Monthly Archives: March 2014
Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie did not waste any time on his Friday, and cleared his to-do list by signing two more veteran defensive linemen and running back.
I took some time to address a potential Free Agency signing for the Raiders, with Desean Jackson, but the Raiders already brought someone home to the bay-area.
Former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew signed with Oakland for a 3 year deal, after spending his high school years in the bay and college years at UCLA.
MJD has shown some decline over the past seasons with injury, and he has a lot of miles of him. However, the undersized back is still capable of taking the ball to the house when he touches it. He has capable hands and is not afraid to pass block, which gives him value on third down.
I expect him to compete with Darren McFadden for time in the backfield. I think the result will be the two having split series. They have a similar skill set with down-hill running ability and versatility. At worse, Jones is a great insurance policy for McFadden’s reoccuring injuries. At Best it gives the Raiders two dynamic playmakers to hand the ball to. It is clear McKenzie is building a team that can pound the rock with the signing of the two RBS and offensive linemen.
McKenzie continued his trend of building a physical team by signing two more defensive linemen for depth. Pat Simms returns after probably being undervalued in the Free Agency market.
Last Year, Simms was a run stopper for the Raiders, but I think he is better in a reserve role. The Raiders have enough pass rushing options with Smith and McGee on the inside that Simms should play less 3rd downs and focus on gasing it in run situations. His big body gives the Raiders defense resatility for 4-3 or 3-4 fronts, but he can also eat blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays.
CJ Wilson, a defensive end who spent his career with the Packers, was also signed today. Wilson has some starting experience, but does not have a lot of sacks. That is normal for an end in a 3-4 defense so it should not be alarming. Luckily, is only 26 years old so he still has some potential. His signing is so Reggie McKenzie, but it is probably a result of the Raiders missing out on Alex Carrington early in the week.
Wilson is probably another add for depth. He has some versatility and will probably back up Antonio smith as a 3 technique or end in running situations.
Overall, Friday was a great day to be a Raider Fan, hopefully McKenzie can build on today headed into the week by signing Desean Jackson.
Coincidently, a report from NJ.com said the player had connections with known gang members from Los Angeles, which may or may not have influenced his release.
With the Aaron Hernandez ordeal still in the back of everyone’s minds, teams are weary of players with questionable histories.
Lets make this clear, Jackson has a clean record and no history of crime. Sure he knows some people in gangs, but that does not mean he is affiliated with gangs.
The only thing Jackson is guilty of is being an outspoken media darling wanting a bigger contract. What NFL Wide-Reciever is not guilty of that?
For those unfamiliar with Jackson’s background he comes from Los Angeles and Long Beach Poly High School. Sure he knows gang signs, which NFL and NBA player doesn’t. Gang Signs are thrown up all the time, and that does not mean a gang affiliation so much as means a sign of respect for where he is from.
Added, Jackson does own a record label with questionable affiliations. Which professional athlete isn’t trying to crossover into the music industry which is an industry thirsty for street credibility?
Lastly, growing up in Los Angeles it is almost inevitable knowing people with gang affiliations. Being a prominent athlete does not exclude you from interacting in a gang environment. Especially as an athlete who can not get in trouble, many times you make friendships with gang members because they can protect you from other gangs who have self interest in physical or verbal altercations.
That may not even be the case with Jackson, but either way these gang ties are a non story. What do you think the 3pt sign is that NBA players throw up?
As for the Raiders, adding Jackson almost makes too much sense for it to happen. Jackson is from cali, he played at Cal, and there are even pictures of him at a Raider game as a kid.
The Raiders also have the most salary cap short and long term to give him the deal he desires. There is definitely a need for a true number one WR who can impact games everytime they touch the ball, and Jackson can do that. Matt Schaub needs playmakers around him, and adding Jackson would be a great start, not to mention it adds more flexibility to what the Raiders can do in the Draft.
Maybe he does not fit the squeaky clean mold Reggie McKenzie wants, but he does have a chip on his shoulder which is something that McKenzie values. After being released, Jackson’s asking price should come down, and by the looks of his gang affiliations I do not think he is a fan of the 49ers because of their RED (LOL JK). Plus the oppurtunity to be closer to home and play for a team he probably loved is priceless.
