With plenty of salary cap space still available heading into Day 2 of 2014 NFL Free Agency, the Oakland Raiders are bringing in several top-tier players with the hopes of making some serious defensive upgrades.
One of those players is outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who was recently released by the Pittsburgh Steelers to open up $13.6 million in cap space. His figures, along with the return of Jason Worilds, made Woodley expendable.
If the 29-year-old Woodley were to sign with the Raiders, though, he’d immediately slide into a starring role in Oakland.
The only problem, though, is that he isn’t a great fit for the Raiders’ defense. Woodley has spent his entire career playing outside linebacker in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense. Oakland, however, implements a 4-3 defense, which would likely force Woodley to make the switch to defensive end in hopes of replacing Lamarr Houston. While there’s no denying that he has the talent and physical tools to make a seamless transition, the risk might not be worth the expensive price tag Woodley is sure to carry.
If the Raiders feel confident that he can make the move, though, Woodley would be an outstanding addition to the Oakland defense. Although he has struggled recently, he excels at getting to the quarterback. Health will also be a determining factor with Woodley considering he’s missed 14 games in the last three seasons.
The Raiders have proven so far during free agency that they don’t mind spending significant amounts of money – $72.5 million on two offensive tackles so far – and Woodley is seeking a big-dollar deal. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?
If the team feels confident Woodley can return to form in 2014, it’s hard not to imagine GM Reggie McKenzie pulling the trigger.