8 Players Oakland Raiders Must Target in Free Agency
Reggie Mckenzie Has A Lot Of Holes To Plug
With a ton of contracts and dead money finally coming off the books, the strong>Oakland Raiders will, for the first time in a long time, have some real flexibility to operate with. With needs in virtually every spot on their roster, the Raiders look to be major players when the window opens on the feeding frenzy that is known as free agency.
One of the problems the Raiders are facing though, is that the organization no longer has the prestige it once did. It's no longer considered a prime place for free agents to land; more than a decade of bad teams and worse seasons tends to have that effect. They're also not, as constructed at present, in a place to win right now, which is a motivating factor for some players. So, getting some of the big ticket free agents to even give them a sniff might be difficult.
What they do have to offer though is a young, up and coming team that, with some key free agents in the right places and a little bit of luck, could surprise a lot of people and make a playoff push. Oh yeah, they can also offer a pile of cash as well. Hopefully those are big enough incentives to get some much needed help to the Bay Area.
The question is, with so many areas of need and concern, where do the Raiders start? Though they have a lot of room under the cap at present, that money is finite and it can go quickly. So, the Raiders need to put it where it will do the most good, and where they'll get the most bang for their buck.
Right now, with a defense that was abysmal, ranking near the bottom of the league in every significant category, the Raiders would do well to focus on that side of the ball. While some of these suggested targets might be nothing more than pipe dreams, the Raiders should give very serious consideration to them. Adding any one -- or more -- of these players to the Raider D could help turn things around quickly. As the Baltimore Ravens showed the world, you can have a mediocre offense, but if you have a killer defense, you can win championships.
With that in mind then, here are eight free agents the Raiders should do anything within their power to bring to Oakland...
8. Corey Peters
Jonathan Babineaux's less celebrated, but nearly as effective, teammate Corey Peters finds himself on the market. He's young, durable and like Babineaux, a force on the defensive line. The Raiders could do a lot worse than taking a run at Peters. He'd likely come with a cheaper price tag than Babineaux, and they'd get a very similar player. A run stopping, quarterback pressuring presence on the defensive line is what they desperately need.
7. Jabari Greer
Jabari Greer has been solid in the New Orleans Saints secondary for a number of years now. He doesn't put up gaudy stats, but he doesn't get burned a lot either. At 5-foot-11, he's perhaps a bit shorter than you'd want your starting corner to be, but he makes up for his lack of size with an abundance of athleticism. Being able to nab him as a free agent would significantly upgrade the Raider secondary.
6. Clinton McDonald
Clinton McDonald isn't one of the flashier players on the free agent market right now, but he's a solid player. For the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, McDonald racked up 5 ½ sacks, 23 tackles and assisted on 19 others. Plus, as a vital part of a ferocious Seattle defense, he can bring an intensity and leadership to a locker room that sorely needs it. Because he's not one of the marquee free agents out there, the Raiders might be able to get one hell of a deal on a pretty terrific player.
5. Quentin Jammer
He's not the youngest or the fastest guy on the field anymore, but Quentin Jammer, like Charles Woodson, still has some good football in him. He can still make plays and still make quarterbacks think twice before throwing to his side of the field. As a bonus, Jammer could serve as a mentor to the younger cornerbacks on the rosters, such as DJ Hayden, who would do well to learn from Jammer's tutelage. Jammer could be a valuable addition to the Raider secondary in more ways than one.
4. Jonathan Babineaux
It was a bit of a surprise that the Atlanta Falcons parted ways with Jonathan Babineaux. He's versatile, ferocious and his motor never stops running. Plugging Babineaux onto the defensive line would most definitely improve a terrible run defense and help improve a pass rush that was pathetically anemic in 2013. The Raiders should give serious consideration to making a run at him, and if they are able to re-sign Lamarr Houston, pairing him with Babineaux would give them the foundation of what could be a dominant defensive front.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
At 27, Dominique Rodgers-Cromarties is still young and still has a lot of great football ahead of him. Playing for the Broncos last season, Rodgers-Cromartie picked off three balls and had 19 total passes defensed. He could absolutely bring some speed, athleticism and ball hawking skills to a secondary that displayed relatively none last season. The Raiders would be wise to make a play for Rodgers-Cromartie.
2. Justin Tuck
Justin Tuck has already stated that he's anxious to test the free agent waters. With that in mind, the Raiders should do all they can to pursue him. Tuck is a dominant force on the defensive line, has reached double digit sacks multiple times throughout his career, and is well known for wreaking havoc in an opponent's backfield. The Raiders need somebody who can get to the QB and provide solid run stopping power, and Tuck ticks both boxes. They should absolutely do what they can to bring him to the Bay Area.
1. Asante Samuel
He may be 33 years old, but he can still bring it at a high level. His presence in the Raider secondary would make it a more formidable unit and might help improve a defense that ranked near the bottom in most significant categories. The Raiders would be foolish to not throw out a line to see if they can lure Samuel to the Bay Area.