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Raiders 2016 Free Agency Wishlist: Safety

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With the release of Nate Allen along with the retirement of Charles Woodson, the Raiders are now without both of their starting safeties from the 2015 season opener. It's not advisable to try and fill both spots in the draft or move current players around (such as TJ Carrie). The Raiders have the money to go get help at safety and you can bet they will do it.

When the Raiders signed Nate Allen last offseason, the market was very thin at safety. Not so this year with a good looking potential crop.

Here are who I see as the Raiders' top free agent targets come a month from now:

Eric Berry, Chiefs

Eric Berry: Berry came back from cancer arguably a better player than he was before. The Chiefs put him in more coverage more often this year rather than at the line of scrimmage so we saw him more as a playmaker this year. He is going to be expensive - he has an argument for the NFL's highest paid safety - but I just can't imagine him playing for another team, especially after the way the team and the community rallied around him after his diagnosis last year. I'd put money on him coming back to KC. - Joel Thorman, Arrowhead Pride

Put this one securely in the wish list category. The reigning comeback player of the year is arguably the best safety in the league. As Thorman said, it seems difficult to fathom he wouldn't be back with the Chiefs next year. But stranger things have happened. And when you consider the crazy money he would get on the market, it could be enticing for him to test it. Oh, and for the Raiders to take him from a division rival would be a huge score.

Eric Weddle, Chargers

Eric Weddle has a Chargers fan favorite and the most important player on the defense. He's great at just about everything, but being undersized will occasionally lead to him getting trucked by a RB or TE. He's the best "over the top" or "centerfield" safety that I've ever seen not named Ed Reed.

There's probably a 5% chance of Weddle re-signing with the Chargers. He feels the team has wronged him, and they have grown tired of him publicly calling them out. - John Gennaro, Bolts from the Blue

With the way their relationship has deteriorated, Weddle is moving on. And what better revenge than to go to your previous team's most hated rival? At least when he plays in San Diego in the future, he would be on the side of the team with the most fans in attendance.

Tashaun Gipson, Browns

In 2014, Joe Haden and Buster Skrine were having very good seasons, which gave Gipson some more freelance opportunities to log interceptions when quarterbacks tried to force passes.

This year, Haden was pretty much concussed all year, and Cleveland's group of cornerbacks played awful. I've never seen so many cornerbacks beat on deep balls up the sideline. Gipson's role was to be the single-high deep safety, and quarterbacks never seemed to attack the middle. They didn't have to. In a way, it made it feel like Cleveland was playing with 10 players on defense -- but again, that doesn't mean Gipson wasn't doing his job. If I had one knock that could be attributed to Gipson this year, it's the fact that he missed more tackles than he had in previous years. - Chris Pokorny, Dawgs By Nature

As Pokorny noted, Gipson is coming off a down season. But he is a season removed from being a Pro Bowler. In 2014 he had 6 interceptions which followed up a season in which he had 5 picks. He also had 20 passes defended between those two seasons. He is a top safety in this league and will be in high demand.

Rodney McLeod, Rams

This former undrafted free agent has appeared in every game with the Rams in his four-year NFL career. He has also started every game at free safety the past three seasons averaging over 77 tackles (60 solo) each season. He also has a total of 18 passes defended and 5 interceptions over that time. He is extremely consistent and reliable.

Pro Football Focus gave him very high grades last season, and lists him as the third best safety on the market behind only Eric Berry and Reggie Nelson. McLeod is also just 25 years of age compared to the 32-year-old Nelson.

George Iloka, Bengals

George Iloka was viewed as a second or third round pick back in 2012, but the Bengals stole him (and Marvin Jones in the sixth) in fifth and he's been a good starter for them the past two seasons. He experienced some growing pains from 2012-2013 with sparse play, but really broke out as a first-year starter in 2014. There was a slight step back in 2015, but part of the statistical drop was due to his missing a handful of games because of a nagging ankle injury.

With his size (6'4", 220 pounds), range and physicality at the position, he'll be one of bigger names on the free agent market this year. He still has some mental growth to make as a pro, and some wonder if he's merely a product of being on a great all-around defensive unit. - Anthony Cosenza,

Cincy Jungle

This one is a stretch, honestly. Both of the Bengals' safeties are free agents and with some $34 million in cap space, I don't see them letting the 25-year-old Iloka get away, but hey, you never know.