Buying or Selling Latest Free-Agent Buzz Surrounding Oakland Raiders

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIFebruary 12, 2013

Buying or Selling Latest Free-Agent Buzz Surrounding Oakland Raiders

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    As the NFL offseason gets underway, the fun part begins as teams cut and sign players with the hopes of making a postseason run the following year.

    Fans give a close listen to the swirling rumors about their favorite team, while general managers do their best to sign the best players while still maintaining payroll.

    The Oakland Raiders will have quite the busy offseason once again as general manager Reggie McKenzie will try to sign solid players at a reasonable price.

    Here is some of the latest free-agent speculation surrounding the silver and black.

Buying: Nick Barnett

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    The Buffalo Bills cut veteran linebacker Nick Barnett on Monday, making him one of the best available linebackers during this point in time.

    The Raiders aren't nearly as financially strapped this offseason as they were last year, but Reggie McKenzie still must be careful how he spends his money.

    McKenzie is all too familiar with linebacker Nick Barnett, as he worked with him in Green Bay, and so is Oakland's new linebackers coach Bob Sanders, who worked with Barnett in Buffalo.

    Barnett is still a solid linebacker even at 31, and his value won't be astronomically high.

    Assuming (and hoping) Rolando McClain is out the door, Barnett would bring plenty of experience to a young and thin Oakland defensive unit.

Selling: Any Big-Name Wide Receiver

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    Although the young Raiders' receivers dropped several passes last season, the team just can't afford a standout wide receiver.

    Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe are some of the biggest wide receivers available this offseason, but it's extremely unlikely the Raiders would be able to land any of them.

    Oakland could go after cheaper receivers like Jerome Simpson, Devery Henderson or, dare I say it, Plaxico Burress, but an expensive receiver is out of the question.

Selling: Shonn Greene

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    ESPN's Bill Williamson pondered the possibility of Shonn Greene landing in Oakland this offseason.

    Not only do I think it's false, I desperately pray that it's false.

    Greene averaged less than four yards per carry last season, and he has never blossomed into the great running back the Jets thought he would become.

    The Raiders still have Darren McFadden entering the final year of his contract, and a proven Pro Bowler in Marcel Reece waiting in the wings.

    Greene can take his mediocrity elsewhere.

Buying: Philip Wheeler

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    Philip Wheeler was Oakland's best defensive player last season as he led the team with 109 tackles.

    He had the finest year of his career in Oakland, and Reggie McKenzie must make it a top priority to re-sign Wheeler.

    This year's free-agent linebacker class is very weak, and Wheeler is sure to get some looks from other teams after a stellar season.

    With that being said, McKenzie knows how important Wheeler was to the defense last year, and even though he only made $700,000 last season, I doubt he'll be asking for an exorbitant amount of money.

Selling: Shane Lechler

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    Although he's been one of the best punters in NFL history, it's unlikely the Raiders will bring back Shane Lechler.

    2012 was arguably Lechler's worst statistical year in the NFL, and he had a cap hit of nearly $5 million in the process.

    Special teams is a very underrated unit in the NFL, but I can't see Reggie McKenzie spending that much money on a punter when the team has far more problems to worry about.

    There have been plenty of rumors swirling around about Oakland going with Marquette King next year, and he would be a far cheaper option than Lechler.

    Lechler has been one of the classiest Raiders to ever put on the silver and black, and if 2012 is in fact his last year in Oakland, it's been one successful career.