Top 10 Signings the Oakland Raiders Should Make in Free Agency
Elias Trejo – Feb 12, 2014
The Raiders are heading into the free agency period with the most money to spend in the league. You are hearing that a lot, but what does that really mean? How many players can they get and how would each player affect the cap space if they are signed? Can the Raiders keep their own free agents and still sign impact players in free agency? Here are the 10 players I would sign if I were Reggie McKenzie.
Michael Johnson - Contract Range $9M-$12M per year
Possible Contract Numbers: 4 year $44M contract. $20M guaranteed $12M signing bonus
Cap hit in 2014: $6M in base salary, $3M signing bonus proration = $9M cap hit
Alex Mack - Contract Range $4M-$6M per year
Possible Contract Numbers: 5 year $30M contract. $15M guaranteed, $10M signing bonus
Cap hit in 2014: $2M base salary, $2M signing bonus proration = $4M cap hit
BJ Raji - Contract Range $9M-$12M per year
Possible Contract Numbers: 5 year $50M contract. $25M guaranteed $15M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: $5M base salary, $3M signing bonus proration = $8M cap hit
Michael Vick - Contract Range $4M-$6M
Possible Contract Numbers: 2 year $12M contract , $4M signing Bonus
Cap hit 2014: $5M base, $2M signing bonus proration: $7M Cap hit
This is the path I would go when targeting new players for Oakland. The Raiders spent the last two years shopping in the bargain section of free agency. This year Oakland will have to spend money. I think targeting Johnson and Raji would help solidify the defensive line when you put them with Lamarr Houston and Pat Sims. I like the idea of going after Mack as well. Stefen Wisniewski is a solid center, but can also be a very good guard because of his versatility. Signing Mack would allow the Raiders to shuffle their offensive line and put five very solid players to help protect their quarterback in 2014.
That takes me to Vick. When I mention his name on Twitter I get a bag of mixed reactions. A lot of people don't want to sign Vick, but I think it would be smart for the Raiders to pick him up. In my opinion, he is the best free agent quarterback availablle and that has to be one of the top three areas of focus for the Raiders. Signing him before the draft will make sure the Raiders have four quarterbacks on the roster to compete for the starting job during training camp. If they draft a quarterback, that will give them five players to compete for the three quarterback spots on the roster. Competition is never a bad thing. I believe Vick would sign for less money if he was given an opportunity to start. He would have that with the Raiders, even if they drafted a rookie quarterback.
In a division that has three solid quarterbacks, I think it's important to come to a gun fight with a weapon that has shown ability to start and win games in the NFL. Vick has done that. Now, on to the resigning.
Lamar Houston - Contract Range $8M-$10M per year
Possible Contract Numbers - 4 year $36M, $20M guaranteed $10M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: Base Salary $4M, $2.5M signing bonus proration = $6.5M cap hit
Jared Veldheer - Contract Range - $5M-$7M per year
Possible Contract Numbers - 5 year $30M, $18M guaranteed, $10M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: $2M base salary, $2M signing bonus proration = $4M cap hit
Patt Sims - contract range $2M-$4M
Possible Contract Numbers: 3 year $9M contract, $4M guaranteed $3M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: Base $1M, $1M signing bonus proration = $2M cap hit
Charles Woodson - Contract Range $1M-$3M
Possible Contract Numbers - 1 year $1.8M contract $1.7M guaranteed $700,000 signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: $1M Base $700,000 signing bonus = $1.7M cap hit
Tracy Porter - Contract Range - $2M-$4M per year
Possible Contract Numbers: 3 year $9M per year $5M guaranteed $3M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: $1M base, $1M signing bonus proration = $2M cap hit
Mike Jenkins - Contract Range $2M-$4M per year
Possible Contract Numbers - 2 year $6M $3M guaranteed $1M signing bonus
Cap hit 2014: $2M base, $500,000 signing bonus proration = $2.5M cap hit
If I'm making a list of six players I want to resign, I would choose these guys. Yes, there are other players who played better and are free agents, but I believe these guys should be locked up first. The others will most likely be overpaid, and these are guys the Raiders would benefit from keeping.
Let's start with my top three guys. Houston and Veldheer need to be the top two priorities for the Raiders, but Sims is another guy who needs to be signed. You have to be able to win in the trenches, and keeping our best guys in the trenches is a must.
If the Raiders can sure up the defensive line, Oakland's secondary will have a much easier time. Keeping Porter, Jenkins and Woodson would help the Raiders have continuity on defense and that is something they haven't had the last few years. The Raiders biggest problem is the lack of pass rush on defense. If they can fix that, Oakland will be much more competitive in 2014.
You may not agree with all of my moves, but I left you with about $17M to use on the draft and other signings. The draft should cost the Raiders just under $10M in cap space, so you can use the other $8M to sign others. Who would you want to add or remove from this list?
For more Raiders news and opinions follow me on Twitter: @Elias_Trejo
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