Oakland Raiders: Free Agent Ties To the New Coaches
In this slide show, I’m going to give you a list of free agents with recent ties to the new coaches who were just added to the Oakland Raiders coaching staff.
The coaches include:
• Hue Jackson, former Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach and now Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator.
• Clancy Pendergast, former defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals and now defensive backs coach for the Oakland Raiders.
• Mike Waufle, former New York Giants defensive line coach who accepted the same position with the Oakland Raiders.
This is certainly not a list of probable free agent signings. It is merely a list of players that Oakland could take a long, hard look at during this free agency period based on their bodies of work and their experience working with Oakland’s new staff members.
The list follows typical order from offense to defense and is in no way a reflection of order that the free agents may be looked at, nor is it based on the Raiders specific needs.
An “unrestricted free agent” is a player who is free to sign with any team in the NFL.
A “restricted free agent” is a player who is free to talk and take offers from any team, but the offers may be matched by the player’s current team. Or the current team may require a draft pick up to and including a first-round pick for the player.
“UFA-CBA” means that if no collective bargaining agreement is reached for the 2010 season, then the player will become an unrestricted free agent just before the start of next year.
I must include a big thank you to Wikipedia, ESPN.com, and KCChiefs.com for providing much of the information obtained during the research of this article.
You can see more articles from me @ www.fanhuddle.com/oaklandraiders.
Troy Smith (26): Baltimore Ravens QB - Restricted Free Agent
Smith won the Heisman Trophy in 2006 after a great senior season at Ohio State. He beat out sophomore RB/QB Darren McFadden (2nd) from Arkansas, who his currently on the Raiders. He also beat out QB Brady Quinn (3rd), the senior quarterback from Notre Dame who now plays for the Cleveland Browns.
Smith became the first true quarterback from the Big Ten to ever win the award. In winning the 2006 Heisman Trophy, Smith took 86.7 percent of the first-place votes, a Heisman record.
Smith declared for the 2007 NFL Draft. Despite winning the Heisman Trophy, Smith's draft stock drop considerably after a 41-14 loss to Florida in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game. At 6'0", his height was cited as a liability, as was his unimpressive NFL combine performance.
Smith was expected to be the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback in 2008. But he became ill just before the first game of the year and could not play.
With Smith unable to play, rookie Joe Flacco became the starter for the entire season and wound up taking Baltimore all the way to the AFC Championship game.
It was a missed opportunity for Smith because Flacco has led the Ravens to three playoff wins during the last two years.
Smith has talent and is still waiting for a chance to prove himself. But his lack of size might prevent the Raiders from seriously considering him.
Le’Ron McClain (25): Baltimore Ravens FB - Restricted Free Agent
McClain was considered one of the best fullbacks available in the 2007 NFL Draft, drawing comparisons to William Henderson. He was drafted with the 137th pick during the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens.
During the 2008 season, McClain became the team's primary running back as he rushed for a team-high 902 yards (3.9 per carry) and 10 touchdowns on 232 attempts. He also caught 19 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
McClain's performance earned him a Pro Bowl selection, in which he scored a touchdown off of a "Fumblerooski" play handed off by former Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler put the ball between McClain's legs, which he ran in for a touchdown.
On Dec. 29, 2009, McClain was voted to his second- consecutive Pro Bowl as the fullback for the AFC.
Derrick Mason (36): Baltimore Ravens WR - Unrestricted Free Agent
Mason started his career with the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) after being drafted in the fourth round (98th overall) in the 1997 NFL Draft.
In his rookie season, he played in all 16 games, recording 14 catches for 186 yards (sounds a little bit like DHB). He made his NFL debut versus the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 31. The following season, he again played in all 16 games—and this time, he recorded 25 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns.
Mason signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an unrestricted free agent in March 2005. In his first year with the team, he started in all 16 games and recorded a Ravens single-season-high 86 receptions.
In 2007, Mason had 103 receptions for 1,087 yards and five touchdowns. Mason became the first player in Ravens history to record 100 receptions. In 2008, Mason was selected as a third alternate wide receiver for the Pro Bowl. In 2008, he had 80 receptions for 1,037 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
On Sept. 27, 2009, against the Cleveland Browns, Mason became the 23rd wide receiver in NFL history to reach 800 career receptions. On Dec. 20 against the Bears, Mason became the 16th receiver in NFL history to have 850 career receptions.
• All-purpose yards in a single season (2000): 2,659
• Kick return yards in a single postseason (1999): 437
Mark Clayton (28): Baltimore Ravens WR - Restricted Free Agent
Clayton was the 22nd overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He started his rookie season slowly because of various injuries but picked up speed during the latter part of the season. He finished the year with 44 receptions for 471 yards and two touchdowns. He also added eight rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown.
He greatly improved during his second year, with 67 receptions for 939 yards and five touchdowns. But in 2007, Clayton had just 48 receptions for 531 yards.
In 2008, Clayton had receptions of 70, 48, and 53 yards, respectively. He finished with 695 yards on 41 receptions and three touchdowns. In 2009, he had 34 catches for 480 yards and two touchdowns with a long catch of 54 yards.
Clayton still has tremendous talent, but he's certainly a work in progress. Oakland may already have too many “works in progress” to take a serious look at Clayton.
L.J. Smith (30): Baltimore Ravens TE - Unrestricted Free Agent:
Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he had 27 receptions for 321 yards and a touchdown.
In 2004, he had 34 receptions for 377 yards. His five touchdowns were the most in a season by an Eagles tight end since Chad Lewis posted six in 2001. Smith also made an impressive diving reception in the back of the end zone for the Eagles' first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots.
