5 Oakland Raiders Who Will Be on the Roster Bubble in 2014
When general manager Reggie McKenzie took over the Oakland Raiders front office in 2012, he inherited a salary cap nightmare.
After purging the roster, McKenzie has finally helped put this team in a good position to once again start accruing the right kind of talent they need to compete.
Coming off their second consecutive 4-12 campaign, the Raiders front office will now have to evaluate the current roster this offseason and make some tough decisions.
With a desire to find a road that leads back to the glory days, figuring out who will stay and who will be shown the door is going to be essential for the future success of the Silver and Black.
*All stats courtesy of NFL.com unless noted otherwise.
*All cap information courtesy of OverTheCap.com unless noted otherwise.
Terrelle Pryor, QB
Conventional wisdom says that the Raiders don't have their franchise quarterback on the current roster.
Whether you point to the up-and-down performance of Terrelle Pryor or even rookie quarterback Matt McGloin, in retrospect, the Raiders may have been auditioning backups this season rather than finding their "guy."
With the NFL draft just five months away, there's going to be plenty of hyperbole tying young quarterback prospects like Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr and Blake Bortles to the Raiders.
All we know now is that the battle between McGloin and Pryor won't come down to a financial aspect. While McGloin has no dead money floating around his contract, Pryor only has around $146,000 packed into his deal.
For Oakland, the goal is to find the right backup quarterback that provides this team with a sense of stability at the position.
As it stands today, Pryor's future with the organization can be described best as "up in the air." With all signs currently pointing to head coach Dennis Allen's return in 2014, Pryor's agent Jerome Stanley expressed his issues with the coach while talking to CSN Bay Area reporter Fallon Smith.
It's crazy to think that Al Davis' final draft pick could be shown the door if Oakland decides to go after a franchise quarterback in the upcoming draft.
Prediction: It's tough to predict exactly what is going to happen to Pryor. With so much change floating around this franchise, odds are Pryor could become the latest quarterback casualty. A player blessed with a ton of athletic ability, the former Ohio State Buckeye should get a chance to compete for his job—especially if things go south with Allen.
David Ausberry, TE
After suffering a season-ending injury back in August, Raiders tight end David Ausberry finds himself on the roster bubble for 2014.
Coming out of USC, Ausberry was a high-octane athlete who possessed tremendous speed. How fast was he? According to NFLDraftScout.com, the former Trojan ran a 4.47, 40-yard dash. If this were a sitcom, the Raiders would be Cory Matthews and, with that type of speed, Ausberry would be Topanga Lawrence.
Looking at his recent body of work, the good people over at Pro Football Focus (subscription required) note that Ausberry played just 99 snaps in 2012. For all of the "hype" he's generated, this 26-year-old tight end really hasn't been given a chance to display his talents.
The problem is speed isn't everything. Plus, with tight ends Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa on the roster, there may not be a reason to keep him around.
Prediction: Because of his physical skill set, Ausberry is given the chance to compete for a roster spot. If he can stay healthy and show growth as a player, the value he brings to this offense would be unique.
Juron Criner, WR
With so many question marks surrounding the wide receiver position in Oakland, a name that could face the axe this offseason is Juron Criner.
After ESPN NFL contributor Adam Caplan tweeted that Criner would be placed on injured reserve last season, it became apparent the 24-year-old wide receiver's future with the club was in flux.
Even though he boasts good size, the 6'3" Criner wasn't able to overcome his injuries this season, giving way for guys like Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and Rod Streater to consume snaps.
Prediction: If the Raiders believe in Criner's upside, they will give him a chance this offseason. In the end, Criner's ability to overcome injuries will determine his fate in the Bay Area.
Kaluka Maiava, OLB
Due $1.54 million in 2014, Raiders linebacker Kaluka Maiava is a prime candidate to be released this offseason.
Providing nothing more than depth for this Oakland roster, Maiava finished the 2013 season with just 17 tackles in nine games. Playing just 119 snaps this past season, according to PFF (subscription required), Maiava registered a negative -2.3 grade on the year.
In a league that offers teams plenty of options to choose from, it may be best for McKenzie and his staff to close the book on this former USC linebacker in 2014.
Prediction: The Raiders will look for more depth at the linebacker position via the draft and free agency, resulting in Maiava's release.
Matt McGloin, QB
You can't have one quarterback's name on this list without including the other.
Matt McGloin, the former Penn State walk-on, defied all the odds when he came into camp undrafted and finished the season starting six games for the Raiders.
Completing 55.9% of his passes for 1,547 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions, McGloin struggled to take the job and run with it. Although he's still developing as a signal-caller, on film McGloin doesn't always display the tools needed to be an elite quarterback.
In order for the 24-year-old QB to stay on this roster, he's going to have to convince the coaching staff and front office that he can develop into a reliable player.
Prediction: McGloin may not have all of the physical tools that Pryor does, but the one thing he has going for him is that coach Allen likes him. As Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com points out, Allen said this young man has a future with the Raiders. Like Pryor, you have to believe McGloin will get his chance to make Oakland's final roster by the time training camp rolls around.