5 Oakland Raiders Who Must Be Kicked to the Curb Before Free Agency
5 Players the Oakland Raiders Need to Cut Already
Heading into the 2014 offseason, the Oakland Raiders are in a great position. With upwards of $60 million to spend between now and the beginning of the regular season, GM Reggie McKenzie should be ready to make significant upgrades through free agency.
That, however, doesn’t mean the Raiders should be happy with the pieces currently on the roster before the market opens.
As we saw this past season during their trip to a 4-12 record, the Raiders have several inept players currently filling the depth chart. While some of the younger players still have some promise yet to be realized, there are a number of disappointments who simply don’t deserve a roster spot at this point. And with the way the Raiders have been trending in the last few seasons, they can’t afford to sit back and let the 2014 campaign go down in flames as well.
That’s why these players need to be kicked to the curb. The Raiders can’t continue to settle for mediocrity. Especially with McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen’s jobs hinging on how the team does in 2014, allowing underachieving players to stay on the roster seems less than ideal. Instead, they need to weed out the weaknesses and use that huge cap space to make considerable upgrades.
So here’s a look at five players the Raiders should get rid of before free agency begins. Whether it’s because of poor performances or a lack of upside, it’s time for the ship to sail on these five letdowns.
Lucas Nix, Guard
Arguably the worst starting guard in the NFL last season, Nix is a disaster waiting to happen. Although he only gave up five sacks last season, he allowed 33 hurries from the interior and rarely got a significant push as a run blocker. After suffering from poor blocking throughout the 2013 campaign, the Raiders’ next step after re-signing Jared Veldheer should be to give Nix the boot and permanently ban him from the city of Oakland.
Brandian Ross, Strong Safety
After Tyvon Branch was knocked out of the lineup due to a fractured fibula, Ross took over as the starting strong safety. What ensued was a season-long showing of ineptitude on his end. The third-year safety struggled mightily as both a cover man and run defender, giving up six touchdowns through the air while missing 12 tackles. With the Raiders looking to improve their secondary, getting rid of Ross might be the best way to avoid another meltdown on the backend of the defense.
Juron Criner, Wide Receiver
I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong with Criner. I saw him as a huge steal when the Raiders nabbed him in the fifth round in 2012, but now I’m starting to think there’s a reason he slid so far. The oft-injured receiver has been a non-factor in Oakland, spending most of last season on the bench before a shoulder injury landed him on the IR list. Already behind players like Brice Butler and Andre Holmes on the depth chart, Criner’s 2014 outlook isn’t pretty. A change of scenery might be his best bet.
Nick Roach, Middle Linebacker
When the Raiders signed Roach last offseason, it seemed like an underrated addition. For years, Roach had played in the shadows of the Chicago Bears’ top-notch linebackers, but was finally getting an opportunity to be the starter. Well it didn’t quite pan out the way Oakland was hoping. Instead, Roach played every single defensive snap for the Raiders and proved to be a huge liability against the run. With Kaluka Maiava back from injury and plenty of cap space to work with, the Raiders could soon find a replacement that’ll make Roach expendable.
Terrelle Pryor, Quarterback
Towards the end of the 2013 campaign, it became clear that the Raiders had given up on Pryor as a candidate for the 2014 starting job. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin unseated him as the starter midway through last season and still holds the reins despite a poor late-season stretch. Especially if the Raiders opt to pick up a passer via the 2014 NFL Draft, Pryor could soon be irrelevant. It’s time for Oakland to either trade away the former supplemental draft pick or simply give him his walking papers.