Oct 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) hands off the ball to running back Darren McFadden (20) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: What Free Agents Need To Stay

The Oakland Raiders ride into the off-season with the greatest amount of salary cap, currently projected at $64 million, in league history. In 2013, head coach Dennis Allen had to deal with $56.2 million in dead money  tthat had piled on from the lousy cap management of the past.

For the first time in their tenure, Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie get cap room, without cutting players, and a full slate of draft picks. Free agency begins March 11 and Raider Nation will eagerly await the day when they can start recruiting legitimate talent to the team.

While free agency and the draft will signal the arrival of new talent, there is the matter of evaluating the current list of free agents. Let’s take a look at some of the players that could make a comeback in silver and black and some that would look for new homes:

Darren McFadden: Unless the former Razorback considers a hefty pay cut, his return is unlikely. Once a player with considerable talent and potential, injuries have slowed Run DMC and brought him down to earth. His chance to become a star has waned with every little bruise he picked up on the gridiron.

Vance Walker: Walker was signed as a free agent from Atlanta and lived up to his billing as a run stuffer, but he struggled to generate pass rush playing the three technique. In Allen’s scheme having a pass rushing tackle is critical, but more significant is drawing double teams from the guard and center. Walker is incapable of either so he’s a back up at best. I would consider him for depth, but with a pay cut from the $2 million he made this season.

Charles Woodson: Definitely needs to be re-signed. The future Hall of Famer brings playmaking ability as well as leadership.

Jared Veldheer: Most league experts rank him in the top 10 at his position. He has to be the top priority and a candidate for the franchise tag if it comes down to it.

Mike Jenkins: Jenkins was signed as a free agent from the Dallas Cowboys and played a significant part in the early season rise of the defense. His aggressive man coverage skills were put to good use. I would definitely like to see him back.

Jacoby Ford: Ford is best remembered for his playmaking ability when he was first drafted, but injuries have slowed him down. Many fans opine that he has been mismanaged, but the fact is that he doesn’t have the same explosiveness anymore.

Tracy Porter: Tracy lined up in the slot most of the season in nickel packages and on the right side in base defense. He played well for the most part and I would welcome him back at a reasonable price.

Lamar Houston: Houston started off strong, but faded down the stretch due to over-use. He has to be brought back. The question will be how much he would value himself at. I see him as a left end. He was mismatched at times going against the best left tackles and his lack of elite speed suits him best against right tackles. He is very good against the run and would be best in the $5 million-8 million range

Usama Young: Young, like Porter, is another of Allen’s former players from the 09 New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning secondary. He played well in the absence of Tyvon Branch although he is better suited at the free safety position. He filled in well for Woodson as well before he was lost for the season. I would like to see Young in silver and black next season.

Jason Hunter: Definitely not a starter. He is best as a rotational player at the end position. His inconsistency indicates a lack of playmaking ability. Only back as a back up.

Phillip Adams: One of Reggie’s projects from his Green Bay days, Adams is only a roster player necessary for depth. He was burned on routes far too often. A position that could be upgraded through the draft.

Jeron Mastrud: A great blocker, but lacks catching ability. Should be gone with the emergence of Nick Kasa.

Andre Gurode: A wily veteran, but too injury prone  at this point in his career. I’ll have to say no.

Khalif Barnes: One of the league leaders in pre-snap penalties, Barnes is very error prone. I would sign him to back up the tackle position at the league minimum.

Chimdi Chekwa: was buried on a talent deficient team all season, but made some plays in the last couple of games. He’s a restricted free agent so he’ll be in camp.

Rashad Jennings: A true professional, Jennings would be welcomed back with open arms by Raider fans. He did well before he was hobbled by injuries.

Tony Pashos: A late camp causality of the Washington Redskins, Pashos kept second-round pick Menelik Watson on the bench. Should be brought back at the right price.

 Kaelin Burnett, Jamize Olawale, Brandian Ross, Matt McCants, Lamar Mady, Jeremy Stewart: Should be kept around for depth. Burnett did well on special teams and reserve duty. Olawale showed flashes as a double tthreat at full back, Ross did somewhat of a decent job in Tyvon Branch’s absence, Matt McCants showed enough potential to figure as backup at the tackle positions. Stewart was an asset on special teams and that’s probably his only value.

Tony Hills, Daniel Muir: Hills was buried on the roster and would take a spot from a draft pick in 2014, Muir was too injury prone.

Looking at this roster, it’s amazing that coach Allen squeezed out 4 wins. The only roster that I could honestly say was less talented, would be the Jacksonville Jaguars. A lot of these free agents who come back, will be battling for roster spots against rookies and other free agent pickups next training camp. And some of these guys will be out of the league by next season.


Tags: NFL Oakland Raiders

  • Dean Thomas

    Top 2 priorities are Veldeer and Houson. Shouldn’t have a problem signing the other guys u mention bringing back. As far a Ford goes, not only has he lost a step, but he can’t catch and would give me chest pains every time he was back to receive a punt! He’s gone, D Mac gone!

  • Rees Britton

    Do you proof read before posting?

