Willis McGahee – are we tempted?

So perennial pro-bowl running back Willis McGahee, having been cut by the Denver Broncos, has listed us as one of about six or seven teams that he would ideally like to join. I can’t say this news didn’t excite me. To be honest I was surprised by the news, a top NFL RB wants actively wants to join us? Maybe the Reggie-revolution is starting to bear fruit. Questions are, however, can we really afford him and even if we can, do we really need him?

Willis McGahee is an explosive 31 years old RB, traditionally near the end of the line for a RB. He has not, however, got quite the wear on the tread that a normal 31 year old RB would have, unfortunately the reasons for this are largely because of the serious injuries that he has endured over the years. We can conclude from this that he is indeed coming towards the end of his NFL career, with maybe only another couple of years reliable service left in the tank.

If McGahee could agree to come to the Oakland Raiders relatively cheap – I’d put the ceiling at a two year $3 million contract – then I would happily accommodate him. Remember Darren McFadden has a notoriously bad injury history, so a quality back up is always worth adding. Unfortunately, Willis McGahee will probably command a greater salary than we can realistically afford, but I might be wrong, old RB’s can go surprisingly cheap (in my opinion the position has been overly undervalued in recent years).

Assuming that McGahee was prepared to come to us for less than $1.5 million/year then the next problem becomes who are we willing to sacrifice. I like the young RB talent that we are starting to accumulate on the roster and wouldn’t want to risk putting Latavius Murray or Jeremy Stewart on the practice squad. The fear being that another team seizes their potential, as practice squad players are not protected from exits to other teams. So assuming that we are keeping Marcel Reece at FB (although he’s excellent cover at RB) and want to keep Latavius Murray and Jeremy Stewart on the final 53-man roster as backups to Darren MacFadden, I don’t think we really have room for McGahee…or Rashad Jennings for that matter. This, however, is the sensible strategy and as much as a say it I can’t help getting away from the thought that I would love him on the roster. There you go I’ve changed my mind and on instinct alone I say sign him, if he’ll come for less than $1.5 million, and let the mini-camp battles heat up a few degrees.


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