2016 will be a pivotal make-or-break year for Oakland Raiders GM McKenzie. With his career in the balance McKenzie could go all in free agency and finally let go of the purse strings. The following are five free agents that the Raiders should be pursue for a quick turnaround next season.
It’s rare that a franchise OT becomes available in free agency. So envisioning pending free agent LT Russell Okung going to the highest bidder is probably a pipe dream. However, if he does become available the Raiders need to dig deep in their pockets to lock up the position for a long time. Because of the importance of the position, Okung would the Raiders most important acquisition in some time.
The Raiders are hemorrhaging at CB. Opponents are nullifying what would be a premium pass rush by getting rid of the ball quickly but the Raiders current crop of CBs are unable to capitalize. It appears that former 13th overall draft pick, DJ Hayden is a washout. Perhaps current DC Ken Norton Jr. will see something in Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (6’02” 204lbs 40: 4.6) as his measurables are eerily similar to his former star CB Richard Sherman (6’03” 195lbs 40:4.6) in Seattle.
Another position of contention in Raider Nation has been SAM LB. Every week opponents TEs are teeing off on a defense that does not have a LB that can both set the edge on run downs and cover elite TEs in the seam. OLB Zach Brown (6’01” 244lbs 40: 4.5) is a man who statistically is a team leader in tackles and grades out well in coverage. A man of his abilities would serve Raider Nation well.
Last season it was presumed that DT Terrance Knighton (6’03” 320lbs) would follow his former DC in Denver, JDR, to Oakland. However, Team Knighton priced themselves out of the market and Knighton had to accept a one-year “prove-it” deal in Washington. This season when DT Jelly-Bean Ellis went out the Raiders were gutted on the ground. Adding Knighton would not only provide insurance for run defense but also create a solid rotation to keep the big boys fresh and mean.
The Raiders offensive line is a tale of two cities. While the left side composed of LT Penn and LG Jackson has been stellar the right side has been a work in progress. Recently, much beleaguered RT Austin Howard has been coming on but he could be helped out tremendously if the RG position wasn’t weighing the unit down. Former OT J’Marcus Webb isn’t much better at OG than he was at OT and rookie OG Feliciano has been nondescript. Adding an under the radar FA like Brooks (6’05” 336lbs 40:4.99) could take the offensive line to the next level and lock up the unit for the near future.