The Raiders will have the 10th most cap room in the NFL this offseason at just over $71 million, per Spotrac. Who would you sign with all that money? Click here for the list of eligible free agents this off-season.
Alex: If either of the Raiders first round picks aren’t high enough to enter in on the Isaiah Simmons sweepstakes, then go out and sign any of these three: Cory Littleton, Blake Martinez or Joe Schobert. Out of the three I just mentioned, Littleton seems to be the most likely to hit the open market, but stranger things have happened.
Cyril: The Raiders have the requisite cash to be a major player in the A.J. Green sweepstakes, so keep an eye on their interest in him. If they feel that Tyrell Williams is capable of staying at the “X” receiver position, signing Robby Anderson could be in the cards. There was some reported interest in Anderson on the Raiders part at the deadline, and he would be an ideal field-stretching “Z” in Gruden’s system.
Evan: Since the Raiders have not shown the willingness to draft a linebacker in recent years, maybe they should look to sign one in free agency. I would be looking at a young player who won’t break the bank, can cover, is a sure tackler, and has a history of production in the league. To me, that man is Joe Schobert of the Browns. Schobert is fifth in the league in total tackles and, according to Pro Football Focus, is the No. 25 ranked linebacker.
BD: Patriots linebackers Jamie Collins Sr. or Kyle Van Noy. The notoriously shallow pocketed Patriots likely won’t keep both, who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this off-season. Both linebackers are scheme versatile. Collins in particular is the best linebacker in the NFL this year for my money and would solidify the middle of the defense. Van Noy would be a consolation prize, a Sam linebacker in base personnel who could be the stand-up rusher on third downs that Guenther likes to use.
Will: With so much cap space, the Raiders are primed to make multiple splashes. Of course, free agency can be fool’s gold, but there are a few names who seem like low-risk, high reward type players available. Among them are cornerback Chris Harris and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Harris would instantly be the No. 1 corner and potentially gives the Raiders a top-of-league corner duo with some Nickel capabilities. Sanders still has speed and can play outside, thus not limiting rookie standout Hunter Renfrow in the slot.
True or False? Signing Lamarcus Joyner was the worst move of the offseason?
Will: False. Joyner is a good NFL safety, but the player has to fit the scheme. Gruden has admitted that injuries have forced some players to play outside of their comfort zone. With more talent around him, Joyner can still be a solid player.
Alex: False. Whether anyone agreed with the suspension or not, the minute the NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for the remainder of the season, that became the worst offseason signing. Joyner’s play hasn’t lived up to the contract he signed so far, but Burfict still beats him out in my opinion.
BD: False, AB by a mile.
Evan: False. It was a position the Raiders needed to address, and while Joyner hasn’t been great, there’s still plenty of football left for him to prove his worth. Also, the way his contract is structured the Raiders can get out after the season with zero dead cap money.
Cyril: I detailed how big of a disappointment Joyner has been a few weeks ago here. He’s been outmatched while playing mostly in the slot this season. Still, I’ll agree with Alex here. Putting all the eggs in the Burfict basket and doing little else at the linebacker position this offseason has been a major misstep.
Name one player you’d like to see the Raiders draft that’s not a linebacker or wide receiver.
Cyril: I’m all in on building the trenches up as much as possible. With that said, I’d like to see the Raiders beef up their front with a versatile defensive tackle like Javon Kinlaw. As chronicled here, Kinlaw could be used as a chess piece that would considerably bolster the Raiders depth. The Raiders ask their defensive linemen to two-gap a lot (hold defenders off with long arms and shed them when the ball comes near) and Kinlaw’s skill set is ideal for such a role.
BD: Bryce Hall, CB Virginia. He has the size, physicality, and athleticism to play press man in Guenther’s scheme. He also shows the intelligence to pattern match in zone that Guenther requires in his two-deep coverages. I thought Hall was the best CB in last years draft before he decided to go back to school.
