5 Quarterbacks the Oakland Raiders Must Consider Bringing in This Offseason
As has been the case since the days of Rich Gannon, the Oakland Raiders' quarterback situation is anything but settled.
Young signal-callers Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin both have shown signs of potential in their opportunities this season, but neither has established himself as the long-term answer for this team.
As a result, with both salary-cap flexibility and a high draft selection at their disposal this offseason, the Raiders will most certainly look to acquire a quarterback who can be just that.
Here are five quarterbacks the Raiders must consider bringing in this offseason.
Jay Cutler is certain to be the most sought-after quarterback this offseason—and for good reason.
The veteran has established himself as a franchise quarterback in the NFL, an unlike the players set to enter the draft this spring, Cutler's ability as a passer has already been demonstrated.
Although Cutler will command a steep asking price on the open market, the Raiders are finally in a financial position to make a competitive offer.
While many will object to such a contract, it has become the necessary price to acquire a proven quarterback.
Cutler should be the Raiders' first free-agent target this offseason, as signing him would finally bring stability to the most important position on the team. As a result, the Raiders could avoid the risk inherent with drafting a quarterback in the first round, allowing them to instead target one of this year's elite defensive players.
Having signed only a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, Josh Freeman will be a free agent again this offseason.
Many will object to this idea based on his play over the past few years, but the Raiders should be one of many teams in the running for his services.
Freeman is still just 25 years old and has showcased plenty of ability as a passer in his young career. In fact, his best season came in Tampa Bay while playing under current Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
While it has yet to be determined if anyone from the Raiders' coaching staff will remain next season, Olson sticking around could make this a favorable match for both sides moving forward.
No, Freeman's stints in Tampa Bay and Minnesota did not end well, but it is entirely possible that he just needs a fresh start. A team that was long known for giving players just that, and having success with it time after time, the Raiders could be a good fit for Freeman in 2014.
With what will be a top-five draft pick once again this offseason, the Raiders will be in the running for the top quarterbacks in this year's class.
Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is the early favorite to be the first QB prospect off the board and would have to be considered by the Raiders if still available when they do select.
Bridgewater has shown everything scouts want to see from a first-round quarterback, and he should be able to make an impact with whichever team he lands with from day one.
The question for the Raiders is whether or not they are willing to take on the risk of selecting a quarterback this early regardless of their glaring need at the position.
Should Bridgewater be on the board when the Raiders are on the clock—provided they chose not to sign a veteran quarterback in free agency—he should be the pick.
Another option for the Raiders in the first round of this year's draft will be Fresno State quarterback, Derek Carr.
The younger brother of former first overall pick David Carr, Derek has the best passing ability of any player in this year's class.
While such skills, in combination with his size, will have many assume he is a traditional pocket passer, his athleticism cannot be overlooked. In that respect, he seems quite comparable to the Dolphins' young quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Should the Raiders choose to go with a quarterback in the first round, and Teddy Bridgewater is already off the board, Carr would likely be the best option.
Keeping in mind the way his brother's career played out should have very little to do with Derek's evaluations. His natural abilities as a passer give him an opportunity to have a long career as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
While unlikely, it remains entirely possible that the Raiders choose not to address the quarterback position in either free agency or the first round of the draft.
In that situation, a player like San Jose State's David Fales becomes a realistic target for Oakland in the second round.
Although Fales' arm strength will be questioned and could be the lone factor in keeping him out of the first round, it is clear that his accuracy and anticipation are NFL caliber.
The Raiders spending their wealth of salary-cap space elsewhere in free agency, as well as using their first-round selection on one of the draft's elite pass-rushers, could end up as the best-case scenario if they were to land a potential steal like Fales in the second round.
Of course, such a strategy could end up being even more of a gamble than selecting a quarterback in the top five, so waiting until the second round seems unlikely at this point.