clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grading Raiders 2016 offseason Free Agency haul

New, comments
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Easter, everyone. To mark the occasion, we take a look back at a few of the Easter eggs the Raiders collected in their baskets this offseason.

Offseason needs:

1. Cornerback
2. Safety
3. Linebacker
4. Offensive tackle
5. Offensive guard
6. Running back
7. Defensive end

New additions

OG  Kelechi Osemele

As the Raiders had done three of the previous four offseasons, they made interior offensive line their top priority. Last year they added Rodney Hudson at center to go alongside second year guard Gabe Jackson. Osemele was the final piece to solidifying the Raiders interior offensive line.

It became increasingly obvious over the latter portion of last season that the Raiders were in desperate need to upgrade the interior run blocking. Hudson went down with an injury and later right tackle Austin Howard as well which had J'Marcus Webb shift outside and brought in rookie Jon Feliciano to start at right guard. Latavius Murray's yard per carry averaged over the final eight games went down over a yard and a half.

Osemele is a punishing run blocker and a pretty good pass blocker too. He can also step in at tackle if needed which raises his value. Though, Osemele's $11.5 million per season average is far from a bargain. That's $3.7 million more per year than the next highest paid guard (Mike Iupati at $8 million). So, unless Osemele does end up playing tackle, that's a steep price to pay. Even though the Raiders certainly had the money to pay it.

Grade: A-

OLB  Bruce Irvin

This was a signing that caught everyone by surprise. With a need at inside linebacker, the Raiders brought in Irvin who is a pass rushing outside linebacker. That's not to say his addition isn't valuable.

What Irvin offers is what Khalil Mack offers. Though not at the same level as Mack. He can line up as a defensive end in a 4-3 set or outside linebacker in either 4-3 or 3-4 sets.

Barring another inside linebacker added in the draft, Irvin's addition keeps Malcolm Smith at inside linebacker, where he played much of last season with Curtis Lofton seeing less playing time.

At one time the Raiders were said to be interested in Olivier Vernon who ended up breaking the bank with a ridiculous deal that pays him an average of $17 million per season. The Raiders got Irvin instead on a somewhat bargain deal at $9.25 million per season.

Grade: B

CB  Sean Smith

Arguably the top need the Raiders had this offseason was cornerback. The cornerback free agent class was deep, but was also somewhat top heavy as well. There were two players that stood atop the list of corners - Sean Smith and Janoris Jenkins.

Jenkins joined Olivier Vernon by signing his own huge contract with the Giants. His deal is worth $12.5 million per season. This was in line with Jenkins' priorities, considering his tweet about the Rams' supposedly disrespectful contract offer to him. He wasn't even the best corner on the Rams roster, Trumaine Johnson was. He was given a franchise tag.

Meanwhile, Smith's priority was to return to his native California and was deciding between the 49ers and Raiders with whom to do it. He chose his now former division rival Raiders on a 4-year deal worth an average of $9.5 million per season.

Smith is a proven starter, giving the Raiders a nice looking top three corners along with David Amerson and TJ Carrie.

Grade: A

LB Daren Bates, S Brynden Trawick

Both Bates and Trawick were late free agent additions to bulk up special teams. No grade necessary.


WR  Michael Crabtree - Signed a 4-year deal worth an average of $8.5 million per season. He likely would have gotten more in a weak wide receiver free agent class.

FB  Jamize Olawale - Signed a 3-year deal worth an average of $2 million per season.

P Marquette King - Signed a 5-year deal worth an average of $3.3 million per season. He may have been in demand as a free agent after becoming one of the better NFL punters last season. The Raiders wisely protected their investment.

OT  Donald Penn - After a week of getting marginal interest on the free agent market, he re-signed with the Raiders on a 2-year deal worth an average of $5.5 million per season with incentives that could bring it to $7 million. He will be 33 years old before the season and appeared to wear down late last season. His return allows Osemele to stay at guard and keeps the Raiders out of desperation mode on the offensive line. If they would rather go with a player at another position in the draft, they can do so and feel reasonably confident they have starters in place at each position on the offensive line.

WR  Andre Holmes - He tested his market and came back to Oakland on a one-year deal. His value is as a big red zone target and special teams player both in blocking and coverage.

S  Nate Allen - He appeared in just five games last season due to injury. The team cut him prior to guarantees kicking in on his contract and re-signed him to a one-year deal. He will be given a chance to start again at one of the safety spots.


S  Charles Woodson - Retired from the NFL after 18 seasons, 11 of which in Oakland, including the final three.

DE  Justin Tuck - A shoulder injury had him out the latter half of the season. He was to become a free agent and opted for retirement.

OL  Tony Bergstrom - In four seasons, he never earned a starting job at any position along the offensive line. He found his niche as a backup center. He was always more suited for the zone blocking scheme and took the opportunity he wasn't going to get in Oakland by signing with the Texans.

WR  Rod Streater - The former top receiver had been replaced as a starter by Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree before being inactive in favor of Seth Roberts. Streater is a talented receiver, but he needed to go elsewhere to get his opportunity. He found that in Kansas City.

OL  J'Marcus Webb - A late free agent addition in 2015, he achieved what he had hoped on his one-year deal with the Raiders. He started every game last season, mostly at right guard, and got a deal to join the Seahawks. His position was filled on the Raiders by the addition of Osemele.

DE  Benson Mayowa -- The team placed a low restricted free agent tender on him, which allowed another team to sign him to an offer sheet and steal him with no compensation. The Cowboys did just that and the Raiders didn't match the offer.

S Taylor Mays -- Bounced back and forth with the Raiders several times last season and ultimately started five games for the team, performing admirably. He will be suspended for the first four games of next season. So, of course, the Bengals signed him.

LB  Curtis Lofton -- Cut after one season with the team.

UFA unsigned - Lorenzo Alexander, Larry Asante, Khalif Barnes, Thomas GaffordAldon Smith


Two positions of need were filled outright with the addition of Kelechi Osemele and Sean Smith. Those and the retention of Donald Penn will keep them from having to reach in the first round to fill one of those positions. Their addition of Irvin instead of an inside linebacker aligns with McKenzie's views on the position from his days under Ted Thompson in Green Bay.

Safety is the one position that is still in dire need and was not addressed in free agency. That is the only major knock on their free agency. All their additions and retentions were focused while the only departure that will be felt is the retirement of Charles Woodson, which, of course, is out of their control.

Grade: A-