He followed up his 2004 season with a strong 2005 campaign, hauling in 61 receptions for 682 yards (both career highs) and three touchdowns. In 2006, he had 50 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns. In 2007, he had only 22 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles gave him the franchise player tag in February 2008. He finished the 2008 season with 37 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens in March 2009.
Smith's play has declined since his productive 2004 and 2005 seasons. Oakland already has several tight ends in its roster and may not even glance at Smith.
Barry Cofield (26): New York Giants DT– Restricted FA (UFA-CBA)
Cofield was drafted by the New York Giants as the 124th pick in 2006 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 2006, he started all 16 regular season games and the NFC Wild Card Game at nose tackle and led the defensive line with 67 tackles (43 solo). He also had 22 QB pressures, three QB hits and one-and-half sacks.
In 2007, Cofield played in all 16 regular season games, 15 of them starts. He started all four of the Giants' postseason games and finished with 41 tackles (21 solo), one sack, six QB hurries, four QB hits and one pass defended.
In 2008, Cofield started 15 games, made 43 tackles and three sacks and forced a fumble.
In 2009, Cofield had 35 tackles (23 solo), one sack, four QB hits, and 11 hurries.
Cofield happens to play a position that is in high demand for the Raiders.
His size (6'4", 306 pounds) is impressive, and the fact that he played in Mike Waufle's 4-3 defensive scheme in New York could make him a valuable addition to the Raiders defense.
Osi Umenyiora (28): Disgruntled N.Y. Giants DE, Possible Trade Bait
Following knee surgery that cost him all of the 2008 season, Umenyiora looked to get his career back on track in 2009. However, he was benched in November because of his poor performance.
Umenyiora recently told New York's WFAN radio: "I'm not going to be a backup player. I can promise you that; I'll stop playing football before I do that ever again. This has been just the worst offseason of my entire life. I can't even think of a time when things were this bad during the offseason. You're supposed to be relaxing, but I can't relax because all I can think of is the things that took place last season.
"I felt like I had worn out my welcome, because for certain people, no matter what happens, they'll never take them out of the lineup, you understand what I mean? So I felt that way. I felt like maybe it was my last year because of that situation.”
Umenyiora’s contract with the Giants runs through 2012.
Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals MLB - Unrestricted Free Agent
Dansby was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. Since being drafted, he has turned into one the NFL's most productive linebackers, recording 24.5 sacks and nine interceptions, taking two of those interceptions back for scores during his six-year career.
Dansby is 6'3" and 251 pounds, and he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the 2004 NFL Combine. He was named to Pro Football Weekly’s 2004 All-Rookie team after starting 12 games while accumulating 68 tackles, the most of any rookie on the team. He also recorded three fumble recoveries, one shy of the team rookie record.
In 2005, he became the first Cardinals linebacker to record two interception returns for touchdowns in a single season. He finished his second year in the league with a career-high 103 tackles. He followed that by finishing 2006 with 94 tackles and eight sacks, both good for second on the team, despite missing two games because of injury.
In 2007, he started all 14 games he played and led team with 117 tackles, marking his second season with at least 100 tackles.
In February 2008, the Cardinals gave him the franchise tag. Dansby responded with the best season of his career, recording 119 tackles, four sacks, nine tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions, while helping the Cardinals make their first Super Bowl in team history.
Dansby was franchised again prior to the 2009 season. In '09, he recorded 109 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, six tackles for a loss, and an interception.
Jarrad Page (26): Kansas City Chiefs S - Restricted Free Agent (UFA-CBA)
Page signed a three-year contract with the Chiefs after being drafted in the seventh round (228th overall pick) of the 2006 NFL Draft and is currently their starting free safety.
Nicknamed "The Raider Killer" by Chiefs fans, Page has intercepted four balls against the Raiders dating back to 2006. Three of them have been in the red zone, and three of them have been potential game-saving interceptions in the Chiefs red zone.
Page entered 2009 having started in 32 consecutive games for the Chiefs, but he was placed on IR during the season.
However, he is still regarded as a highly intelligent performer who is seemingly always around the football. He has displayed an uncanny knack for making big plays in critical situations. Page is one of the emotional leaders of the Kansas City defense.
He has an outstanding vertical leap and is a sure tackler. He is a fearless performer who has the ability and the mentality to deliver bone-jarring hits to receivers crossing the middle of the field. He has surprising closing speed for a man his size and isn’t afraid to cover receivers down the field.
Derrick Johnson (27): Kansas City Chiefs LB - Restricted FA (UFA-CBA)
Johnson was drafted 15th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005. After a monthlong holdout, Johnson signed with the Chiefs for a five-year deal worth $10.4 million.
Johnson started every game for the Chiefs in 2005, becoming the first Kansas City linebacker in 20 years to start all 16 games of his rookie campaign. He was subsequently awarded the Mack Lee Hill Award by the Chiefs (presented annually to their most outstanding rookie).
Johnson plays inside linebacker in Kansas City's defensive 3-4 scheme. He has terrific speed and instincts, allowing him to either blitz the quarterback or drop back into coverage, depending on the situation.
He has become a major presence in opponents’ backfields, recording a team-high 16 tackles for a loss in 2007.
His production dropped in 2009 while playing inside linebacker in the Chiefs 3-4 scheme. He had just 37 total tackles, despite playing in 15 games. In his first four seasons, he averaged 97.8 tackles per season at right outside linebacker.