Oakland Raiders Free Agency Recap
New GM Reggie McKenzie reportedly considered letting go of QB Carson Palmer and attempting to resign the much cheaper Jason Campbell, but was dissuaded by others in the Raiders organization. So, Palmer will remain the started headed into 2012. Terrell Pryor, selected in the 3rd round of the supplemental draft last offseason, will also remain on the roster and will battle free agent pickup Vince Young for the job. Young signed a low end deal with no guaranteed money, so it's possible that he may be released if he loses the battle for the backup job in training camp.
Most notably, the Raiders traded oft-injured but talented RB Darren McFadden to the division rival Denver Broncos for a first round pick. Al Davis may not have approved of the move, but this was a clear sign that this is McKenzie's team now. The move picked up a first round pick for the Raiders who were lacking their own as a result of the Carson Palmer trade. After the trade, the Raiders resigned their own free agent in RB Michael Bush. Bush is a big bruising back who will be the primary ball carrier to pair with lightning quick 2nd year player Taiwan Jones. The Raiders weren't done however and also picked up shifty 3rd down back Mewelde Moore, formerly of the Steelers. Moore would be the best pass catching and pass blocking back on the roster and will likely see duty in passing situations. Fullbacks Marcel Reese and Manase Tonga remain on the roster as well.
This is a position of immense talent and youth for the Raiders. There is plenty of speed to be had between DHB, Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore and Louis Murphy. Derrick Jones rounds out the group as a 5th WR. The team did not make any additions or subtractions here.
The well rounded Kevin Boss remains the clear starter at the position, backed up by Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, and Richard Gordon. The team did not make any signings or releases here either.
The team made resigning center Samson Satele one its top priorities and he returns to the team in that position. That keeps the left 3/5 of the line stable with Jared Veldheer at LT and Stefan Wisniewski at LG. Incumbent RG Cooper Carlisle will battle with athletic youngster Bruce Campbell and the recently signed veteran Jacob Bell for the starting RG spot. Joseph Barksdale remains the starter for now at RT while the team brought in veteran Guy Whimper from the Jaguars as a backup swing tackle option.
This remains an area of need for the Raiders, as Matt Shaughessy was the only true 4-3 DE already on on the roster. Lamarr Houston would be best served moving inside to DT. The team did add former Buc William Hayes for depth at the position.
As previously stated, the team would like to move Lamarr Houston into the DT spot to rotate with Richard Seymour and Tommie Kelly. Desmond Bryant is another backup already on the roster. The team also added former Bengal Jonathan Fanene and Marcus Thomas, who played under new head coach Dennis Allen in Denver. They will provide depth to the position as well.
Despite his hefty prince tag, LB Aaron Curry has remained on the roster and figures to start on the weakside. Rolando McClain remains at MLB for now, though his legal issues may become a problem down the line. The team signed former Bronco Joe Mays as a backup at the MLB position just in case. Mays played under Allen in Denver and is familiar with the scheme. Kamerion Wimbley remains the starter at the SAM position. The team also brought in former Buc Geno Hayes who has a good deal of starting experience. He can backup any of the positions in a pinch.
With the release of Stanford Routt early in the offseason, the Raiders were left with very little at the position. Youngsters DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa and Bryan McCann return to the roster, as do new additions Shawntae Spencer and Kelly Jennings, two experienced veterans. The best corner currently on the roster is likely Jason Allen, who had a career year in Houston last season. There figures to be a wide open competition during training camp between these players to determine the final pecking order.
Tyvon Branch was allowed to walk and eventually signed with the Redskins. That leaves Michael Huff the starter at FS and Marvin Mitchell at SS with Jerome Boyd in a backup role. The team also added former Raven Haruki Nakamura to bolster the position. He may challenge Mitchell for the starting SS job.
Seabass and Lechler. Nuff said. Plus speedzzzz at WR to return kicks and punts.