Football wise, Jackson can stretch the field vertically. He is young enough to give the offense an identity it has lacked for years to come. I even thought he was a fit for the Raiders out of the draft, but philly got to him first. Sure he could do more across the middle, but Streater, and Jones are both more than capable slot options. Jackson with the big targets of Rivera, Streater, and Moore are all great weapons’ for Greg Olsen’s arsinal.
Off the field, Jackson’s accomplishments and advocacy have gone unnoticed. He is a force in his community and speaks out against bullying. That is a message he could bring to the Bay Area as well as his exciting play on the field.
Last week, The Oakland Raiders acquired their starting Quarterback, Matt Schaub, from the Houston Texans for a draft-pick in the sixth round.
Matt Schaub was once the promising back-up for the Atlanta Falcons in the glory days of the Mike Vick Era. He was then traded to the Texans some seasons ago to become their starter.
In Houston, Schaub was a two-time pro bowler and had a QB rating in the top ten (Schaub Supporters won’t let you forget it). For the most part, Schaub was not an elite QB, but definitely above average as he lead the Texans to a few playoff births with the help of JJ Watt, Brain Cushing, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and other key Texans’ Players.
Many of us do not remember those days as vividly as we remember Schaub getting booed by him home crowd after an aparent injury. In a league based on ‘What have you done for me lately,’ I remember Schaub’s consecutive pick-six interceptions in four games last season, before being benched for a late-round rookie.
In my eyes, even Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman are better options. Freeman was a one time pro-bowler, and Sanchez has an extensive playoff resume. Both are farther from 30 then Schaub (and Schaub is over 30). Even though both fell out of favor with their previous regimes due to off-field issues and on-field performance, under the age of 28, both guys have more potential for growth then Schaub.
The last capable starter the Raiders had was a young Jason Campbell who fell out of favor with the previous regime, and I think Sanchez or Freeman could have had a similar effect. Even after all Schaub and Freeman had been through, I am not sure either lost as much confidence as Matt Schaub did after fans booed him. Maybe they did not fit the scheme as well, or were not worth the hassle, but who the Raiders did not get is an entirely separate issue.
My problem is not with Schaub as a Quarterback. I understand he is the big, strong-armed quarterback capable of managing games and getting the ball to his play makers. I understand the familiarity with Gregg Knapp’s offense in Oakland, and I understand he is a more reliable option for managing defensive games, while being more predictable for the coaches to predict.
Added, Schaub has been relatively successful in the league, possessing pro-bowls, playoff births, and a high QBR. However this is the Not For Long(NFL). Yes, there were not many viable options for a starting QB in Free Agency or the Draft, however that does not mean you give the job to the first semi-capable one that becomes available.
The Raiders and Head Coach Dennis Allen have already gone on record as saying Schaub is their starter for this year and possibly years to come. I understand the Allen, Mckenzie, and Owner Davis have urgency for results this season, but their is no telling if Schaub is even capable of being the quarterback he once was.
Do we remember the last Matt the Raiders banked on, Matt Flynn? He was handed the starter job only to lose it in camp, despite being Reggie’s guy and having the highest salary of the other QBs on the Roster. I know Flynn and Schaub are not even close to the same player, but Schaub spent his own time as a back-up, and was only above average/solid/good for a few seasons with the Texans(that seems so long ago).
Schaub lost his job in Houston for good reason, so how can we simply hand this guy the job. Yes it is important for a QB a to handle adversity, but Schaub’s confidence seemed deteriorated after poor results and criticism from fans last season. If he struggles this season, even a little bit, the black hole is going to be even less forgiving, especially considering he is more pricey then any of the guys mentioned earlier.
My thinking is, why wouldn’t you want Schaub to come in and compete for the job? If he is truly capable of being our starter then let him go out and prove it to fans and , more importantly, his own confidence. Handing him the job is not going to do anything for his development. The Truth is Schaub has not seen much development over his past seasons. This last season we seen a huge digression which could have been a product of his team or it could have been the other way around.
Terrelle Pryor has asked for a trade, and I do not blame him. Many say the writing has been on the wall, and this was already a conclusion in process since Pryor fell out of favor with the regime. But why not let Pryor compete with Schaub? Even the undersized McGloin could give Schaub a run for his money, so why acquire Schaub to be your starter?
If Schaub was really the best guy and If he really wanted to be a Raider, why not wait for him to be released? The truth is, Schaub probably would have opted for Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns, but I don’t think they would have even named him the automatic starter.
