We are heading into a very important offseason for the Oakland Raiders. One in which a large number of key players from our much improved team will be either unrestricted free agents or restricted free agents, pending the finalization of the new CBA.
The players listed here are the ones that I feel are the most important for us to re-sign. As well as options in this year's free agent class that could be important for us to bring in the mix to help improve the team.
Now that Richard Seymour has signed his two-year deal, the focus is on re-signing Nnamdi Asomugha. His lack of numbers show how good he is because opposing QBs stay away from him at all costs.
Having someone who cuts a field in half is important, and he has been a stud for the Raiders for much of his career. I think that the hiring of Rod Woodson was meant to be another reason for him to stay a Raider.
Bush is a guy we may have to wait til after the CBA gets done to see what happens. He's a fourth year player, and they are usually RFAs. However, that could change with the new CBA. I don't think it will, but I could be wrong.
Bush is a great compliment to Darren McFadden's explosiveness. He's versatile and is a great receiver out of the backfield. The power he brings with his 240+ pound frame to push the pile and get tough yardage is much needed. Also he can be pretty nimble for a big guy and he can surprise and get some pretty decent gains as well.
I think that it is imperative to keep him in the backfield with McFadden. It will be much easier to keep him and re-sign him to a longer deal if he is in fact a RFA this year.
Miller is in the same boat as Bush when it comes to the new CBA. Hopefully he will be a RFA and is then signed to a long-term deal after he is tendered.
Miller is a must when it comes to re-signing our free agents. He has been this team's leading receiver the last three years. He's on his way to being an elite TE in the league, if he isn't already.
The word on the street is that Kamerion Wimbley's contract has a buyback year for 2011 and that Oakland is going to pick up the $3.5 million option. I would love to see this, as well as locking him up for the long-term.
He had a very good season in his first with the Raiders. Nine sacks isn't too shabby by any means. He was a great acquisition last year and he would continue to look great in the Silver and Black.
This kid is so versatile as a FB it is crazy. He's in line to be a RFA and that should help us out in signing him to a new deal.
He's good for short-yardage, he's a pretty decent run-blocker, but his abilities as a receiver are where he is the most dangerous. Being a former college WR really helps him here.
When he splits out wide and draws a LB in coverage creates the ultimate mismatch. He can get some big gains on screen passes, swings and quick slants like he did in the Seattle game last year. If he keeps improving as a blocking FB, no doubt Reece will be a stud and be billed as the most complete FB in the league.
Stanford Routt is a guy that I am on the fence about. He had a good year in some respects, but he also played poorly way more than we would've liked.
I am of the opinion that he is probably more suited to be a nickelback. I just would like to see a lot more progress from this young player. There are some plays he makes where we'll be cheering loudly for, only for him to give up big yards on the very next play. More progress and a cheap contract is what I would like to see from this player.
To me, Michael huff is in the same position as Routt. He has his moments where he can be a stud, but then he whiffs on some plays. If he could just be a lot more consistent and tackle a lot better, then he is a no-brainer to keep around.
One of the things I do like about him is his versatility to play both safety and corner. He's at least good to keep around for depth.
He's young, and he has solid hands. He'd be a very good possession receiver on a team full of speedsters.
He's coming off of a down year, thanks in large part to injuries and the emergence of Hakeem Nicks. If he can be signed at a fair price, then I think he'd be a nice compliment for our other young wide outs.
Santana Moss is still a productive WR and he'd be a good mentor for the younger receivers on the Raiders roster. He's already familiar with Jason Campbell and Al Saunders.
I think signing Moss will help out Jason Campbell also. Campbell would be getting some more much needed continuity in his second year as Oakland's starting QB. Something he hasn't had his entire career.
Langston Walker clearly isn't the answer at RT, but Colon easily could be. Especially since the offensive line is moving back to a more power blocking scheme.
