Every single season the new regime has been here, their largest investment has come on the offensive line. Right tackle is due for such an investment.
In the first offseason, with the team still cap strapped, their biggest investment was guard Mike Brisiel. The next offseason it was the attempted big money signing of left tackle Rodger Saffold which fell apart due to medical issues. That same offseason, they signed Austin Howard to a major contract play guard.
The following offseason, it was Rodney Hudson who the team made the league’s highest paid center. Then last offseason it was Kelechi Osemele who they made by far the league’s highest paid guard, who, by the way, can also play left tackle if need be.
Howard has since moved back to right tackle where he has been beaten out several times by Menelik Watson, but Watson keeps getting injured. Now the team must either roll with Howard at right tackle, who is due some $6.4 million next season to be a replacement level player, or release him and find an upgrade. The likelihood is they look for a better option.
Here are a few potentially better options who are set to hit the market.
Ricky Wagner, 27
The best pure right tackle on the market, this former 5th round pick has been the Ravens’ full time starter at that spot the past three seasons. Last season he offered superb protection for Joe Flacco who had the second most passes in the league last season (672).
Wagner would be a worthy investment as the final piece to the Raiders’ offensive line. He would be joining his former linemate, Kelechi Osemele, who no doubt would have plenty of good things to say to attract Wagner to follow him to Oakland.
Riley Reiff, 28
Reiff can line up as either a left or a right tackle. The former first round pick was a left tackle for his first four NFL seasons before being moved to right tackle last season with the addition of Taylor Decker. One possible point that could take the Raiders out of the running is if Reiff still sees himself as a left tackle. But if he is willing to be patient, an opening at left tackle in Oakland is potentially just a year away as Donald Penn’s latest contract will be up at the age of 35.
Kelvin Beachum, 27
Another left tackle, Beachum grabbed the job from Jaguars’ former number two overall pick, Luke Joekel last season and now finds himself a free agent as well, with the team not picking up the 4-year option in his contract. His release appears to be purely a matter of cap because his contract was to pay him $8.5 million next season, escalating each season to $11 million in 2020.
Like Reiff, Beachum could begin his time in Oakland on the right side and the team could have the option to switch him to the left side next season should they choose to do so. And is contract would certainly be a lot friendlier than that one he signed in Jacksonville which wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on after his first season.