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Who is the one free agent Raiders can least afford to lose this offseason?

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There are some important free agents upcoming. But if I’m picking just one...

NFL: New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Among the most important factors to any team is keeping their own free agents from leaving. The Raiders have done a fairly good job of that in recent years, often re-signing them well before they can hit the market. There are a few players who are headed for free agency who the team should probably make an effort to keep.

But my choice would be...

NaVorro Bowman (29)

The former All Pro middle linebacker was signed to a one-year deal earlier this season after being released by the 49ers. Three days after coming across the bay, he was named the starter and has led the team in tackles six out of his seven games in Oakland. His 98 tackles (61 with the Raiders) is most of anyone on the team by a wide margin. He also has one of two team interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Having finally found a bonafide and productive middle linebacker, they can’t afford to just let him walk away now, re-opening the team’s annual gaping hole at the middle linebacker spot.

You may disagree. In which case, here are a few others you may like better.

Denico Autry (27) — Former undrafted defensive lineman who has been a steady performer and deserves a real shot at starting. He currently leads the NFL with 6 batted passes — something he has been known for throughout his career. He also has 4.0 sacks this season, including 3.0 in the last three games.

TJ Carrie (27) — This Bay Area native and Del La Salle grad was a 7th round pick out of Ohio in that famed 2014 draft. Since the moment he joined the Raiders, he’s consistently earned his way onto the field both as a spot starter and slot corner. This season he has been the team’s most reliable corner, starting 12 of 13 games.

Justin Ellis (26) — Also in that 2014 draft, taken in the fourth round, Ellis is having statistically his best season with 40 combined tackles (23 solo) in 12 starts.

Lee Smith (30) — He’s the kind of guy most teams need. He’s imposing and intimidating on the field. Occasionally he will surprise you with his hands, but mostly he just does the dirty work with great pride.

Rather than me tell you who I think they should bring back (there’s plenty of time for that), I want to hear from you.

Poll

Who do you think the Raiders can least afford to lose in free agency?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Denico Autry
    (361 votes)
  • 76%
    NaVorro Bowman
    (2670 votes)
  • 7%
    TJ Carrie
    (247 votes)
  • 3%
    Justin Ellis
    (116 votes)
  • 3%
    Lee Smith
    (116 votes)
3510 votes total Vote Now