Oakland Raiders: 5 Big Moves Raiders Could Make in 2013 Free Agency
Once again, the Oakland Raiders are forced to enjoy the playoffs from the comfort of their own homes instead of actually playing in them.
We're less than four months until the 2013 NFL draft, and Oakland has plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the football before next season begins.
With such a defensive-heavy draft class coming out in April, the Raiders are sure to draft a talented prospect that will help a defense that finished in the bottom half of the league against the pass and the rush.
The defense wasn't the only unit that struggled for Oakland in 2012 either. The Raiders' offense was completely one-dimensional and Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme inhibited them from taking full advantage of their potential.
After it is all said and done, the Raiders are sure to be an improved team in 2013. Let's take a look at some of the moves Oakland could make in free agency.
Re-Sign Philip Wheeler
With 109 tackles, two forced fumbles and three sacks, linebacker Philip Wheeler was Oakland's most impressive defensive player in 2012.
Wheeler was inked to a one-year $700,000 deal last season, and the Raiders would be wise to keep such a young and passionate defender on their team.
This year's free agency linebackers are weak, with Dallas' Anthony Spencer being the biggest name available. Wheeler is arguably No. 2 on the list and Oakland would take a serious blow to its linebacker corps if it was unable to re-sign him.
Sign William Beatty
Carson Palmer was limited to his time in the pocket because the offensive line struggled to protect him all season long.
The Raiders' first priority in the draft needs to be on defense, so signing an offensive tackle in free agency would really help out their struggling line.
It's highly unlikely the team could go after a high-profile offensive tackle like Ryan Clady or Andre Smith, but Beatty seems like much more of a possibility after a 2012 cap hit of only $825,000.
Sign Mike Wallace
Although he had a down season in 2012, Mike Wallace is still one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the NFL.
He's fast, he's got great hands, he's got big-game experience and did I mention he's fast?
Wallace is sure to get paid by some team in the offseason, but the Raiders could be in the running for him if general manager Reggie McKenzie is able to cut some of the expensive dead weight off the team.
The Raiders have been known for throwing the deep ball throughout their history, something Al Davis implemented as soon as he came to Oakland.
The only dilemma will be getting Wallace at the right price.
Re-Sign Brandon Myers
Brandon Myers was the MVP for the Oakland Raiders in 2012 after leading the team in both receptions and yards.
Myers was Carson Palmer's most reliable target and finished sixth among NFL tight ends with 806 yards. He had a cap hit of less than $600,000 in 2012, and is sure to get looks from several other teams after such an impressive year.
Myers was one of the only bright spots on the Raiders this season, and having a consistent target is not something the team is used to.
Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham have helped transform the tight end position over the last couple of seasons, and Myers proved why it has become a much more relevant position than it's been in the past.
Dump Richard Seymour
One of the things the Raiders must do in 2013 is get younger. Richard Seymour is not part of that solution.
Seymour recorded three sacks in just eight games after a hamstring injury sidelined him for the final two months of the season.
Even though the 33-year-old defensive tackle restructured his contract last March, he's still not worth the money the Raiders are paying him.
With fellow defensive tackle Tommy Kelly also getting paid a ridiculous amount of money, the Raiders must get rid of some of the dead weight on the defensive line.
Oakland is more than capable of replacing Seymour with fellow free-agent Desmond Bryant, who did a solid job filling in for Seymour by recording three sacks in his final four games.
If that doesn't work out, the Raiders could also draft another defensive tackle like Everett Dawkins or Sylvester Williams in the third round if they go with a pass-rusher off the edge in the first round.