I have been very critical of the Raiders acquisitions this offseasons as I always am. I go into the season with the same hopes as every other Raider fan. But any devoted fan should take a critical eye in regards to moves made by their beloved team. Especially a team that has the worst record in the NFL over the past 5 seasons.
But I am going to take a moment and look at what I consider to be the best case scenarios in regards to the moves made by the Raiders as well as what moves could mean as it relates to future trades and draft picks. Afterall, a little optimism never hurts now and then.
Raider re-sign DT Tommy Kelly to record DT contract:
Along with the big money comes a long 8 year contract which evens out the cap hit in the long run. He proves that the move from DE to DT is just what is needed for him to excel in the NFL. He has always showed potential as a DE/DT hybrid but now he will be primarily at DT and take over for the retired Warren Sapp. Sapp’s glowing endorsement is right on the money and the Raiders have locked up a great DT for many years to come. Half way through his contract, his deal looks paltry in comparison with other top flight DT in the league.
Raiders sign FA S Gibril Wilson:
He moves S Michael Huff to his natural position of free safety and therefore makes both positions better and in fact, arguably the best safety tandem in the NFL.
Raiders sign OT Kwame Harris:
Harris, a former #1 pick by the 49ers (oddly enough he was predicted by some to be drafted by the Raiders that year but the niners got him first. I guess it was destiny), is considered a bust thus far in his career so we got him for a reasonable price. He will compete at both Tackle spots to make this team and possibly start. He may not be great as a conventional tackle but the Raiders don’t need conventional tackles. If he can protect on the move in the zone blocking scheme he could be a steal for this team. And there is always room for competition and depth on the Oline.
Also remember that Lincoln Kennedy was considered a bust when the Raiders pulled him off the scrap heap and he turned out pretty damn good (I shook his hand once. I wear size large gloves and compared to his hand mine looked like that of a 9 year old girl)
Raiders sign WR Javon Walker:
He is a former pro bowler who, before his injury, was one of the top receivers in the league. In fact, in just the two games he played last season before the re-injury, he had 17 catches and over 200 yards receiving. He is technically 2 years removed from the initial injury and that is when most players return to their original form after serious (non-career threatening) injuries. This team was in desperate need of a #1 receiver and Walker certainly fits the bill. He has something to prove and he can prove it for the Raiders as well as against the team he wants revenge on almost as much as the Raiders do in the Broncos.
Raiders Re-sign OT Cornell Green:
No doubt after being cut, Green put some feelers out for some takers in the market on him and found no better options than to stay with the Raiders. So we got him for next to nothing and have the aforementioned depth and competition at the OT spot. Win, win.
Raiders sign FA WR Drew Carter:
What did this team need at receiver going into the offseason? They needed players to stretch the field. And that is exactly what Drew Carter will do. Not only that but put him opposite Javon Walker and you have two guys that can take it to the house on any play and keep the defense honest. No double teams on either guy with the threat of the other making them pay for it. AND it is just a one year deal so if he doesn’t pan out, we can just not resign him or re-sign him for less. Again; Win, win.
Raiders sign DT William Joseph:
Another former 1st rounder labeled a bust (ironically taken right after Kwame Harris in the 03 draft). He is said to be undersized and slow which doesn’t bode well for a DT but this signing was simply with the intention of adding depth at the position that this team desperately needs. Anything else we get from Joseph is gravy.
Raiders trade their 2nd round pick (#34) for CB DeAngelo Hall:
Hall is undoubtedly one of the best CB in the league. The Raiders will restructure his deal to give him top 5 CB kind of money. This means that Al Davis has made this secondary BAR NONE the best in the NFL. And it looks the best it has looked since Lester Hayes, George Atkinson, Willie Brown and Jack Tatum were roaming the field.
Optimistic crystal ball:
Raiders sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha to 6 year deal:
After the signing of DeAngelo Hall, the Raiders needed to sign Nnamdi Asomugha to a long term deal that gave him a nice signing bonus along with bringing down his cap number this year from 10 mil to around 8.5 mil plus incentives.
Raiders trade CB Fabian Washington for 2nd round pick:
The Raiders get back into the 2nd round by sending Fabian Washington to (insert team name here). Washington is a speedy corner who will fit well in the (insert team name) system but was expendable after the Raiders acquisition of DeAngelo Hall to play opposite Nnamdi Asomugha in the Raiders secondary. It was thought by many that CB Stanford Routt had surpassed Washington on the Raiders depth chart and is less expensive as well.
Raiders draft DE Chris Long with the #4 pick in the draft:
Despite many experts and fans alike thinking that either the Dolphins or the Rams were sure to take C. Long with the #1 or #2 pick, they both decided to go in a different direction and the Raiders have him fall into their lap at the #4 pick. And the next generation of Long takes it’s rightfull place on the Silver and Black.
Raiders trade the #4 pick in the draft to the the Jets for the rights to the #6 pick and the Jets 4th round pick.
Raiders trade the #4 pick to the Detroit Lions for the rights to the #15 pick and the Lions 2nd round pick.
The Raiders again have a 2nd round pick to make up for the 2nd round pick they traded to the Falcons for DeAngelo Hall.
Raiders trade the #4 pick to the Dallas Cowboys for both the the Cowboys 1st round picks and the Cowboys 2nd round pick.
This gives the Raiders 3 picks in the first two rounds of the draft to fill many holes at positions like DE, WR, OT, SLB, and DT.
Raiders trade the #4 pick to the Dallas Cowboys for both the the Cowboys 1st round picks and the Cowboys 2nd round pick. Then they package the 28th pick, the 2nd round pick and Lamont Jordan in a trade with the Detroit Lions to move up to the 15th pick.
This gives the Raiders two first round picks (#15 and #22) and many great options to fill needs.
Raiders trade RB Dominic Rhodes to (insert team name here) for a low 2nd round or high 3rd round pick.
Raiders sign DE Derrick Burgess to extension:
Burgess is in the middle of a pro bowl calibre year and gets the long awaited deal he deserves. He has helped put the Raiders in the playoff hunt as well play a big role in making the Raiders defense one of the best in the NFL at the midway point in the season.
Raiders have breakout year in making the playoffs for first time since 02-03 Superbowl run.
Seven Raiders make probowl squad: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, SS Gibril Wilson, FS Michael Huff, CB DeAngelo Hall, DE Derrick Burgess, WR Javon Walker, and P Shane Lechler.