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Tracy Porter #22
If the Oakland Raiders are able to pick up a few key players in free agency they will not need to trade up in the draft.
This will prove difficult because of the team's salary cap situation.
Oakland is $22 million over the cap and will need to either release players or restructure a lot of contracts if they want to be able to have money left over for free agency.
Fortunately, with a roster full of underachieving players, they may have some spare change when the free agency period begins.
The following are three free agents the Raiders should target:
Tracy Porter, CB
As mentioned, the Raiders' secondary was on the wrong side of average in 2011. The absence of Nnamdi Asomugha was evident as Oakland gave up the second-most touchdown passes.
Tracy Porter is no where near as talented as Asomugha, but he is a solid player and can help out immediately.
While it is not evident in his stats, Porter has improved every season. He is undersized, but his quick feet allow him to close on receivers in a hurry.
Dennis Allen, the Raiders' new head coach, was Porter's defensive backs coach in New Orleans from 2008-2010. Do not be surprised if Allen targets Porter to help rebuild the secondary.
Kahlil Bell, RB
The Raiders will be thrifty during the free agency period and look for players with hidden talent.
Kahlil Bell has had a hard time earning roster spots in his three seasons in the league, but he capitalizes when given the opportunity.
On 119 career chances, Bell averages 4.7 yards per carry. He also managed to catch 25 passes last season while backing up Matt Forte and Marion Barber in Chicago.
He may not be explosive, but his vision and decisive cuts enables him to be productive.
With Michael Bush likely out of the picture in 2012, the Raiders will need a back who can support the team if/when Darren McFadden gets hurt. The combination of Bell and Taiwan Jones (fourth-round pick in 2011) will give Oakland the insurance they need at the running back position.
Erik Walden, OLB/DE
As previously mentioned, the Raiders will likely convert to a 3-4 defense in 2012.
Erik Walden played outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense the last two seasons in Green Bay. He is stout against the run and capable of creating pressure on passing downs.
Walden would ease the transition to the 3-4 defense and give the Raiders the cheap pass-rushing outside linebacker they need.