Oakland Raiders

Buying or Selling: Latest Buzz on the Oakland Raiders' Free Agency Rumor Mill

Dan WilkinsCorrespondent IIMarch 10, 2014

Buying or Selling: Latest Buzz on the Oakland Raiders' Free Agency Rumor Mill

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    With more salary cap space to spend than any other NFL team, the Oakland Raiders should be the subject of many rumors leading up to and during the 2014 free agency period.

    Thus far, it has become clear that when it comes to leaking information, the new Raiders management regime is no different than the one prior, keeping as quiet as possible ahead of any moves to be made. 

    Yet with so many changes certain to take place throughout the roster in the coming weeks, the quiet can only last so long.

    Although the offseason has not yet gotten exciting for the Raider Nation, some key analysis can be taken from the few rumors and reports that have emerged to this point.

Jared Veldheer Expected to Sign with Cardinals?

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Sell (For Now) 

    According to a report from the Baltimore Sun, Raiders free-agent left tackle Jared Veldheer is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals when free agency opens. 

    On the surface, the fit makes a lot of sense. With such a glaring need on the offensive line, the Cardinals are certain to be interested in a young, proven player like Veldheer. 

    At the same time, the expectation of a signing remains slightly premature for a couple reasons. 

    First and foremost, a full day still remains before free agency officially gets underway, giving the Raiders ample time to respond to the contract value Veldheer finds for himself on the open market. 

    Secondly, while the Cardinals certainly have some cap space to work with—and could conceivably create more if need be—the Raiders’ flexibility exceeds theirs quite significantly. If the Raiders want to keep Veldheer, as they have said this offseason, there is no reason why they couldn’t match or beat any offer on the table from Arizona. 

    If the numbers from the Baltimore Sun’s report are accurate, such that Veldheer would receive anywhere from $7 million to $7.5 million annually in a deal with the Cardinals, choosing to beat that offer should be an easy decision for Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders.

Rodger Saffold Expected to Sign with Raiders?

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Buy

    The same Baltimore Sun report that expects Veldheer to sign with Arizona also expects the Raiders to come away with a signing of Rams free agent guard/tackle Rodger Saffold early on. 

    Although $8 million per year exceeds the projected value of the Veldheer signing, adding Saffold would be a good fit for the Raiders regardless.

    While he played at the highest level in his lone season at guard in 2013, Saffold is capable of playing tackle on either side as well and is one of the younger options on the market at just 25 years old. 

    Again, the most curious part of this two-piece report concerning the Raiders is that they would be letting Veldheer walk and at the same time paying Saffold a higher annual average.

    With time remaining before signings can actually be made, however, a Raiders’ best-case scenario involving them landing both players is still in play. 

    In such a situation, Veldheer would stay at left tackle while Saffold would make for a significant upgrade at one of the two guard spots moving forward. 

    Either way, it seems as though the Raiders’ top priority—that we have been made aware of—is upgrading the offensive line. Starting in the trenches is a good way to rebuild this team.

Raiders Could Be Interested in Matt Schaub?

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Buy 

    Throughout this offseason, the Raiders will explore a variety of ways in which they can accomplish another of their most important tasks: upgrade the quarterback position. 

    While it is more than likely they will do so in the draft, and quite possibly at fifth overall, also signing a proven veteran would be in their best interest for at least the backup role.

    With his current contract, coming off a down year, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is almost certain to be released, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports the Raiders are one of several teams that will have interest in his services

    As much as Schaub and the entire Texans team surprisingly struggled in 2013, this would be a good signing for the Raiders. Schaub comes with plenty of experience, has proven he can lead an offense and can make all of the throws he needs to make.

    Drafting a quarterback early on would ideally mean that player starts in his first year. But should the staff be more comfortable with a veteran at the position, Schaub could be the man for the job on a temporary basis. 

    Of course, this would all involve Schaub being released from the Texans. If and when that does happen, the Raiders’ salary cap situation could easily have them outbid other teams on a short-term deal that could prove to be quite valuable.

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