When you have a quarterback who is making $25 million a year and that quarterback is coming off a season where he was sacked 51 times you can expect a shake up on the offensive line.
Jon Gruden knows that the key to success on offense starts with protecting Derek Carr. Mike Mayock and Gruden have made it a priority early in free agency to address the lack of “Carr” insurance.
The offensive line is going to look much different this season. Starting with the departures, the Raiders said goodbye to guards Kelechi Osemele and key reserve Jon Feliciano. Osemele was dealt along with a 6th round pick (196) to the Jets for a 5th round pick (140), the move frees up $10.2 million in cap space. Feliciano jumped at an opportunity to be a starter, signing with the Buffalo Bills.
The additions include guard/tackle Denzelle Good, who was added late season and re-signed to a one-year deal. Good played well when filling in for Gabe Jackson last season and as of now could be in line for a starting guard position with Jackson potentially switching back to left guard.
The big addition, both literally and figuratively, is tackle Trent Brown. Brown is a massive human being at 6 foot 8, 350 pounds. The Raiders made Brown the highest paid tackle in league history with a $66 million dollar contract ($36.75 million guaranteed). The question that many are asking is will Kolton Miller move to right tackle if Brown is being paid left tackle money?
Most of his three years with the 49ers Brown played right tackle, but was moved to left tackle with the Patriots last season. Despite which tackle spot he plays with the Raiders, the addition of Brown improves the line as a whole by bumping 2018 rookie right tackle Brandon Parker out of a starting role.
With the possibility of Gabe Jackson moving back to left guard where he began his NFL career with the Raiders, the combo of Brown and Jackson would form a behemoth left side to the line.
Donald Penn seems to be the odd man out. The veteran left tackle turns 36 in April and is coming off a season ending injury after starting the first four games at right tackle. With the addition of Brown to go along with Parker and Miller it would make sense for the Raiders to cut Penn. Releasing him would save $5.475 million in salary cap space.
The only sure starting position on the line to remain unchanged is Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson.
One final change that should be expected is for the Raiders add another lineman, preferably a guard though the draft. There are some nice options available if Mayock and Gruden decide to go in that direction. Cody Ford, Dalton Risner, Chris Lindstrom, and Garret Bradbury are a few of the top names. Ford, Risner, and Bradburry offer an added bonus of being able to play multiple positions on the line if needed.
Projected Starting Offensive Line
LT- Trent Brown
LG- Gabe Jackson
C- Rodney Hudson
RG- Denzelle Good
RT- Kolton Miller