard and a linebacker.