Evan: I’m on Isaiah Simmons train but if it can’t be a linebacker or receiver I wouldn’t mind using one of the first round picks on another corner to play across from Trayvon Mullen. Daryl Worley is ok, but I like the idea of pairing a promising talent like Mullen with another corner with shutdown potential like LSU’s Kristian Fulton. He is at his best in press man and has great ball skills. Besides, when you’re playing against Patrick Mahomes twice a year, you can never have enough good corners.
Will: It’s still so early in the process, and who knows what free agency will bring. But I like the idea of bringing in Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim in the third or fourth round as an interior pass rusher who can grow into an every down player over time.
Alex: I’ve watched a lot of Wisconsin and Georgia games for whatever reason. D’Andre Swift is having a great season in part thanks to Solomon Kindley. The same can be said for Jonathan Taylor thanks to Tyler Biadasz. Kindley is a guard and Biadasz is a center. Both are mean, nasty run blockers. I want to see the Raiders invest even more in helping Josh Jacobs and Derek Carr up front.
Time to admit you were wrong about something. Whether it be about a specific player or a coach, what did you get wrong about this Raiders team?
BD: Hats off to Gruden. I thought his offense was too old school to consistently attack modern NFL defenses. This year he has found answers more often than not. Even in a few bad games, the play calling has still been spot on. He has a limited playbook due to a lack of receiving options and he’s making it work.
Alex: I think the easy answer would be Tom Cable, but I’ll say the Raiders’ record. Heading into the season, I didn’t think they could win more than five games. I didn’t believe in Carr with the “getting a second season under Gruden’s scheme” crowd. I’m happy to admit I was wrong.
Cyril: I didn’t believe the pass rush would start showing signs of life this quickly. I expected Crosby to be a surprise stud after watching him this summer in Napa, but I did not expect “The Pterodactyl” to be this much of a force after coming into the league well undersized for an edge position. He and Ferrell have given the Raiders a true bookend foundation that should only improve. There was no chance that the Raiders would get to the quarterback any less than last year (13 sacks all season), but I’d say I’m truly surprised that Crosby and Benson Mayowa have combined to best that mark through 10 games themselves.
Evan: After the Week 3 loss to the Vikings on my podcast, Just Pod Baby, I made the comment that Carr and Jon Gruden were not “pulling their weight.” They must have been listening, because since then they have both been very good. My comments may have been a little premature. Gruden’s play calling and designs have been creative and well calculated. Carr has quietly put together a very good season with 2,494 yards, 15 TD and 5 INT, while completing 72 percent of his passes. He is also averaging 8 yards per completion, which would be a new career high if it continues.
Will: When it comes to the Raiders, I was wrong about a lot. I thought the Khalil Mack trade was the rare instance where giving up multiple first round picks would end up as a better deal for the team giving up the picks. But this current Raiders team, and what is possible with five picks in the first 90 of the upcoming draft, including two in the first round, makes me think the Raiders certainly will end up winning that trade.
It seems that a majority of people have been rocking Mack, Lynch and Cooper jerseys. Tell our readers which jersey is safe for them to purchase. What jersey are you rushing out to buy?
Evan: I recently purchased a Josh Jacobs jersey. I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon. Although, I said the same about Mack after I bought his jersey.
Will: Crosby was the guy I was really excited about coming into this year. He’s done nothing to dissuade me from wanting his jersey. But I also seem to really like guys who spell their name Maxx, as opposed to just Max. Hunter Renfrow would also be a good jersey for a guy who is likely to be a fan favorite for years to come.
Alex: I’m going to have to go with Crosby, but honestly it seems like any rookie besides Isaiah Johnson (for now) and Quinton Bell seems like a pretty good investment. I’m not paying anyone back if these guys get traded in four or five years.
Cyril: Alec Ingold, obviously! Just kidding... kind of. Right now, I’m looking for a white and silver color rush Darren Waller jersey. Waller is under contract for the next four years after signing a midseason extension and is primed to be one of the top tight ends in a league for a while if he continues to be an offensive focal point.
BD: I would say learn the history of this team. There are better Raiders jerseys to wear than Cooper or even Mack. You will always get respect in a Tim Brown or Jack Tatum jersey.