    • Alvin Chandra

      I apologize. Guess I didn’t :)))

  • Johnny chacon

    Hello McFly Anyone home. slacker Watson was a second Round pick not a first round pick, first round selection was hayden. I belive 8 mill might be too hugh at a average of 5-7 but if 8 keeps him then yes. we have to throw 10 mill to Greg Hardy if not 6.5-8.5 to michael johnso opposite to houston will make him better

    • Alvin Chandra

      Excuse my typo :)) Hardy has already stated he’d give Carolina a “hometown discount” and 10 million may not be enough as it is. Johnson would come at around $12 mil minimum. The 5th pick could be used to get an elite pass rusher for far cheaper.

  • PJ

    First of all Raider Nation does not get to recruit talent. We just get to sit here and watch Dumb and Dumber make decisions like they have the last 2 years. MD has to stop this insanity with his money! DA is just moving on like 8-24 is not his fault but the lack of talent on the team? Well, when he keeps making one bad decision after another when it comes to players what else do you expect? This just proves the rest of us who KNOWS DA HAS TO BE FIRED!!!!!! Helllllooooo?????

    • Alvin Chandra

      Which bad decision/s are you talking about? I think you fail to factor in the moves that were forced on Reggie and DA due to the cap situation. The back to back 8-8 teams were built by borrowing from the last couple of years and we have paid for those mistakes dearly. It’s time to move forward making better long term decisions.

      • Phil Mokate

        Not being able to develop his QBs carousel, half time adjustments, clock manage, player utilization, losing leads with soft coverage, player evaluation and the list goes on and on. Trent Richardson with 70 mil. in cap room? Need I write more reasons to justify him being fired!

        • Alvin Chandra

          You’re talking about the undrafted rookie and the running qb who can’t throw? I’ll leave it at that. It’s a joke to think you could do more with those players. Half time adjustments only work when your players can execute them. Clock management was not an issue with DA, in fact he did well like closing out the Steelers game after Pryor fell apart.

          We didn’t lose games because of soft coverages it’s because we couldn’t generate pressure with our down linemen. You have have to look at Bill apolian’s Colts. They were built to protect leads. They had two elite edge rushers in Mathis and Freeny. We don’t have that.

          Player evaluation as it relates to player acquisition is the job of the GM and his scouting dept.

          We’re not going to blow the whole cap in one off-season, that would be stupid.

          • Phil Mokate

            TP was the reason we beat the Steelers as he set a QB franchise record in the meantime. Yes, he does run and runs fast, but he only runs because he had to not because he wanted to. Why is it that if Tannehill, Wilson, Kapernik, Newton and even Geno Smith run Its a great asset, but some of you guys believe when TP does it that’s all he knows and he is a bad QB? TP is already better then Cam with 11 starts to Cams 3 year’s. I have studied the film and I will admit TP needs some work, but has every tangible and more for being one of the best. Have you watched Cams games? He is horrible. This does not explain losing leads EVERY GAME because of players not executing. Nickle package on the goal line? Are you kidding me?

          • Alvin Chandra

            Look I understand thou are frustrated and just want to win again, but TP it’s not the answer. He has poor mechanics, bad footwork, no pocket presence, can’t read defenses (third year in nfl), doesn’t set correct protection, locks onto his primary receiver, and the worst is that he doesn’t go through his progression. That’s why he has to run.

            So if the offense goes 2×2, you’re gonna play goal line defense?

          • Phil Mokate

            I have had to many of these conversations with TP haters. It is just my opinion that TP is the best QB with this kind of athleticism and only 11 starts that we have ever had. He has not been given a chance to adjust like every QB. Brady, Breeze, Mannings, Rodgers, Aikman, S. Young, Elway and even Marino needed stability and time before becoming who they became. My opinion does not matter. Last time Mark Davis and I spoke was when I was yelling at him on tv while he was asking for improvement. I just want to win you are right there. Its also my opinion that DA is the worst coach I have seen here in a long long time. Maybe since 06′ when we went 2-16!

          • Alvin Chandra

            Again, Pryor was in his third year. If he was going to be one of those qb’s he would have shown something. The only position he could legitimately hold down in the NFL might be tight end. It would take him at least a season to learn blocking and route running, but he has great hands being a former basketball star.
            I disagree on Allen, I think he is in fact the best coach we’ve had since Gruden. You have to see the subtle differences in the teams from 2012 and 2013. He got better results from career backups. They always played hard, but they just weren’t talented enough. Imagine that motivation with talent.
            I’m not a TP hater, I don’t care who lines up under center so long as he restores our prominence.

          • Phil Mokate

            I respectfully disagree. TP has not been able to settle in at QB due to a new HC that new he had to win immediately under AL or they were gone. So with AL bearing down They kept bringing in vet QBs they thought would win now. Hue and DA. 3 diff playbook, 3 O Coordinators, and 10 other QBs in 3 years with only 11 starts never gave TP a chance? You know that every new GM and HC that comes in wants their guy and usually everyone else is gone. Yet, TP is still hanging around. He must have something they see because nobody but fans are Tebowing TP. DA won’t give him a shot when he was 3-5 but ride the little yellow bus into the ground with 5 straight losses? 1-5??? hmmm, FIRE HIS ASS and let’s find the right coach. DA will not compete with the likes of Reid or Fox. We need a veteran coach period, and more talent I agree.