5 Oakland Raiders Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency
5 Things to Watch As Free Agency Begins
For the last couple of years, the Oakland Raiders have been waiting for March 11, 2014.
With numerous crippling contracts now off the books and the biggest amount of salary cap space to work with heading into 2014 free agency, it’s time for GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen to prove they can give this franchise a brighter future.
That, however, doesn’t mean they’re ready to go just yet. There are still several pending free agents with expiring contracts the team would like back on their roster next season. Despite that fact, they have yet to get new deals done. Whether or not the Raiders get those deals done before March 11 could drastically change their plan during free agency.
The Raiders also have a couple of players currently under contract who shouldn’t be in their plans moving forward. McKenzie and Co., though, might not be ready to sever ties. Will their hesitance to move on from unworthy players affect their ability to compete in 2014?
It’s going to be a huge offseason for the Raiders organization, especially when it comes to determining what the future holds for McKenzie and Allen. With a plethora of cap space available and nothing holding them back from being serious players, though, there’s no room for excuses. Can they make the most of free agency and get themselves out of the NFL basement or will they squander this golden opportunity?
I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Here’s a look at five storylines to follow as the Raiders prepare for free agency.
Will Charles Woodson Re-Sign With the Raiders?
It was a bargain for the Raiders last season when they signed Woodson, bringing him back to his original NFL home. However, his one-year deal is about to expire. The veteran safety has expressed interest in returning to Oakland, but isn’t going to take a cheap deal to do so. If he doesn’t receive the offer he’s looking for, Woodson has made it clear that he doesn’t mind taking the retirement route. Can the Raiders table an acceptable offer or will they watch this fan favorite hang up his cleats?
What’s the Plan With Lucas Nix?
Plain and simple, Nix is not a good football player. He was one of the worst guards in the NFL last season, and was a serious liability along the Raiders’ offensive line. Some will cite depth as a reason to keep him in Oakland, but there are plenty of reasonably-priced options available during free agency who could easily supplant him. Nix needs to go, but will McKenzie have the courage to pull the trigger and cut the overwhelmed guard?
Can the Raiders Get Deals Done for Jared Veldheer, Lamarr Houston?
The Raiders failed to slap either of their top pending free agents with the franchise tag, and now must get deals done with both before the new league year begins on March 11. If they don’t, they’ll hit the open market and have the opportunity to sign elsewhere. If the Raiders have any plans of being relevant in 2014, they must re-sign at least one of the two. Veldheer is one of the top up-and-coming left tackles in the NFL, and Houston emerged as a star right end last season. Will deals materialize in time?
Will the Raiders Address the QB Position During Free Agency?
Contrary to popular belief, neither Matt McGloin nor Terrelle Pryor offer much in terms of long-term potential at quarterback. The Raiders must address the position at some point this offseason, but will it be during free agency? They could opt to draft their future passer in May, but might not like their options at No. 5. On the other hand, there are limited options available during free agency. Will they settle for an aging veteran like Michael Vick or wait until the draft to upgrade at quarterback?
So Much Money at the Raiders’ Disposal…
It’s time to put up or shut up for the Raiders. Oakland was forced to remain quiet during free agency last offseason due to ridiculous amounts of dead money. However, McKenzie goes into this offseason with the most salary cap room to work with (about $65 million), so there’s no excuse for him to not make some flashy moves when free agency kicks off. If he doesn’t make some serious progress towards upgrading this roster over the next month, McKenzie might not have a job in 2015.