It’s the offseason. And before the Raiders can think too much about outside free agents, they need to think about their own free agents and what kind of priority they need to put on bringing them back. We start at the top.
Each name is followed by their position, age, and free agent status.
Jared Cook TE 32 UFA
A career year for the 10-year veteran. He finished this season with 68 catches for 896 yards and 6 touchdowns. And he’s one step away from heading to the Pro Bowl. If either Eric Ebron or Travis Kelce opt out, he’s in. He’s Derek Carr’s top target and Jon Gruden loves his tight ends. He has to be back, right? At 2-or-3-year deal is not out of order.
Doug Martin RB 30 UFA
Once he was asked to step up as the starter with Marshawn Lynch lost to a groin injury, he showed up and made Gruden looked pretty smart for having faith in him. He carried the ball 145 times for 624 yards (4.3 yards per carry) over the final 10 games. That comes would have him approaching 1000 yards over a full 16 games. He’s about to turn 30 and has earned at least another 1-year deal, maybe two with nothing guaranteed after next season.
Dwayne Harris WR/RS 31 UFA
Harris is on his third NFL team at the age of 31. What he showed this season is that his intelligence and talent as a special teamer is invaluable. Lock this guy up for as long as he can still outrun a coverage team like he did two weeks ago in front of a screaming Oakland crowd. Dude is a strategic weapon whether at kick returner, punt returner, or on coverage teams.
Daryl Worley CB 23 RFA
The day after the season, he showed his extreme gratitude to Jon Gruden for taking a chance on him despite a looming suspension from a DUI and a weapons charge. He has proven he deserved that second chance and because he’s a restricted free agent all the Raiders need do is slap a second round tender on him to have him back. Hell, he’s just 23, it might be a good idea to invest in him long term if the terms are agreeable.
Johnathan Hankins DT 27 UFA
The former 2nd round pick was signed after the season opener and started the rest of the season. He was a solid run clogger and is worth a return to play in a rotation and alongside Justin Ellis. Eddie Vanderdoes can’t be counted upon to live up to his potential once he returns from his torn ACL.
Erik Harris CB 29 RFA
By the end of the season, Harris was staying on the field at safety and had interceptions in consecutive games. He is a restricted free agent, so all it would take is a tender to bring him back. He was undrafted so an original round tender who net no compensation if he were signed away.
Denzelle Good RG 28 UFA
He was claimed off waivers from the Colts and two weeks later, he was playing. He came in for the injured Gabe Jackson and started the final three games of the season, showing improvement in each game. The 6-5, 345-pounder is a versatile as a tackle/guard bringing a lot of value as a utility reserve.
Jalen Richard RB 25 RFA
Another undrafted restricted free agent, which means an original round tender would mean no compensation should another team attempt to sign him away. Though that may be enough. He was highly productive as a receiver out of the backfield in Gruden’s offense last season, so you’d figure he would like him back. The question will be if they think they would need to up his tender to a second rounder.
Rashaan Melvin CB 29 UFA
Melvin had a penchant for giving up big plays. He also had that incident in which he aired his frustrations with changing his technique that got him de-activated for a week. He’s got talent, but he isn’t a starter ideally.
Marcus Gilchrist S 30 UFA
Paul Guenther raved about his smarts, but the Raider are rebuilding and that means a youth movement.
Frostee Rucker DL 35 UFA
Another player the coaching staff raved about. But he’s 35. Right now they have few options at defensive end, so bringing him back isn’t the worst idea.
Brandon LaFell WR 32 UFA
Signed off the street, LaFell didn’t even have a catch over the first six games. But when he was called upon, he was named a starter and played well. The 6-3, 200-pounder is certainly not a long term answer at age 32.
Clinton McDonald DT 32 UFA
Another addition after the season opener. Defensive tackle who both sides of the ball late in the season.
Bene Benwikere CB 27 UFA
Offers competition for depth at corner
Kony Ealy DE 27 UFA
Can’t be turning their noses up at a defensive end who at one point in his career was productive. Give him a shot to earn a spot with a full offseason.
Jacquies Smith DE 29 UFA
See Ealy above.
Chaz Green G 27 UFA
A third round pick in 2015 as a tackle. Worth seeing if he can pan out at guard.
T.J. Clemmings RT 27 UFA
The more the merrier. Brandon Parker hasn’t exactly locked down the right tackle job.
RFA returns with original round tender: Denver Kirkland, Gabe Wright
ERFA’s: Shilique Calhoun, Trent Sieg, Tevin Mitchel, Jason Cabinda, Daniel Carlson, Marcell Ateman, Montrel Meander, Cameron Hunt, Justin Murray
Let ‘em walk
Marshawn Lynch RB 33 UFA
He lit the torch in what could be the final game in Oakland. That’s usually reserved for Raider Legends, which would suggest he’s played his last game too. And at 33, coming off a groin injury, you could see why he might be done. I mean, if it were me, I’d ask him to play another season. Of course, he may wait to see if the team is even in Oakland next year before he answered.
Jon Feliciano G 27 UFA
It’s time for Feliciano to seek his NFL career elsewhere. Not because he isn’t good, but because he could be and he deserves the chance to start somewhere. He won’t get that chance anytime soon in Oakland with Rodney Hudson in place.