Don’t expect Raiders to spend on free agents

Buffalo Bills v Atlanta Falcons
Owens would help, but the price is probably not right.

If you were to poll Raider Nation on what position the team needs to improve in order to get better, most would probably say that it’s the quarterback position. Wide receiver might give the quarterback answer a run for the money. After that, you’d probably have the stalwarts choosing offensive line and some still hoping for some more defensive help.

For any of that to happen, Al Davis is going to have to work some good old fashioned draft magic or find some underrated diamonds in the rough–because it’s highly unlikely that he’ll want to outbid anyone for the unrestricted free agents in 2010.When the top free agent quarterback is Chad Pennington, the top offensive lineman is 38-year old Kevin Mawae, and the top free agent on the market is 36-year old team destroyer Terrell Owens, it’s time to start open tryouts. Sure, if the price is right–like the league minimum–either of those players would be an added benefit to your team, but anything much more than a cheap one-year contract would be reckless.

I won’t go into all of the details of how this uncapped year affects the league, but if you want to read up on it a bit, you can check out NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora’s breakdown by clicking here. The gist of it is, teams won’t be bidding gazillions of dollars on high-profile free agents this year.

So, where does that leave the Raiders in their quest for improvement? To improve, they are probably going to have to promote from within.

On defense, the Raiders’ biggest issue is their linebacking corps. The defensive line has talent, and barring injury to Greg Ellis or Richard Seymour (who says he wants to be a Raider in 2010), that group should only get better. While the secondary could use another talented corner, what secondary in the NFL couldn’t?

At linebacker, it’s hard to say what the Raiders need. There were some games where the linebackers were utilized in a way that seemed to emphasize what talents they had, but too often this group wasn’t used that way. Most likely, the Raiders need to figure out what sort of defense they want to run on a weekly basis and put players in those spots that can get the job done.

On offense, there are so many things that the Raiders need to do, and some of it is on Tom Cable. Cornell Green needs to ride the pine in favor of someone who doesn’t need to false start to get the job done and Cooper Carlisle’s best days may be behind him. Replacing those two is the sole responsibility of the head coach, then he’ll have to make some sort of commitment to whoever he inserts in those two spots so they can get the chance to fortify the line.

Much of the rest of the offense is the same as the right side of the offensive line. Forcing Darrius Heyward-Bey on the offense for most of the season was a tragic mistake on Cable’s part, especially when he had experienced players such as Johnnie Lee Higgins, Todd Watkins, and Javon Walker watching from the sidelines. As much as Darren McFadden is supposed to be a ‘featured back’, he just isn’t cut out for it. I don’t even think I have to talk about JaMarcus Russell, do I? When you have your best quarterback (Charlie Frye) as your third string for most of the season, and your worst (Russell) as your starter, you have nobody to blame but yourself…that is, if you are the head coach.

The best thing for the Raiders, and the most likely, is that they’ll re-sign all of their restricted and unrestricted free agents that they still want, find a few underrated guys to throw into the mix, and attempt to have a good draft. Hopefully for Raider Nation, that’s all it will take to have their first winning season in ages.


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This article has 6 Comments

  1. If the Raiders bring back Jabust it will be to their own peril. He and DHB stink up the field, these guys are not NFL caliber players. How can so many other see this and not the Raiders organization. Is it just because they do not wish to admit to their mistakes in the draft. Murphy clearly outplayed DHB and Jabust was outplayed by every QB in the NFL. These guys are brutal. The only people that have to suffer are Raider fans. This front office is a joke, it shows at the top of the draft. If they bring back these players the only people that will watch the games are Raider players and people that are employed by the Raiders. If either of these players play a down next season it will show that the Raiders front office and coaching staff know nothing about the NFL.

  2. You are a stupid stupid man Rob. Grads was obviously the best QB from preseason games all the way through. If the throws, game in and out didn’t show you that then the preformance in the steelers game should have made it obvious. WR is a contender for our weekest spot huh?! not our complete inability to stop the run or block at all on pass OR run plays? So we dont need a middle or inside linebacker? we dont need a great DT or RG or OT? not a franchise QB (won’t happen this year unless we get lucky in the 3rd round or later.) A stud saftey? an outside LB a good fullbasck to block for our three RB’s and the QB, nope we need someone to step in for chaz, or for murphy, we need a third guy better than walker or higgens or dhb can be. you’re a moron. Your thoughts on who the best free agents are is silly too. Just thoroughly your whole piece here shows an amazing inability to understand football or the raiders. Seriously how does one fomulate opinions that are so wrong?!

  3. The one thing this article fails to say, I don’t pin JaMeatloaf or DHB on Cable, that’s on AD. Clearly Cable was sick of Ja Meatloaf early on in the season, this is not the first time a coach has had to play an AD pet. In the last 3 years we have had a 7-4-1 overall pick and we have dumped on all of them. I hope we trade our #8 this year for a veteran that has shown they can play in this league, ENOUGH wasted picks because they have a good 40 time or can throw a football 70 yards on their knees. JaMeatloaf is a lazy loser!

  4. I for one think we are 3 positions away from a top 3 defense. Two spots could easily be filled in free agency. First, sign CB Dunta Robinson, second sign either Ryan Pickett or Vince Wilfolk to play a true NT. That would free up Tommy Kelly to play a true 3 Technique DT for once and it will free up Seymour and Ellis on the ends. Finally, draft Rolando McClain to play Middle Linebacker. After that, the only other thing I see needing to be done is to get a blocking full back, hopefully Oren O’Neal can come back or draft RaShawn Jackson.

  5. Good to see you posting again Rob… keep the updates coming.

    As for Laughing at Rob, you may want to re-read the article, as you are the one looking stupid. He didn’t say WR was a contender for need, he said if you polled the Raider Nation you may hear that. You may notice when stating his own thoughts on the offense he started with the o-line. My advise, learn to read before you go off. I will say, however, I agree with you that Grad was probably the best QB. I like his effort, and leadership wise he is everything JaMarcus lacks and then some.

  6. Not a bad assessment, but the best QB was Gradkowski — the guy who wins games — and the LB need really boils down to a strong, run-stopper at MLB. Morrison is an OLB who covers well and pursues. Oaklnad needs a head-on colision guy like Ray Lewis. I have to agree about Cable playing guys who weren’t ready, like DHB.

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