It’s the Friday before the start of free agency and it’s been a bloodbath. No team was more of a slasher than the Jaguars, who released several big former free agent additions in cost cutting moves.
The Jaguars announced five players were cut today, several of whom come at positions the Raiders figure to be looking to bolster this offseason.
The key players released were defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, right tackle Jermey Parnell, and running back Carlos Hyde.
Three years ago when Jackson was a free agent from the Broncos, the Raiders went after him hard. They were one of three teams along with the Eagles and Jaguars who were vying for Jackson, but the Jags gave him a monster deal and he naturally signed. He had 18.0 sacks over three seasons in Jacksonville. Now 29, might the Raiders still be interested?
Safety is a position the Raiders have not been shy about saying they will look to add talent. The safety market is flush with safeties as it is and Gipson adds to that. The 28-year-old has been a full time starter for the Jaguars and Browns over the past six seasons, including making the Pro Bowl in 2014.
Parnell has started 57 games the past four season with the Jaguars. Right tackle is a major need for the Raiders. Third round rookie Brandon Parker had a rough go of it last season and a veteran starter would be a smart idea. Parnell is 32, so he would certainly not be a long term answer, but rather competition at the position in the short term.
The Jags just sent a 5th round pick to Cleveland for Hyde midway through last season. He looked a lot better for the Browns than he did for the Jags. The 28-year-old will catch on somewhere. The Raiders currently have no starting running backs with both Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin about to become free agents.
Certainly, the Raiders aren’t simply going to be going after every player out there at every position they need. When it comes to free agency, though, the more the merrier. If another team signs one of these guys, they are less likely to be in on the bidding for a player the Raiders ARE interested in.
Also consider, these players can sign with a club right now. They don’t need to wait until the open of free agency March 13.