The Raiders enter their bye this week and it appears there could be some roster changes in the works. Several players will be getting healthy and their roster replacements could be released in favor of other additions.
The team already released one player on Tuesday. They waived kicker Dave Rayner which means Sebastian Janikowski will be healthy enough to return in two weeks. Janikowski had hurt his hamstring last week and the team was forced to sign Rayner for one game. As it turned out, Rayner kicked the opening kickoff and that was the end of his day. The Raiders were shut out in the game so there were no field goals, extra points, or kickoffs after that.
When the team picked up Rayner, they were forced to cut Ron Parker from the team. The hope was that Parker would be available for them to re-sign once Rayner was no longer needed. Unfortunately Parker was re-signed by the Seahawks before the Raiders could bring him back.
This means the Raiders are in need of a corner. Chris Johnson is still out with a groin injury he suffered in the week three win over the Jets.
The team worked out veteran free agent corner Lito Sheppard last week which makes him the most viable candidate to be signed to fill the roster spot. Sheppard was brought in during training camp and played well but did not make the final roster.
The team could also re-sign Joe Porter who was cut last week when the team signed free agent safety Chinedum Ndukwe.
Another player who is back from injury is fullback Marcel Reece. He was replaced in the lineup by Manase Tonga who was called up from the practice squad. Reece’s return could have Tonga being cut with the hope of re-signing him to the practice squad.
There is a possibility the team could opt to keep Tonga on the roster though. He played well at times and if they cut him, another team could look to scoop him up before the Raiders can place him on the practice squad. The team isn’t desperate at any other position so they may just stand pat with two fullbacks on the roster.
Another possibility is cutting tight end Richard Gordon. He suffered a broken hand two weeks ago which means he would very likely clear waivers, at which point he would be eligible for the practice squad. The team currently has four tight ends on the team, and Gordon is the weakest receiver of the group.
If they do cut Tonga or Gordon, the most likely scenario is calling up an offensive lineman from the practice squad. They don’t have a lot of depth along the offensive line and up to this point, it has been rookie Joseph Barksdale entering the game as an injury replacement at guard. Second year lineman Bruce Campbell has yet to find a home at either guard or tackle and was inactive last week versus Kansas City.
There are currently two offensive linemen on the Raiders’ practice squad–Alex Parsons and recently signed Zach Hurd.
This bye week might also be a good time for Mark Davis, Amy Trask, and Co. to look at bringing in a General Manager. There are several candidates out there to be had. I outlined one a couple weeks ago.
If that doesn’t happen this week, it may not happen until the offseason. But bringing in a General Manager for the stretch run would be valuable to allow for that person to familiarize themselves with the team as opposed to coming in cold during the offseason and being expected to instantly make personnel and financial decisions.