Oakland Raiders: 8 Free Agents the Raiders Must Target to Contend for a Title
Here goes another free agency article.
That's about all we writers can do these days with all the uncertainties that the NFL now has. There are especially a lot of articles on free agency because it still has yet to happen with no C.B.A. in place.
The last article I wrote on free agency was on the odds of the Raiders picking up certain players. This time around, I'm going to show you the players the Raiders absolutely must make a run at this offseason for the Raiders to contend.
Turn the page to see who they are.
Back Up Quarterback: Mark Bulger
Mark Bulger is the free agent quarterback that fits in best with the Oakland Raiders for 2011. He's been there, done that, and still has the arm to push the ball down the field when needed.
His accuracy is also nothing to worry about as he ranks No. 16 all time in completion percentage at 62.1 percent. Bulger is willing to wait until the last possible second to get rid of the ball so those deep routes can open up as well.
Baltimore was the last stop for Bulger so his offensive system won't change upon his arrival in Raider Nation. He will be reunited with former Raven offensive coordinator Al Saunders to add to his comfort.
I can't think of too many people Campbell can go back to the sidelines to after an interception either.
The only question is cost.
Left Tackle: Matt Light
The Raiders are badly in need of an All-Pro level left tackle to get their vertical game going. Soon to be 33 years old, Matt light is the perfect guy for the Raiders.
Light is the kind of veteran leader from a winning team that can bring the offensive line together. The Raider offensive line as it is now is very young and Light's presence will do for the offenive line what Seymour's has done for the defensive line.
Coming off another trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, Light appears to have plenty left in him. Light will at the very least be a nice brige to get the Raiders to their first round left tackle in the 2012 or 2013 draft.
He may even be the guy that can help turn Bruce Campbell's athletic talent into a great left tackle by tutoring him.
Jared Veldheer can then be a dominant player on the right side in 2011.
Outside Linebacker: Kirk Morrison
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The Raiders need an outside linebacker that can cover and play the run. Kirk Morrison is that guy as long as he is playing outside linebacker instead of middle linebacker.
Remember his rookie year?
Morrison played really well as he burst on to the NFL with 91 tackles from his outside linebacker position. Unfortunately, that led to his move to middle linebacker, where he mightily struggled against the run.
Morrison is outstanding in coverage as he had 4 interceptions in 2007 and that is a much needed quality in Oakland too. The Raiders got Jacoby Ford with fourth round pick they traded Morrison for so they've already won that trade.
They can bury the Jacksonville Jaguars in the trade by bringing the former Bishop O'Dowd High school (Oakland) star back home. He would make an excellent backup to new Raider middle linebacker Rolando McClain.
But the Raiders really need what he has at outside linebacker.
Free Safety: Michael Huff
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After getting what they need from outside in free agency, the Raiders need to turn the focous on their own free agents. Michael Huff is that the Raiders wanted to sign before free agency but couldn't because of the 30 percent rule.
The Raider must make sure they bring him back when the C.B.A. is reached as he has broken through in 2010. Huff had three interceptions, four sacks, and four forced fumbles in just his second season at free safety.
I like his chances to build on it in 2011.
Tight End: Zach Miller
Zach Miller is a very important man in the Raider offense.
No Oakland Raider has caught more balls for more yardage than Miller since his arrival in 2007. One part of why this is the case is the fact the Raiders have yet to have a number one receiver emerge.
Another part is the Raiders have historically designed they're offense that way. The receivers have usually been deep threats with tight ends like Todd Christensen and Dave Casper as possession receivers underneath.
Zach Miller, with better quarterback play than in his first few years will fall under this category. One thing quarterback Jason Campbell has done right throughout his career is use his tight end.
Did I forget to mention how good of a run blocker he is?
Running Back: Michael Bush
The Raiders had the No. 2 rushing attack in the NFL last year.
That is in large part because they had the smash of Bush to go with the flash of McFadden. On top of that, when McFadden missed three games with a pulled hamstring, Bush went in and the running game still flourished.
Do not fix that which is not broken.
McFadden and Bush may very well get 1,000 yards a piece and the Raiders may lead the league in rushing in 2011. Regardless, McFadden and Bush have an excellent chance to take over as the best two headed monster in the NFL.
They will put the P in play action deep ball.
Corner: Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha is the best corner in football bar none.
He is also the No. 1 free agent on the market right now.
Everyone else wants him so why wouldn't the Raiders?
I believe in Stanford Routt but giving up the best corner in football just isn't a good idea. Two great corners are better than one as they found out in 2010 with the Raiders having the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL.
Again, do not fix that which is not broken.
With the defensive line the Raiders have to go with the corners, the Raiders should have a no passing zone in 2011.
After reading this article, you can see that the Raiders don't need a whole lot if they keep their players from 2010. They finished the season with an 8-8 record that was just three plays away from being 11-5.
This team is very young so those three plays could very well be made as the players improve. A few additional plays can be made to possibly finish better than 11-5 and contend for a title if a couple of more pieces are added.
Raider Nation is on the edge of their collective seat, waiting to see what Davis can make happen.