Oakland Raiders: Former Players Struggle to Adjust to Life Without Raiders
Last summer, the Oakland Raiders seemed to be doing all the wrong things in free agency. Raider Nation was shocked when it had found out All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha's contract was void. Former second overall pick Robert Gallery was demanding a contract that was well above his worth while fan favorite tight end Zach Miller bolted after a short visit with Seattle.
Many Raider fans were thinking, "What in the world is going on?" These guys represented the Raider Nation and Al isn't even trying to re-sign these guys. Seems like the late Al Davis knew exactly what he was doing, well aware that these players would not do well outside of Oakland.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Left for Philadelphia Eagles
First, let us start with cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Touted as one of the best free agent defensive backs ever, Asomugha got offers everywhere. Even teams who didn't need Nnamdi, like the Jets and Eagles, wanted the shutdown cornerback.
In the end, Nnamdi surprised every analyst there was and elected to join the Eagles.
In The City of Brotherly Love, Nnamdi quickly realized the fans were not so loving if you did not play up to par. Of course, Nnamdi was still a good cornerback.
When he lined up against Larry Fitzgerald, he had Fitzgerald's number and held him without a reception. Nnamdi had the most interceptions of his last five years at three.
However, in the 2012 season, Nnamdi may have lost his "Shutdown Corner" title.
When talking about the best cornerback in the league, many won't even hesitate saying Darrelle Revis. Just a year ago, the debate was incredibly heated between Revis and Asomugha. He struggled against Victor Cruz and the beating he took from the undrafted receiver was a stepping stone for the eventual Super Bowl champion.
Clearly, he is the not the player he was in Oakland, despite being just one year removed. Al Davis took a risk by letting the cornerback walk, but he knew that without the Raiders defense, Nnamdi would falter.
Robert Gallery: Left for Seattle Seahawks
Robert Gallery was the typical Raider—long hair, arms covered in tattoos and a mean streak.
The former second overall pick was a bust for a majority of his career.
Al Davis gave him the keys to be the Raiders' franchise at left tackle, and as a result, quarterbacks were beaten to death. But despite that, Al kept Gallery on the team and eventually had him moved to left guard.
Slowly, but surely, Gallery was shedding his bust label. He was improving his play, but was often hampered by injuries.
In his final two seasons with Oakland, Gallery missed 14 games. Despite that, he demanded $8 million a year while the Raiders were only willing to give him $2.5 million per year.
With that, Gallery took his talents up north and played for his former coach Tom Cable, now the offensive line coach for Seattle. To no one's surprise, Gallery struggled to stay healthy. It took him no longer than the preseason finale to get injured with a sprained knee.
Playing in his first game of the year against Pittsburgh, Gallery struggled. Turns out, he had a groin injury that would have him on the sideline for six weeks.
Today, it was announced Gallery would be released from the Seahawks. And somehow, Al proved to be right after all. He knew that Gallery's ability to stay healthy was deteriorating and refused to pay the man $8 million to be inactive.
Zach Miller: Left for Seattle Seahawks
Zach Miller was always a fan favorite of Raider Nation. From the day he was drafted to the last day he donned the Silver and Black, Miller was the Raiders' best receiver, despite being a tight end. Through the rough times, Miller was one of the few bright spots. He was destined to follow in the footsteps of Dave Casper and Todd Christensen.
Unfortunately, Miller was low on the Raiders' list of players to re-sign. He saw player after player get picked back up before him and was offended. Seizing his opportunity, Pete Carroll got Miller to Seattle and didn't stop until he was a Seahawk.
Let's just skip to the point here. Miller had an atrocious season with Seattle. He had 25 catches for 233 yards and 0 touchdowns. Even as a rookie, Miller had more yards, catches, and touchdowns.
Let's skip to another point. Zach Miller is overrated and Al knew that.
He knew that the Raiders had no threat at receiver during the time Miller was in Oakland and that Miller was always the number one target. He knew Miller had the most reliable pair of hands out of all the Raider receivers and outside of Oakland, where teams had guys who could get separation and catch, Miller would struggle.
Of course, if re-signed, Miller would not have done well, either. With the emergence of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford, Miller would have shown his true colors no matter what color jersey he decided to sport.
Michael Bush: To Be Determined
Though in a new era, the Raiders still have an authoritative figure who knows his football. Reggie McKenzie has decided to let Michael Bush leave and test the free agency market.
He knows that Bush is not a number one running back. He does not have breakaway speed that it takes and is not all that tough for a power back.
Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and I would love to have him come back, but you have to admit this guy is overrated. Perhaps it is because power backs rarely find success anymore, but you do not see Bush bowling over guys on a regular basis.
Starting in nine games, Bush nearly ran for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Perhaps if he was able to average more than a mere 3.8 yards a carry, he would have crossed the millennium mark. Bush only had two games where he finished with more than 100 rushing yards, something that franchise running backs have to do on a weekly basis.
Bush will not succeed when he leaves to be some team's number one running back. He is very well suited to be a number two bruiser.
Kamerion Wimbley: To Be Determined
While it's not official that Kamerion Wimbley has been released yet, it's very likely. He is demanding too much money to stay with the Raiders, and Reggie McKenzie will not tolerate a "me first" type player.
Kamerion Wimbley enjoyed a very good first year with the Raiders. Playing in the "elephant" role for the Raiders, he was their premier pass rusher, getting to the quarterback nine times.
Playing with a new defensive coordinator and scheme, Wimbley struggled. He was expected to drop into coverage more than rush the passer and that hurt him. Luckily, Wimbley padded his stats with a four sack game against a backup tackle on Thursday Night Football.
Finishing the season with seven sacks, Wimbley is refusing to restructure and is forcing the Raiders to pay him. Like I've said before, let him go!
Wimbley is a one-trick pony. He cannot bull-rush blockers and barely has the speed to get around guys. All he can do is his "shoulder dip" move that can easily be stopped.