Like I said, I do not blame Pryor for wanting out. it is hard to take hits and a beating for a team over a season and then hear they handed your job to someone who has not even beaten you or proven more capable then you. Does anyone remember how we beat Schaub at home a few seasons ago?
Whatever the case is, Allen and Mckenzie are banking a lot on Schaub this season. He may have been the best option for a starting QB out there, but that does not mean he is the best one for the Raiders. Schaub does not have much more potential. No one is even sure if he is the QB we saw last season or the ones from the previous few seasons. Either way, The Raiders will do well to invest in a young QB who can actually compete with Schaub and push him in training camp. Otherwise we may be looking at an uncontested mediocre quarterback with no future at the helm of our Raiders.
If Schaub fails then the Raiders, as a whole will fail. Losing Pryor takes away any other capable experienced option the Raiders have. Sure McGloin is a compeitor and a solid back-up but he is not the playmaker or gamechanger that Pryor is.
Hence, the Raiders are gambling on Schaub, and if he does not succeed then he, Allen, and McKenzie will probably all be looking for jobs next season. The Raiders will then be in exactly the same position they have been the past few seasons, looking for their QB of now and of the future.
For QBs especially, Pro-days are a huge deal because many of the top prospects elect not to throw at the combine. Additionally teams want to see players perform at their best in their own controlled and simulated environment.
Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr all held their pro-days this week. Allen visited the first two’s and is scheduled to check out Manziel’s. Mckenzie has attended Derek Carr and David Fales pro-day.
With That said, the hype has been around Bridgewater and Bortles. Bortles recieved a 10 out of 10 from ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, and many other scouts have sky rocketed him up to the top of the draft boards even as far as the no. 1 pick.
Bridgewater on the other hand, was overwhelming. Mike Mayock said his pro-day was average and did not do anything to his draft stock. Other opinions in the media did add more questions to Bridgewater’s potential after the poor pro-day.
The Reality of the situation tells a different story. Bridgewater attempted throwing without his usual gloves and claimed that had to do with some of his inaccuricies. Bortles smelled blood and absolutely killed his pro-day.
Neither’s performance should really effect their draft status. The fact of the matter is you want to draft a QB because you are in love with him. Once you love a QB you can build your team around him and give him every chance to succeed. If he is your guy then one good or bad outing should not change your opinion of the guy.
Both guys have a compilation of film over the past years which indicate what they are capable of doing in pads, not a tee shirt. What did people expect from the pro-days? Of Course, Bortles is going to impress with his rocket arm, size and mobility. However you can not really answer questions about his ability to make decisions or read defenses until he goes against a live Defense, not on air.
Same thing with Bridgewater. Bridgewater has not been the consensus number one QB because he has the biggest arm. Scouts have liked his decision making and leadership skills. Combined with solid athletecism and a solid arm, many feel like he is the most pro-ready quarterback. One bad day should not change that perception because his game tape indicates otherwise. Not to mention, Bridgewater took negative opinion in stride and has illustrated the bounceback characteristic you want with a QB.
Added, Jamarcus Russell had one of the best Pro-Days ever. There will always forever be guys who look great in tee-shirts and shorts at every level of football. That should not takeaway from what a player does on gameday in a live situation
Either way, Pro-days should not change the Raiders perspective on either of these QB’s. Both have enough gametape to prove they belong in the NFL. The Raiders should not fall out of love with Bridgewater cause of a bad day nor should they love Bortles because of one great day.
The pre-draft process is exactly that, a process. The Raiders need to take the compilation of pro-days. combine performances, interviews, and game tape before gambling on a QB at the top of the draft. Regardless, the Raiders will have an oppurtunity to set up private workouts for either or both of these guys.
For more on my take about the Top Qbs Pro-days, listen to my podcast.
Reports indicate the Raiders boost their D-Block (Defensive Backs0 and are bringing back safety Charles Woodson on a one year deal.
Twitter reacted with Every Raider fan going nuts about the signing. For good reason too. Charles Woodson came in and made an impact for a defense desperate for playmakers and leadership. Woodson also represents a piece from the glory days of the Raiders and having him on the roster makes fans very happy. He embodies what it means to be a Raider, rough and tough.
From a football perspective, Woodson is the versatile Defensive Back Allen and Tarver utilize. He can line-up in the slot or at either safety position. He is not necessarily the kind of threat in coverage he once was, but he still has the range and speed to play safety. His tackling ability is up and down, but they have Tyvon Branch complimenting him at safety to cover those deficiencies.