Colon is possible since the Steelers used their tag on OLB Lamar Woodley. Having Colon and Veldheer as bookend OTs wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
What really impresses me with Marshall Yanda is his versatility to play RG and RT. Oakland could sign both Yanda and Colon if they feel that Bruce Campbell isn't ready to be a starter.
They could just sign Yanda and play him at either spot if they want to see where Campbell would be more successful, RG or RT. Yanda has been a very solid player for the Raven's OL. Signing him, period, will upgrade the right side of the OL, which was the weakest part, in my opinion last year.
With LG Logan Mankins getting the franchise tag from NE, this would be the guy I would like to see replace the oft-injured Gallery.
Blalock may not be as good as Mankins is, but he's still a very solid LG and he'd only cost a fraction of what Mankins would cost. I see him as being an upgrade over Gallery.
This on is up in the air because the Panthers have yet to use their tag and it is down to this guy and DE Charles Johnson. With Rivera being a defense guy, I am hoping they use it on Johnson.
Kalil has become one of the top young centers in the league. While signing him may not be cheap, but it'd be money well spent since he'd be a great anchor for the OL.
While Kreutz may be getting up in age, he is still very durable. Another thing I would like him for is to be a mentor should Oakland draft a center in 2011. He is a very smart center and would make a very mentor to a young guy for a year or two.
I wouldn't mind drafting a guy like Stefan Wisniewski or Mike Pouncey if either is still available in the second round or Jake Kirkpatrick in the later rounds and have them sit for a year and learn under Kreutz.
Ray Edwards is coming off of a really good season where he registered eight sacks and was very good against the run as well. Signing him and adding him to a DE rotation of Houston, Shaunessy and, on passing situations, Wimbley, would make for a very formidable group of young defensive ends. Also, the signing of Edwards would allow Houston to spend more time at DT.
Last year, Reece was the only FB on the entire roster. Adding McClain makes a lot of sense. He's familiar with HuJack and Saunders for one and he'd be great to have as a second FB.
Who is the defense going to target should the Raiders come out in a full house formation with Reece and McClain side-by-side and McFadden behind them? That would be a common conundrum for every defensive coordinator Oakland would play against.
This is a guy that I am sure that DL coach Mike Waufle would love to work with again. Cofield is stellar against the run, which Oakland still needs help with, and can provide a good pass rush as well. Adding him to the DT rotation with Seymour, Kelly and Bryant would be very intimidating to opposing interior lineman.
Granted, Pat Williams is up in age. He's 38, but he is still a very good NT.
Nose tackle is a position that the Raiders have been lacking in since the days of Ted Washington. Draft a young NT in the later rounds and have them sit for a year behind this guy and they could learn a lot. Pat still has some let in the tank, let's use it.
Manny Lawson would be a good OLB to play on the weak side. He's like Thomas Howard in that he's very fast, but only he's better than Howard.
Being in the Niners 3-4 defense hasn't been good for him because he is a 4-3 OLB, not a 3-4 OLB. Depending on how much he'd want in terms of dollar signs, I'd like to sign him.
Like Lawson, McIntosh isn't a 3-4 OLB, which is what he played last year. He likely could be signed for cheaper than what Lawson would possibly ask for and he would not be a bad choice either. Could he be another Redskin that joins the Raiders?
Champ would be a good signing to Oakland's No. 2 CB opposite Nnamdi as well as a mentor to the other young corners on the team like Ware and McFadden.
He is getting old for a CB but he still is playing at a high level. Having him, Nnamdi, and newly appointed CB coach Rod Woodson to teach the young guns is a big plus.
Richard Marshall is a young corner who has had a solid career so far. He didn't have a great 2010 season, but that could be attributed to Carolina not having much of a pass rush. He'd be a solid No. 2 CB and he would benefit from the tutelage of both Nnamdi and Woodson.
That was my list of both the key free agents that Oakland must re-sign as well as some options that could be available from other teams.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Please feel free to leave any and all comments and/or critiques. Thanks.