As of 1pm today, Free Agency has hit to two week mark. That’s more than enough time to offer an initial grade on the Raiders’ movement. Let’s round up what the Raiders have done (and not done) and slap a grade on it, shall we.
Latavius Murray (Vikings)
Malcolm Smith (49ers)
Brynden Trawick (Titans)
Stacy McGee (Washington)
Andre Holmes (Bills)
Menelik Watson (Broncos)
Nate Allen (Dolphins)
Daren Bates (Titans)
DJ Hayden (Lions)
Mychal Rivera (Jaguars)
OT Marshall Newhouse
WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson
TE Jared Cook
QB EJ Manuel
LB Jelani Jenkins
LS Jon Condo
DE Denico Autry (RFA tender)
Own FA unsigned:
LB Perry Riley Jr
QB Matt McGloin
Jared Cook was probably they’re biggest get. He was arguably the second best tight end on the market below the man who replaced him in Green Bay, Martellus Bennett. Cook’s addition will go quite well with Clive Walford to give Derek Carr two good looking weapons at tight end in the passing game. He is an upgrade over the departed Mychal Rivera.
Patterson is the league’s top kick returner, averaging over 30 yards per return with 5 career return touchdowns. He can also provide some speed on the outside as a receiver and is sure handed, although most of his other receiving skills are lacking.
Marshall Newhouse replaces the departed Menelik Watson who struggled to get on the field in four years in Oakland due to injuries. Jelani Jenkins played well in 2014 before injuries tripped him up the past two seasons. The Raiders hope he can replace the departed Malcolm Smith as the WLB/ILB. EJ Manuel adds expected depth and competition for the backup QB spot. He is familiar with OC Todd Downing from their time together in Buffalo in 2014 when Downing was QB coach for the Bills.
Bringing back Autry and Condo were the team’s top re-sign priorities as they should be. Putting a Restricted Free Agent Tender on Denico Autry was a no-brainer. Although they used the original round tender which is literally the least they could do considering he was undrafted. Condo’s return on a one-year deal was also a no-brainer. He’s been the team’s long snapper for ten years and separating him from Sebastian Janikowski now would be silly.
For a team in need of defense first and foremost, they had signed five free agents before adding their first (and thus far their only) defender. They signed Jelani Jenkins, who has been riddled with one injury after another the past two seasons, to a one-year deal. Not exactly the big deal they needed to ensure their struggling defense improves.
They needed a slot receiver, which Cordarrelle Patterson is not. He has serious issues with route running, despite having played in the NFL for four seasons, which suggests he isn’t going to suddenly get it at this point. The best option if he were to play extensively would be to bring him in for three wide receiver sets on the outside, moving Amari Cooper inside. That’s not a bad option, but it’s basically the only option due to Patterson’s shortcomings.
They needed a right tackle, which Newhouse is, but he’s not exactly a sure thing to plug into that spot as the new starter. He’s more reminiscent of the J’Marcus Webb signing two years ago. If Newhouse can overcome his issues that had him lose his starting job several times and bounce around to now his fourth different team the past five seasons, he may be a find. No indication at this point of that. Until the team makes a move with regard to Austin Howard, he will either return to starting duties, they will have to get an OT in the draft, or roll with Newhouse and Vadal Alexander and hope for the best.
The team has needs at defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and cornerback and have made no additions to address those positions. Meanwhile the losses of Brynden Trawick, Daren Bates, and Andre Holmes are significant from a special teams perspective.
Potential additional moves:
Perry Riley Jr could very well still be in the plans. He remains unsigned despite a reasonably solid season at middle linebacker last season. The team could be waiting to find out what Zach Brown decides to do. The former Buffalo Bill visited the team last week but left without a deal. He has since visited several other teams and is still deciding which deal to accept. His is one of the few remaining potential impact free agents on the market.
There is also the question of Marshawn Lynch. He reportedly wants to return to play for the Raiders, but there’s no indication yet it will happen and if it does, how long before that is settled. The team would probably like to know before the draft, but Lynch may want to wait until after offseason minicamp to make his official return.