Leadership wise, we understand what Woodson brings to the table. Reggie McKenzie’s trend is signing football players with Superbowl rings and Charles Woodson has one of his own. A strong Leadership presence will be on each level of Tarver’s defense. The Raiders look to be one of the smartest and versatile defenses in the entire league.
Additionally the Raiders made the re-signing of Usama Young, fellow safety. Young’s two year deal makes him an inexpensive back-up for Charles Woodson. Young started for the Cleveland Browns the year before serving as Woodson’s Back-up. He played well before injury took him out of the line-up. Young is pretty good on Special Teams as well.
Young is a capable back up for Charles Woodson who should also offer some spot up duty. He recorded an interception and sack providing the kind of versatility to play all over the secondary. Preserving Charles Woodson is important and Young is more then capable of playing in his place.
The move indicates the Raiders are perserving 3 of their four starters from last season and a key back-up in Young. They also add a more season Brandon Ross and Chidekwai. FA Tarrell Brown is an unrated addition and they may even add a rookie to the mix. Dennis Allen specializes in Defensive Backs, so I have high expectations for them. They have the veteran leadership and continuity to be one of the strongest positions for the Raiders and i hope they produce
The Raiders capped off the first week of Free Agency by adding some weight named Donald Penn to an Offensive line in need of some help at the left tackle position.
Donald Penn is a former undrafted free agent whom has spent the last few seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Penn chose the Oakland Raiders over the Redskins because he wanted an opportunity to play at left Tackle. Penn has started at left tackle the past few seasons for the Tampa Buccaneers. He has struggled with his weight but he was a pro-bowl alternate a few years ago.
PFF focus has a higher rating on Penn then Veldheer but Penn is aged 31. The move is a low risk one for the Raiders as it is a 2 year deal with less then 3 million a season guaranteed.
Football wise, Penn is a monster. He has a chance to compete with Manelik Watson for the starting position at Left Tackle. With Watson’s history of injury, I am glad to hear the Raiders have a back plan in case Watson gets injured or is unready to be a fulltime starter.
The past couple of seasons the Raiders have wanted establish an imposing bully on the Offensive line. Boothe, Howard, and now Penn are all quality veterans with a lot of experience and even more LBS. The Raiders should finally have the bully to open holes for McFadden, so he can get down hill and take runs the distance.
Best part of Penn’s deal is there are no big cap implications if he is cut after the season. Otherwise, Penn has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove after being cut by the Buccaneers. The Raiders should be able to get Penn’s best football in the twilight of his career.
The Raiders added another couple of Superbowl rings and versatile weapons to their team in the second week of Free Agency, only this time it was offense.
GM Reggie McKenzie brought in one of his favorite players from his former employee named James Jones. At 29, the former Packer wide-out signed a two year deal worth up to $3.8 million a year. Considering their was not much rumored interest in one of the top wide receivers in Free Agency, McKenzie got himself another steal.
Jones passed up an opportunity to play for The Panthers in favor of returning to Northern California as he is from neighboring San Jose. Football wise, Jones is a versatile competitor. He is capable of lining up in the slot or in the outside position. He has racked up almost 800 yards the past two seasons catching balls from Aaron Rodgers.
I love this deal because it is another bargain price for someone who is a big time competitor. The cap implications are not the bad, but I hope they do not expect Jones to be a true #1 receiver. Jones’ sure hands make him a reliable target but he is best suited in a complimentary role.
I hate this deal because of it’s implications for the draft. I would hate to see the Raiders pass up the Clemson Phenom Sammy Watkins because of their depth at the receiver position. With Streater, Holmes, and Moore already there, plus Jones the Raiders have four capable play-makers in the receiving game. Either way, their is so much talent in this draft class when it comes to receiver that I would hate to see the Raiders pass up value in the mid rounds because the position is field.
Therefore, it would not surprise me to see Denarius Moore traded before the season ends. Moore was expected to be the go to guy, and made some big plays while struggling with consistency. Overall he is an Al Davis guy and has concerns with his work ethic which could make him a viable candidate for the trading block. He should have some value as a relatively young receiver who has made big plays in the league. The Patriots or Panthers could do worse then adding him to their receiving corps.
McKenzie was not done with adding Superbowl rings on Monday, as he signed a familiar face. Kevin Boothe was originally drafted by the Raiders in 2006 before being cut for schematic reasons the next season. Boothe went on to start lots of games for the Giants including two SuperBowl rings.
