Why Free Agents Will Want to Come Join the Raiders
Elias Trejo – Jan 9, 2017
Not too long ago Oakland was deemed the place where careers go to die. Whether you were a new draft pick or a veteran player it was likely you weren't going to play your best football in Oakland. Something about the environment there was toxic and players did everything they could to avoid it. Coaches advised players to avoid Oakland. Players advised players to avoid Oakland. Being a Raiders became just a place to go get your final paycheck.
Warren Sapp, Randy Moss, Kerry Collins, Aaron Brooks, Javon Walker, Richard Seymour, Jason Campbell, DeAngelo Hall, and Larry Brown were among some of the names that joined the Raiders and entered the "Black Hole" of their careers. If a good player came to Oakland, they were either grossly overpaid in free agency or their team was grossly overcompensated to acquire them. Fortunately, for the Raiders and their fans, times have changed and so have the results.
The Raiders have become a desintation now and it should be apparent when the 2017 free agent period begins. Oakland is no longer the place where careers go to die. Oakland has become a place where careers go to thrive and now it's become a place where you have a shot of winning a title in the next few years. Aside from the new facilities for players the Raiders have built a great culture within the organization.
These are some of the recent players who have thrived since joining the Raiders in the last three years.
In his first year with the Raiders Irvin led the league in forced fumbles and had his best year as a defender since his rookie season. Irvin benefited from being opposite of Khalil Mack and there is still plenty of room for him to improve his production. As the Raiders continue to add help along the defensive side of the ball Irvin should see his playmaking ability increase.
Irvin is the type of player that has the capability to wreck a game and he should enjoy the prime of his career in the Silver and Black. That's not something AFC West quarterbacks want to hear, but Irvin should be a star in this league.
Penn joined the Raiders when Tampa Bay felt his career was over. Penn has enjoyed a great resurgence in his career and has been one of the best left tackles in the league. He was voted to his second ever Pro Bowl and only allowed one sack all year. Unfortunately we know what that sack led too. However, there's no doubt that Penn has been a great addition for the Raiders.
Penn is one of the best pass blocking tackles in the league and he is also one of the leaders of this team. Penn is no slouch against the run either as he has helped the left side of that offensive line become one of the most dominant in the league. Unfortunately for Penn he missed the Raiders playoff game against the Texans due to injury.
For the first time in his career Osemele was named on the AP's All-Pro 1st team. Osemele was touted as one of the best signings for the Raiders this offseason. He definitely followed that up by having a monster year. His nickname "KO" had a lot more to do with how he treated opposing linemen than his initials. Running behind Penn and Osemele became something that the Raiders did often this season.
Osemele's versatility will make him an asset to Oakland over the prime of his career. He can play anywhere along the offensive line and he does it well. This year everyone noticed as he was also named to the Pro Bowl.
Since joining Oakland Crabtree has enjoyed his best two year stretch since joining the league. He's scored 17 touchdowns in two seasons with the Raiders while only scoring 26 in six years with that other team from the Bay. Some fans weren't sure how to react to the Crabtree signing, but now most everyone is glad that Crabtree is in the silver and black. His relationship with Carr on and off the field has been great for both players.
Crabtree has actually been the best wide receiver on the Raiders over the last two years. He's been consistent and seems to be a factor in every game. He gets overshadowed by fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper when it comes to Pro Bowls, but many could make the argument that Crabtree has been the best receiver on the Raiders roster.
After being cut by the Redskins Amerson was claimed by the Raiders. Since then only Marcus Peters has more passes defensed than Amerson. Amerson is an example of a player who didn't pan out with his original team that has found a way to thrive. He along with Perry Riley have done well in Oakland since being cut in Washington. Amerson earned the starting right corner spot last year and kept it all season this year.
These are some of the most recent examples of players who have come to Oakland to revive their career. This season should bring in more new players via free agency that we will see make an impact. Because of the environment that has been created it's very likely that the Raiders will see plenty of interest from players who want to win.
In 2016 and beyond the Raiders have everything a player would want. A franchise quarterback, a coach that has been in the player's shoes before, a general manager that has seen success as a player, scout and now a GM, and an owner who seems determined to get a new stadium with facilities for the players that they can be proud of.
The Oakland Raiders are no longer the Black Hole people used to know. The media, players and everyone else is taking notice and that will only lead to better things in the future. The Raiders being one of the better franchises is always a good thing for the NFL.
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