Dear Al: Suggestions for Free Agency and the Draft

Corey GrinnerContributor IFebruary 17, 2009

There's a lot of talk on what the Raiders should do in this April's draft. And after some thinking and team evaluation, I have a few suggestions; not just for the draft, but for free agency too.

First, let's talk cuts. Terdell Sands, Kwame Harris, and Ronald Curry are musts.

A lot of people are screaming for Javon Walker to be let go, but the cap hit would be the equivalent of a stack of bricks. Maybe rolling the dice on a contract restructuring is possible.

As for Huff, I here you saying it, but he is a great athlete. Don't just release him; try a restructured contract, or see if another team in need of a safety is willing to give up a second-round pick. 

That may be unlikely, but maybe a third or fourth-rounder is there. If not, go for a restructuring to create cap space. I believe the change in defensive coordinators will benefit him, either as a safety or as a switch to corner.

There are rumors that you're working on a long-term deal with Asomugha. Hopefully, that will get done before Thursday, or you'll put the franchise tag on him. 

If by some miracle that happens, take Lechler. If it doesn't, tag Asomugha, but don't make it exclusive, so that someone else sets the bar and you have the choice to match it.

Hiram Eugene, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Rashad Baker, Jake Grove, Jon Alston, and Drew Carter are basement-rate re-signings.

In the free agent market, keep it cheap and specific. Go after guys like Mike Furrey, Dewayne Robertson, Rocky Bernard, Tank Johnson, or any serviceable offensive linemen. 

Notice, there is only one receiver on this list, because a big-name guy will only hinder the growth of the young receivers. We're already stuck with Walker.

As for the draft, I realize there is much talk about a wide receiver. But, we already have young receivers. Adding another one only makes complicates the growing pains.

If B. J. Raji is available, we should take him. If not, the best offensive tackle available, one that can play both spots, is the pick. Henderson did a good job down the stretch, so left tackle is not a pressing need.

If you go offensive tackle in the first-round, go with a defensive tackle in the second, a middle linebacker (or the best lineman, offensive or defensive) in the third.

If we must have one, a wideout sleeper in the fourth round makes sense. Demetrius Byrd, from LSU, is tough as nails, very fast, and came from a very successful program where he had big-game catches. He can stretch the field.

It may not sit well with some fans, but you should explore a draft-pick trade for Fargas. Bush and McFadden are the future, so let's move in that direction and give our fourth tailback a chance to show what he can do in preseason and practice. 

Personally, I love Fargas' heart, but he fails to break off big gains, and he is useless in the red zone because of his lack of vision.

Since we don't have a fifth-round pick, the last two rounds should address depth at middle linebacker, defensive tackle, offensive line, wide receiver, and the secondary.

If you can trade down to gain some extra picks, and still get a targeted lineman, that would be supreme. Add depth, get younger, and get better; all at once.