Oakland Raiders: 5 Cheap Starting-Caliber Free Agents That Could Shake Things Up

Oakland RaiderContributor IIIMarch 17, 2012

Oakland Raiders: 5 Cheap Starting-Caliber Free Agents That Could Shake Things Up

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    The new regime in Oakland has been thrifty as of late, slashing millions in cap overages and quietly signing starting-caliber players to low-cost contracts. However, the Raiders still have many spots that need to be filled on both sides of the ball.

    Here are five free agents I think Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen should consider taking a look at.

5. Eric Steinbach (OL)

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    Two days ago it was announced that the Cleveland Browns had released long-time guard Eric Steinbach, who missed last season after recovering from back surgery, because of contractual conflicts surrounding him restructuring his previous deal.

    Steinbach played very well in Cleveland and was a reliable starter who signed a large five-year deal worth almost $50 million in 2007. On the heels of him being cut, the Raiders could produce a lucrative offer, possibly a one- or two-year deal with incentives and the promise of a possible starting job.

    While he won't be very cheap to get, the Raiders could possibly land him at a lower price compared to other guards on the market.

4. Jeff Saturday (OL)

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    Jeff Saturday has been a staple at center in Indianapolis for years, snapping consistently to Peyton Manning since the early 2000s. While his time in Indianapolis has (for now) ended, this five-time Pro Bowl selection holds serious value for the Raiders.

    While he has put in 13 seasons, Saturday easily has enough gas in the tank for Oakland to take a good look at him. Much like Steinbach, he commanded a hefty salary, though the Raiders again could look at him for maybe a one- or two-year deal.

    While he is only No. 4 on the list, it is only because he wouldn't be the cheapest to get. However, he would be a game-changer if Oakland could sign him.

3. Tracy Porter (DB)

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    This next player has been thrown around a lot by media and fans a like. With a Dennis Allen connection and solid play in his tenure at New Orleans, Tracy Porter would be a solid signing for the Raiders.

    Porter was in the secondary run by Allen (in his DB coaching days) and would have increased ties with the Raiders, thus increasing his signing chance. The Raiders could get Porter for a fairly cheap price, considering he would be starting, possibly a three- or four-year deal with incentives.

    If Oakland gets him, its secondary would be looking a lot better with Porter and Ronald Bartell starting at CB.

2. E.J. Henderson (LB)

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    After Oakland jettisoned LB Kamerion Wimbley for cap reasons, there is a wide-open spot at LB on the Raiders depth chart. A tough, above-average player whom the Raiders should look at is ex-Viking E.J. Henderson.

    Henderson, who had more than 60 tackles last year along with three forced fumbles and two sacks, would be a solid, strong tackler the Raiders need at LB.

    A nine-year man, Henderson would command some money, but would come at a lower cost than some of the premier LBs on the market, and he would come ready to start, which he most likely would if he was signed. Oakland should try and land him for a two- to three-year deal.

1. Kelvin Hayden (DB) (Previously Jeremy Shockey)

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    Before I had Shockey at #1, however I'm reading about the circus that is going on with him trying to get back into new york, and based off of feedback, I decided to switch out shockey.

    Oakland still has a very thin secondary, even with the signing of Bartell yesterday. And if Tracey Porter ends up signing else where, there are not many free agent CBs of starting caliber on the market. I believe that Kelvin Hayden would be a worthy investment for the silver and black. Despite being sidelined with a foot injury last season I think Hayden would still be a solid addition for the Raiders. He has solid numbers (again with the exception of last year) and i could see him fitting in well with Branch, Huff, and whoever the Raiders put opposite him. Hopefully the Raiders could try and get him for maybe a 1 or 2 year deal.