Talent Still Available in Free Agency

Despite the league now being well and truly into the latter-stages of free agency and supposed nfl-experts such as the Around-the-League-Debate club saying that there is very little talent left, I beg to disagree. Reggie McKenzie has brought some real quality into the Oakland Raiders roster – with three explosive starting defensive-linemen brought in, three starting-caliber offensive linemen, an upgrade at corner, a top-10 QB (more about this in a soon) and one of the best WR out there. Despite all the concerns about JV and LH leaving, in my humble opinion our roster is already much better than last year (which admittedly isn’t saying too much).

Having sat relatively tight on our cash bundles, but demonstrating a readiness to spend by apparently going hard for Jared Allen, Reggie McKenzie and the team are ready to pounce on the best talent left, while our rivals really have very left to spend.

So who is out there, that could improve our roster? Starting with the two key positions that I think we are still a bit short at (but don’t forget the draft, which is unusually deep this year):-

Terrence Cody – I know Raiders fans really want Pat Sims back, and I do too, but rumors have it him and Dennis Allen had a little falling out last year and unless they’ve kissed and made up, maybe we are going to look elsewhere at NT. Despite a lot being made of last year’s rookie Stacy McGee, as a real serious run-stuffer at NT this year – yes he’s a little light on his feet for a NT, but he has the right height and apparently is very disciplined in his gap management – I really feel we need another body to come in and compete at NT. Here again another caveat is the health of Buffalo Bills former second round draftee (in 2010) Torell Troup, a player that we picked up in January that has the potential to be a real force at NT, but to date has been hindered by serious health concerns (largely his back). Anyway back on track, another former second round draftee, Mount Cody, has been learning from one of the best, Haloti Ngata, which has limited his snaps, as has his long-established trend for being a little on the large-size. Cody, however, has real talent, it is just that he is yet to fully apply it, let’s be honest NT’s are like fine wines in this regard they tend to get better with age and I say let’s bring Cody in cheap and let him battle it out with McGee and Troup for snaps. I’ve got a feeling RB’s will be dreading coming up against them three for years to come.

Terrell Thomas – the coaching staff obviously like the young DB’s we have, but another CB, particularly a slot-CB, would make us a much stronger prospect in a conference that regularly has to face the likes of Rivers and Manning. Other options, of course, include a deep CB-draft, with real talent likely to be available there after the first two rounds, and a few other bodies, such as Dimitri Patterson, Josh Wilson or one of the old-heads like Jammer, Bailey or Rogers. Hate me for this but Michael Huff looked ok at CB for us a few years ago…sorry!!

Robert Ayers – a cheap DE option, this former first round pick has looked less of the bust he initially seemed and could provide useful rotation/competition at DE

Pat Angerer – always liked this former Colt, would strengthen the ILB depth nicely, allowing us to play more 3-4 defenses if and when we choose.

Mark Sanchez – we don’t really need him, but I wouldn’t mind him being brought in, if cheap, to compete with Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor (and Trend Edwards) as backups. The Eagles have a strong QB depth and they are still supposedly looking at Sanchez as an option.

Ronnie Brown – Tony Sparano worked wonders with him a few years ago, and despite his age (33) he could still be useful to bring into the rotation

Knowshon Moreno – looked really good last year and would be a nice change of pace back with DMC


Slowlando Apparently Targetting Comback

If there is anything to remind the Oakland Raiders to be careful in free agency and this year’s draft it is the unpalatable reminder of Rolando McClain – one of the worst draft picks in nfl, let alone Raiders, history – as news emerges that he is targetting a comeback.

Despite being the sure fire pick we all thought he’d be – and I don’t remember too many character concerns being voiced at the time we drafted him – Rolando McClain was everything that you don’t want on your team. He thought he was more gangster than player. Cutting McClain was one of the best moves we ever made.

Apparently the Baltimore Ravens still retain the rights to Rolando McClain, so for his sake I hope he didn’t burn as many bridges there as he did here. anyway with players such as Donald Butler, Jon Beason, Karlos Dansby, Daryl Smith and Brandon Spikes available in a deep FA pool this year I see very little need for a human-scum such as Slowlando, not unless you want a lazy bum playing at MLB/ILB.

The one good thing that Rolando McClain does is make me think for favourably of JaMarcus Russell. I would much rather JaMarcus Russell’s potential – although likely never to be exploited – than Rolando’s negativity….strangely I can’t help but hope JaMarcus makes it good, unlike Rolando McClain who is nothing but bad.


No Tags in 2014

So there was have it, no tags were applied – not even transition tags – so the Oakland Raiders under Reggie’s watch are looking after the proverbial purse strings. To be honest I think this is a good thing, as we didn’t have a potential free agent that was truly deserving of top-5 money. I’d say top-15 is probably the best description of Jared Veldheer, top-20/25 for Lamar Houston and top-40 for DMC.

We need to play a patient game this off-season, we have the biggest pile of chips, but if we sit tight we can let the other teams spend the silly money, then we grab all the under-appreciated plays for potential bargains.

I’m happy to sit back and enjoy this free agency, as personally I’ve been impressed with Reggie’s recent FA bargain buys – particularly Wheeler, Usama Young, Nick Roach, Tony Pashos, Tracy Porter, Daniel Muir, Matt McGloin, Matt McCants, Mike Jenkins, Andre Holmes, Kevin Burnett and Pat Sims. More of the same, indeed better (as we have more money) would be much appreciated. Patience fellow Raiders, the upcycle in our fortunes has already started, and it’s going to gather some serious momentum this year – and fast.