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On the chopping block: Raiders 2019 roster cut candidates

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There is turnover every year. The Raiders won’t do anything close to the house cleaning they did last year with Gruden coming in and putting his stamp on the roster. But cuts are inevitable. And not just the ones that happen after training just prior to the start of the season.

Prime cuts

Donald Penn

The final year of Penn’s contract was the one he held out for in 2017 camp. It was always meant to offer security for him. He then renegotiated the deal prior to last year’s camp because there was no way he was coming back under the previous deal. At the age of 35 and with injuries ending his last three seasons – the latest after four games – do the Raiders even think he’s worth the $7.2 million he would make next season? Or would they take the $1.75 million cap hit and go for all new blood at both tackle spots? Well, since they seem set on Kolton Miller as the future at left tackle, and that’s where Penn belongs, we may have seen the life-long Raiders fan play his last game in Silver & Black.

Seth Roberts

Last year, Roberts was said to be on the trade block. But no trade ended up happening and cutting him would have left too much dead money behind. That’s not the case this time around. Roberts is due $4.65 million with no dead money if cut or traded. Roberts is a fine slot receiver who can start in a pinch. He also is a tremendous blocker, which increases his value. But should the Raiders look to add some major talent at receiver – and they should – Roberts’s contract might be a bit steep for a fourth wide receiver.

AJ McCarron

The moment Nathan Peterman entered the building, McCarron’s place on the team was brought into question. Gruden loves Nathan Peterman. Why, we’ll never really know, but he does. And he was just signed to a reserve/futures deal, making his contract as cheap as they come. McCarron is set to make $3.1 million this season. The Raiders traded a 5th round pick for the journeyman QB last offseason. Maybe they could get one back in another trade?

Derek Carrier

One of the first free agent signings, he was to be a hybrid tight end/wide receiver in Gruden’s offense. Seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown isn’t really lighting things up. It certainly isn’t worth $1.7 million – his 2019 salary. Also figure, when they signed Darren Waller off the Ravens’ practice squad prior to week 14, he began contributing pretty much immediately. In his three games with the Raiders the 6-6, 255-pounder surpassed Carrier’s entire season receiving total with 6 catches on 6 targets for 75 yards, adding a 21-yard run on an end around. Meanwhile Carrier didn’t have a catch over those final three games.

Keep an eye on...

Kelechi Osemele

This one may seem far-fetched. And I certainly don’t recommend it. When Osemele is good, he’s really good. And the Raiders aren’t exactly hurting for cap relief, with nearly $80 million in expected money available. That being said, Osemele is set to be the third highest paid guard in the league this season at $10.2 million. And he leaves behind no dead money should he be cut or traded. With two years left on his deal with the Raiders at the age of 30, he could command a nice return in a trade if someone is willing to either take on his salary, or give him a new contract. With the Raiders being in a rebuild, would it be at all surprising if they went with a younger, cheaper guard? Perhaps re-signing free agent Jon Feliciano? Perhaps they liked what they saw from in-season waiver claim Denzelle Good? Perhaps using one of their five draft picks in the top three rounds? Food for thought.

See: Raiders 2019 free agent re-sign priorities