8 Players Oakland Raiders Must Target in Free Agency

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Reggie Mckenzie Has A Lot Of Holes To Plug

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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...

Kevin Saito is a fiction writer, sports junkie, history nerd, and NFL Contributor. He's just a “clown with an opinion” and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or on Google.

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8. Corey Peters

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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.

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7. Jabari Greer

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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.

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6. Clinton McDonald

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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.

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5. Quentin Jammer

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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.

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4. Jonathan Babineaux

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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.

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3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

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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.

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2. Justin Tuck

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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.

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1. Asante Samuel

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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.

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  • Trevor

    While i do like the article and like a couple of the players you listed…. Why all the falcons?! Hate to be critical but the falcons d was just AWEFUL last year and couldn’t generate any pass rush what so ever… Why go after the pass rushers from a team that was bottom barrell in the nfl in sack totals??? I dont get that at all… Unless your an atlanta fan? I mean, with guys like Jared Allen, Michael Johnson or heck, even everson griffen and Arthur jones being much better options than babenieux or Peters. Sure the falcons players may be a little cheaper but that’s because they aren’t worth anything. I do love the idea of going after tuck tho. Adding Cromartie would be great! I’m assuming you think RM will go after cheaper options all around and that explains your selections. Jason hunter could be a good cheaper player or tryson Jackson. At DB id love to see rm pursue Grimes but understand that Prolly won’t happen but Terrell brown and Charles Tillman are decent options that wouldn’t demand HUGE money… also, if GB lets Sam sheilds walk then I’d hope RM would have the inside track on brining him in… Same with BJ raji? Depending on the $ he wants , of course. Just my 2 ¢

    • saito8204

      You make a lot of good points and I agree with you on some things. Definitely not a Falcon fan though– I bleed Silver and Black. :-)

      You’re right in that Atlanta had a horrid defense last year. Though, the did only finish 6 sacks behind the Raiders. Babineaux might be a good and relatively inexpensive option for RM to consider. He’s been pretty consistently good throughout his career. Though it’s true, that he’s probably on a decline. I think re-signing Lamarr Houston is the top priority, after that, they need to focus on some players who can still make an impact on the D-line and won’t break the bank. I would love for them to pick up Tuck but I think he, like Jared Allen, are going to command way too much on the open market. I think either one of them would significantly upgrade the defense but with so many holes to fill, they can’t overcommit to any one player. Which is why I suggest going after second tier players like a Peters, or at the stage of his career, a Babineaux. Though you bring up quite a few names that are feasible options as well. Both on the line and in the secondary.

      Ultimately, it’s going to come down to money. They have a lot of room under the cap but it’s a finite amount. They will need to get a lot of bang for their buck and spread that cash around to a lot of different positions. I think they’ll do well to get players who they can get cheaper but who still can make an impact.

      • Trevor

        Hey! I appreciate the response! Enjoy good raider talk with a fellow knowledgeable fan :) youre absolutely correct. RM isn’t known for paying top dollar for big name free agents. My thought with jared allen is with him being a HUGE raider fan and bay area native he would give a “home town discount” to retire a raider. He only has a couple seasons left so I’d think he wouldn’t break the bank… Tuck could but we can afford 1-2 big name impact players and the thought of him and houston on the same line gives me a big smile… Sam sheilds and bj raji come to mind as well given their connection to RM… Glad to hear you’re a raider fan! Was just poking fun with that comment lol you’re right that babeniuex has been consistent and maybe a change of scenery would give him a boost.

        • saito8204

          Thanks to you as well. I enjoy talking football! If Allen gives RM the hometown discount, that’s all good. But they definitely can’t afford to pay him top dollar. Not with so many other needs to fill. But having Tuck and Houston on the line would put some real teeth into that defense. That would be a formidable front. But Tuck is likely going to cost too much. Still, it’s a nice dream. :-)

          Shields would be good if RM could convince him to come and Green Bay doesn’t hit him with the franchise tag. They most definitely need to upgrade the secondary because Porter and Jenkins were a freaking train wreck back there last season.

          • Trevor

            These days being a raider fan is all about dreaming hahaha!
            I agree the secondary is HORRENDOUS and if we want any chance at competeting in the AFC west it has to get MUCH much better. Pass rush and better coverage is key, as we saw in the SB when Seattle shut Denver down. I still have some faith in Reggie as there wasn’t much he could do the last 2 years. I’m banking on players wanting to “revive the great ones” haha! The nfl is much more entertaining all around when oak is the villan and bully of the league. The nfl doesn’t have that team with us being so bad… Its a sad sight.

          • saito8204

            Sadly enough, you’re right. As Raider fans, we’ve been reduced to dreaming for more than ten years now. lol…

            I’m really hoping that now that he has the cap space, Reggie will be able to do what he was brought in to do… build a winner. I think he has the capability. I should say that I hope he does anyway.

            The league is definitely better with a good Oakland club in it. It just seems to suck a little bit more when we’re the laughingstock of the league.