NFL Free Agency: Top-5 free agents Oakland Raiders can’t let walk
The 5 free agents Oakland Raiders must re-sign
With free agency in full swing across the NFL, it’s time to really think about those players that are still unsigned who are invaluable to their teams. The Oakland Raiders let more than 15 players from last year’s team test the open market, but some of those guys are critical for Oakland’s success next season and beyond.
I list the five players the Raiders should make their top priority this offseason from within their own team. Most of the guys on this list are people who had great years last season and I expect will improve next season. Some are players who fill needs the Raiders must address and there is probably no better alternative on the market or in this year’s draft class. However, all of these players are important for Oakland not to take a step back next season. The Raiders only have so many draft picks and the free agent market is only so deep.
The list was surprisingly difficult to cultivate because many of the players Oakland let go are players they probably needed to send on their way. Someone like Richard Seymour is a perfect example because the defensive tackle was not playing at a level that deserved his bloated salary. Oakland did itself a favor by cutting him and gaining a little bit of cap relief to pursue other players. Others like Matt Leinart never panned out like the Raiders had hoped and were sent to find yet another opportunity in this unforgiving league.
5. Shane Lechler
Many people will say Lechler is past his prime and after a subpar season in 2012 that argument makes sense. However, I think Lechler still has a couple of good years left in his leg and it may be better for Oakland to sing him to a cheaper two-year deal and bring in an undrafted free agent to challenge him in training camp.
4. Cooper Carlisle
Oakland's issues with the offensive line were with the tackles, not the guards. Carlisle isn't as good as some of the other guards on the market, but he's better than some of the alternatives Oakland has in the draft and free agency. His veteran presence on the line is also a big help for a team with a bad offensive line.
3. Philip Wheeler
Wheeler was arguably Oakland's best defensive player last year, so it is imperative the Raiders bring him back. He will help bring some stability to the run defense and he can help lead what will be a very young linebacking corps next season.
2. Matt Shaughnessy
Oakland cannot afford to let its best defensive lineman go when that is the main focus of the offseason. Shaughnessy is a force to be reckon with on the defensive line and he will be one of the main people charged with improving the Raiders' pass rush next year. If they let him go, the Raiders will be in deep trouble on the defensive line next season.
1. Brandon Myers
Myers can catch the ball and was clearly Oakland's offensive MVP last season. If Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden are going to have success next season, they need the passing attack to be strong and having a reliable option like Myers would be helpful. In an ideal world he won't have to catch 80 passes next season, but Myers will at least force teams to either take a linebacker out of the box or use an extra defensive back, both of which helps Oakland's offense work better.