Boothe adds another big body capable of starting in the offensive-line. He is versatile as a center or guard. The veteran will be able to compete at either of the guards positions, while being insurance due to injury.
Boothe is not a Pro-bowler or anything spectacular. He is not a slouch neither, and is a welcomed addition to an offensive-line in transition.
Both of the signings are continue Reggie McKenzie’s trend of signing Veterans who know how to compete and win. He is not signing the most talented players but players who change the losing dynamic of the franchise. Boothe and Jones added to the core of players signed last week are the type of Leaders who can reverse the culture of losing.
I have been critical of McKenzie in the past, but I give him props for sticking to his guns. He is signing quality stop-gap players at a bargain rates in hopes that his draft picks can develop. For my beloved Raiders sake and for his own, I hope McKenzie’s plan works.
He will continue his plan and carry the momentum through the rest of Free Agency. He still has plenty of cap space.
Some Guys on my list who should be on his:
Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie capped off the First week of Free Agency by signing two under the radar Free Agents Tarrell Brown and Antonio Smith. Although neither have the name recognition of Justin Tuck or LaMarr Woodley both could have just a big of an impact on the Raiders Defense.
Brown Comes from just across the Bay as a former 49er. Last season he did not have his best effort as he did not record an interception in 10 starts. However the two seasons before he started every game and recorded a combined 6 interceptions. Playing with the 49ers, Brown has the playoff experience which Raiders young secondary members such as DJ Hayden can learn from.
Brown may not be a pro-bowler but he has a lot of value as a starter or coveraging the slot. He is an above average tackler and his one of Pro Football Focus’ highly graded corner. He should be able to play the man or zone coverages required of Tarver’s scheme. Best part about this deal is the deal is only one year and worth $3.5 million, meaning their is no long term commitment for either side.
As for Smith, the former Texan and self-proclaimed ninja brings the defensive line some more versatility. With the Texans he was primarily used as a defensive end lined up in the 5 technique. With the Raiders he will probably be utilized in those sets on some of the versatile schemes utilized by the Raiders. The Pass Rusher will also line-up as a pass rusher in the 3-technique.
Sure Smith is approaching 33 years of age, but he played well for the Texans recording 5 of his 41 career sacks. He is also stout against the run and could be critical in helping Stacey McGee develop along the Raiders Defensive Line rotation. Smith will be a critical element of keeping the defensive line fresh and also being able to mix up fronts and stunts for oppossing offensive lines.
Overall, neither of these guys have much household recognition. Fortunately they continue McKenzie’s trend of adding high leadership and work-ethic players to aid the development of our struggling organization. It is not going to happen overnight so having veterans capable of playing well young players develop is critical. Brown and Smith can both play at a high level and will be critical elements of the defensive rotation regardless of who else is brought in via free agency or draft. The best part about both of these signings is they are relatively cheap and offer low risk to the franchise.
Guess What? There is still a long way until the NFL and draft and even longer until the season starts. The Raiders have not been the figurehead to Free Agency as many would have hoped, but they still have more than 50 million in cap space, and plenty of needs along the roster.
Offensive Line Hoggies do not recieve a lot of recognition, so I am going to group them together.
Alex Mack- Mack was one of the best centers in the game last season, and at 28 years old is the best free agent left on the market. The Raiders could benefit from selecting him and sliding the wiz kid to guard. However, cleveland can match any deal made to him and he will probably want a huge deal making it unlikely he becomes a Raider.
Brian De La Puente-
The former saints center could be a nice starter to help sure up the offensive line. Has performed decent, but probably deserves starting money. If number is right, this Saint connection could become a Raider easily, as a guard or Center.
The former undrafted free agent has been a beast for Tampa over the years and has not missed any games. At 31, I am not sure if he is going to get any better, however he is probably the only capable Left tackle available. He has visited with the Raiders and indications are it has been a successful. Raiders can not afford to let him leave as they need a replacement for Veldheer.
Oher, yes the one from the movie, is still relatively young at 27. Even if the Raiders ink Penn, Oher would be a nice addition as a guard or solid depth. He has regressed some the past couple of seasons, but a change of scenery could benefit him.
the Boise State product has been a guard as Green Back Packer and Arizona Cardinal. He is far from a pro-bowler, but he is a servicable starter. At worst, he would be a solid option for depth. He has arms long enough to play tackle combined with enough speed and power to pay guard. He should not command anywhere near the 4 million he would have made with Cardinals, so the Raiders should come into play, especially with Reggie McKenzie’s connection to the former Packer.
