Raiders Free Agency Rumors 2011: Oakland's Participation in Market Can't Be Over
The Philadelphia Eagles have won the free-agent Super Bowl, but that means nothing right now. The Oakland Raiders won the free-agent Super Bowl in 2008 with the signings of Gibril Wilson, DeAngelo Hall and Javon Walker.
Wilson (safety) couldn't cover, Hall (corner) could bump and run and Walker was damaged goods. In 2011, the Eagles took Nnamdi Asomugha along with Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
After losing Asomugha to the Eagles and not making too much noise, everyone has the Raiders in last place for 2011 free agency. Still, owner Al Davis has played the game the right way so far because less is more sometimes.
Davis also may be tired of overpaying.
There was nothing that he could do about losing Asomugha because he seemed to no longer want to be in Oakland. The Raiders are young and talented, and only need a few players, who are still out there.
Turn the page to see who they are.
I have to start with the Raiders' own players after already losing Asomugha.
Zach Miller has been their most consistent offensive player they've had since 2007. Not only has he led the team in receiving since he's been a Raider, but he does an excellent job of blocking in the running game as well.
That's double value for Miller, so he needs to be brought back.
The market was pretty cold for Miller before he went to Seattle to visit the Seahawks yesterday. Michael Huff was signed recently and Kamerion Wimbley got a long-term deal, so the Raiders will have room for Miller.
Current Seahawks tight end John Carlson has more touchdowns (13) in three years than Miller (12) has in four. Therefore, I could hardly see the Seahawks doing anything dramatic to big bid for Miller's future services.
But you never know.
Still sticking to their own players, Langston Walker is there to bring back as the Raiders have moved to power blocking. Tom Cable is no longer in charge, so the Raiders don't need to find smaller cut blockers to fit his zone-blocking scheme.
Big, strong, intimidating maulers are needed and the 6'8", 365-pound Walker fits the bill. Walker actually played very well in Gallery's stead at left guard in 2009 and probably should have played guard in 2010.
Bruce Campbell is already on the PUP. list, so the Raiders should keep in moving.
The Raiders are in need of an outside linebacker.
Kirk Morrison was a beast at the position in his rookie year, before the Raiders moved him to middle linebacker. After that experiment failed, Morrison was jettisoned to the Jacksonville Jaguars and now stands as a free agent after one year.
The man is from Oakland and he couldn't have forgotten how to play outside linebacker, so it's a good fit. The Raiders need an outside linebacker that can set the edge against the run, and cover against the pass.
Morrison can be that guy.
Jared Gaither: Is It Physical or Financial?
I can hear you guys now.
"Why can't you give up on that after he didn't pass the physical?"
I thought so too, but there has been speculation that Gaither wanted too much money to come to Raider Nation. Plus, Bill Williamson of ESPN.com assumed that the deal fell through because of Gaither's health.
Paul Gutierrez of CSNCalifornia.com reported that Gaither failed his physical in Oakland, as was the reason cited for Bruce Campbell's non-participation in camp. Still, I don't trust Jared Veldheer at left tackle. He gave up 7.5 sacks in 2010 in just nine games at LT, while not giving up a sack at center.
People somehow believe that power rushers are his weakness, but he was abused by every speed rusher he faced last year. Teammate Matt Shaughnessy has run both through and around Veldheer so far in camp.
That tells me that Veldheer can be beaten by anyone that can rush the passer...he would face the likes of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Jared Allen, Julius Peppers and Clay Mathews Jr. in 2011.
If Gaither isn't physically ready, how about getting him at a reasonable price and PUP him until he is?
With Bruce Campbell out and unable to get those important reps a youngster needs, this is just an idea. With Walker at left guard, the Raiders could super-size it with 6'6", 365-pound Leonard Davis at right guard.
If that doesn't make the Raiders a "bully," I don't know what would.
I like Daniel Loper but he isn't the dominant power blocker and a mountain of a man that Davis is. After getting cut by the Dallas Cowboys, Davis shouldn't be too expensive to sign and complete the "bully."
He's getting pretty close to 33 years of age, so he would be perfect to hold things down until Campbell is ready.
That's likely to be 2012.
Darren McFadden would jump for joy over such a move.
The 2011 free-agency period is very unique.
The lockout has caused it to bleed into training camp as opposed to being done before the draft. Davis, coach Hue Jackson and company actually have an opportunity to look at their players in camp before making a move.
The good news is that Davis hasn't jumped out and overpaid for a guy that wasn't worth it. Miller and Walker are still out there, but the Raiders have so far done well in keeping their starters, outside of Asomugha.
There are a few players that can help the Raiders in 2011 still out there, so there's no reason to panic.
There is still time.
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