As a fan the best part of the offseason is concocting all the different dream scenarios that could potentially play out in free agency and draft. This offseason in particular for the Raiders is especially important. For one they have $71.2 million worth of cap space and two they are stocked with three picks in round one.
For a team with plans of rebuilding this is a good situation to be in. On offense, Derek Carr needs some help. There is a void at the number one receiver spot, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, and Jared Cook are all free agents, and the offensive line gave up 51 sacks last year.
Defensively, there is help needed on all three levels. The Raiders finished last in the league with an embarrassing 13 sacks. The addition of multiple pass rushers must be included in the perfect offseason.
This would be the perfect free agent haul for the Raiders.
1. Re-sign Jared Cook
Jared Cook is coming off the best year of his career and is looking for perhaps his final significant contract as he enters his age 32 season. Cook was the centerpiece of Jon Gruden’s offense catching 68 passes for 896 yards.
The deal he signed two years ago was for $5.3 million annual, one would imagine Cook would be seeking a deal worth seven to eight million per.
It would behoove the Raiders to think about using one of their early round picks on the tight end of the future. If one of the high end tights ends in the class such as a Noah Fant or Irv Smith Jr slips to the second round, that would be a great value pick.
2. Bring in a right tackle to compete with Brandon Parker
There continues to be a revolving door at right tackle for the Raiders. Brandon Parker struggled mightily during his rookie season after Donald Penn was placed on season ending IR.
After the abuse Derek Carr suffered last season, it may be wise for the Raiders to pull back a bit on putting two young tackles out there and look to see what Donald Penn has left or look to bring someone it to compete with Parker.
The most attractive tackle option on the free agent market, but also an expensive option would be Ja’wuan James. He is only 27, and has been an effective starting right tackle for the Dolphins for the past five years. James is looking to cash in on his second contract in the league. Cheaper alternatives would include a former top 10 draft pick Ereck Flowers who has been a major bust to this point or a possible reunion with a former Raider Jared Veldheer.
3. Sign Jadeveon Clowney
How strange would it be to trade Khalil Mack because you didn’t want to invest $20 million plus in an edge rusher just to turn around and sign an edge rusher (who isn’t as good) to a deal in the ball park of the one you refused to pay Mack?
Very strange, but it has to be done. Gruden saw how badly the defense struggled without a legit pass rusher. The Raiders have the money to entice Clowney and should do everything in their power to make a deal happen.
In addition to signing Clowney, the Raiders should look to add a third rusher in the draft. An ideal situation would be if the big three (Bosa, Allen, Q. Williams) are all off the board at pick four, trading out of the fourth spot. The Raiders could acquire more draft capital and still add another pass rusher later in round one.
4. Sign Landon Collins
In my opinion, after signing an edge rusher, safety Landon Collins should be priority number two.
The list of safeties currently on the roster include Karl Joseph, Erik Harris, Marcus Gilchrist, and Dallin Leavitt. Collins is a 2016 All-pro, and arguably one of the best safeties in the game. Everything out there about Collins suggests that he is a great teammate and is well respected in the locker room. He was chosen as one of the captains for the Giants in 2018.
As is the case with most free agents, the Raiders might have to over pay to get Collins to come to Oakland. If he seriously considers the Raiders as a landing spot they should not hesitate to make it happen.
Keep mind Collins has many good years ahead of him, he just turned 25 in January.
5. Sign Le’Veon Bell
You want to give your fan base something to get excited about in it’s final season in Oakland, bring on a 27-year-old future hall of fame running back.
The Raiders have a major need at running back, tons of cap space, and Bell wants to get paid. Seems like an ideal match. Bell would immediately give the Raiders a big time threat on offense.
The skill set that Bell poses combined with Gruden’s creativity would do wonders for an offense that ranked 23rd in total offense and 28th in points per game.
If the Raiders could execute this perfect free agent plan they can focus on positions such as middle linebacker, wide receiver, and cornerback in the draft.