Other Names-Zach Strief, Tyson Clabo, Eric Winston, John Jerry, Kevin Boothe, Davin Joseph, Uche Nawaneri, Richie Incognito
The Raiders need to address the Defensive Back field as they have yet to resign incumbants Mike Jenkins or Charles Woodson. Specifically they need to add atleast one or two cornerbacks to pair with D.J Hayden, as well as added insurance in the even Hayden goes down with injury. *As I wrote this, Tarrell Brown was signed for the Raiders. Great move, underrated cover corner familiar with the bay area. He will do well as a starter, but I would perfer him as a nickle Back and insurance policy to DJ Hayden. Raiders could still add another corner for starter purposes and a FS. Brown was a great start, but here are a few other guys.
Guys I like:
Raiders brought Jenkins in on a one year prove it deal. He played up and down but is worthy of another affordable deal. He is versatile and would give raiders some continuity they have been lacking. There are a lot of teams interested in the former pro bowler and versatile CB, so I am not sure Raiders will bring him back especially if they have not done so already. However he is the capable and versatile starter to compliment Hayden. He Brown and Hayden would make the corner position sured up for the raiders in the immediate future.
Thurmond is still relatively young and coming off a superbowl year. He was primarily a back-up which could lead to him getting over payed. He would still be an upgrade over the other Raiders Cornerbacks.
Entering his 30’s Cromartie is no longer the player he once was. However, he is still scheme versatile, athletic, and a competitor. Cromartie doesn’t reflect the high charachter guys Raiders have targeted, but I’m sure Raiders could offer him more then anyone else, and I know he would not turn down one last pay day, as well as a chance to be back in Cali weather.
He is by far the best corner available due to age and the fact he is coming off a great season with the Broncos. He did already turn down a 9 million dollar avg. deal from the Broncos so he may overvalue himself. Raiders may not fork out the money he wants, but he would be the best #1 corner Raiders could get, while forming a good duo with Hayden. Not to mention he can play former team Broncos twice a year. No offers from Raiders yet could change once raiders sure up needs.
By most accounts, Thomas was mediocre in 2014 after consecutive ACL injuries. He was a productive player before and could be an affordable nickle back for Raiders. He could reunite with Justin Tuck and prove he still has plenty left in the tank. He already made a visit so the mutual interest is there.
Other names- Rashaad Mathis, Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey, Carlos Rodgers, Dunta Robinson, Anotine Cason, Drayton Florence, Josh Wilson, Aaron Ross
*All of these guys have proven capable at a time. However, many of them are on the decline due to diminishing skill from increased age or injury. Could be training camp guys without a shot at making the roster and proving themselves worthy.
There are plenty of stzrts in this Safety pool. However many are their for injury concerns or dip in production:
You already know why, and how much he means to our franchise. Proved he has plenty to offer a team in nead of leadership and playmakers. Numbers have to be write to bring in a guy closer to 40.
Regardless if Raiders get Charles Woodson they’ll need a second safety to make sure he does not take so many snaps. Clemons is the best available as we speak. He has only missed three games in four seasons.
He has underachieved with the Eagles, but at 26 years old he is an affordable back-up option. We could hope he learns something from Playing under Charles Woodson a year.
Other Names- Usama Young, Roman Harper, Quintin Mikell, Kendrick Lewis, Thomas Decloud, Brandan Merriweather, Michael Huff
Raiders announced signing of LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck yesterday. The two would still benefit from having a pass rushing pressence on the inside.
Melton was a pro-bowler and is a versatile passrusher despite being undersized. He is coming off injury and an off field arrest which could have made Raiders shy away thus far. Melton could really be useful replacing Houston as an undersized bass rusher on the inside. Give him a fat one year prove it deal.. Please!
I have been very adament about the 6 time pro-bowler. He is approaching age 33 but he can be effective as a two down run stopper. He is better then Vance Walker or Patt Simms. With something left to prove, he could be the bargain Reggie McKenzie looks for considering their has not been a lot of interest.
Even if the Raiders can court one of the three guys above, Walker would still be an effective back up. He knows the Raiders defense and is capable of stopping the run.
The former Texan is already visiting. Coming off a 5 sack season he can play the end position in a five technique or DT as a 3 technique. They could do a lot worse then the Veteran Smith, but he is not my first option.
Other Names- Terrance Cody, Patt Simms, Patrick Carriker, Robert Ayers
Regardless of what you think about Nick Roach, The Raiders could use an upgrade on the inside, and Roach could be better utilized in his natural position as an outside linebacker.
Spikes is only 26 years old. He had a falling out with the Patriots, so why not come to the Raiders. He is a two down thumper, but the Raiders need that, especially if they utilize more 4 linebacker sets. I’m sure if the Raiders called, he would be happy to take their payday, even if it is only a one year prove it deal due to his injury last season.
He has started a lot of games for the Rival chiefs. If nothing else he is an affordable depth option to push Nick Roach.
Henderson has had his fair share of off the field incidents with 2 DUI arrests, allegedly. However, He can play and with little interest could be some real value for Raiders on all three downs.
Other Names: Dan Conner, Jonathan Vilma, Nick Barnett, Larry Foote, Pat Angerer, Desmond Bishop
Notice: I excluded QBs, RBs, and WRs because they have not been very high in demand. McKenzie is either waiting to address other needs and let their stock fall, or he would rather address those needs via the Draft in May.
Just around twelve hours ago, Raidernation was ready to jump ship when the Rodger Saffold deal was botched. Apparently, depending on whose side you believe, Saffold had a previous shoulder injury that caused him to fail the Raiders physical and voiding the contract.
Fast Forward a few hours, and Raider Fans were excited to hear the team signing Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley to two year contracts. Sure Woodley and Tuck are not the marquee players they once were a few seasons ago, but the signings are still significant boosts for the squad.
Tuck and Woodley both come from two other storied franchises in the Steelers and Giants. Both hoisted the Lombardi trophy in their tenure with their former teams. Championship pedigrees are not cheap in this league and a team that has done a lot of losing needs to learn how to win, and these guys know how. As Fans we seen the Impact Woodson made when he came in purely from a leadership perspective, and these guys can do the same
Between the two of these guys, The Raiders added over 100 career sacks to a struggling front four.Woodley
is a versatile rusher capable of standing up or putting his hand in the ground. Tuck is capable of rushing from the end or 3 technique. That versatility should be utilized by the Raiders. D-Coordinator Tarver should be stoked to have two new toys.
Raiders got Tuck and Woodley for what it would have cost to franchise Lamarr Houston. Not to mention, the two year deals do not hurt the team in the long run. Around a 6 million dollar salary for these guys is a good deal considering they have more sacks then Houston.
These Two guys are about as respectable as you can be in the league. If they can buy into Reggie’s plan then I am sure they can get other Veteran Defensive Players to buy into what the Raiders are selling. So far free agency has proven Raiders are going to have to offer more then just playing time and money. Having Woodley’s and Tuck’s influence should help other free agents buy into the francsise.
These two moves signify Reggie’s plan of patience and not over spending. Fans lost beloved Houston and Veldheer and the Raiders needed to provide some hope for its fans. The Saffold drama can now be put behind us, and fans can buy into the big picture again. Reggie is not going to overspend or lock up players, he wants to build through the draft. Tuck and Woodley are the servicable stop-gap players for fans to be excited about, but they also could be the mentors to Raiders young players. Moreover, these are signings the Raiders can build on as they continue Free Agency and into the Draft.
Something To Prove
I mean really, When was the last time Raider Fans actually had something Legit to be excited about? Reggie McKenzie actually has something to prove to the fanbase which pays his pay check. Same could be said for Tuck and Woodley. Both were intricate pieces of their former franchises, yet were not coveted by their former teams. As they enter their 30’s(Woodley 29 Tuck 31) both players can prove they still have plenty to offer a team. Woodson dispelled the myth that 30 year old players can’t impact games, and Woodley/Tuck will look to do the same.
Sure Woodley and Tuck are not exactly the marquee names anymore. However that is no reason for Raidernation to not be excited, as they are better then anyone else currently on the roster. Sure the Raiders have a lot more to do in Free Agency and they have a huge draft coming up in May, but signing Woodley and Tuck is a step in the right direction.Singularly, neither is the kind of pass rusher to command double teams anymore, but paired offensive QBs have something to fear for the first time in a while.
] Tuck signs with Raiders [\caption]