The CBA talks have heated up of late and we now near the original unofficial deal deadline of July 15. Even with the new deadline of the 21st, it is looking like a new CBA will be reached soon. This means that free agency will be right around the corner. And therefore it is now time to start thinking about who would be the most likely free agent players to join the Raiders.
Let me preface this list by saying, the most important free agents the Raiders need to sign are their own. That means Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha first and foremost. It is still not certain whether Michael Bush will be a free agent or not but if he does hit the market, he is a must re-sign as well.
UPDATE: Nnamdi Asomugha has signed a 5 year, $60 million deal with the Eagles. Michael Bush is a restricted free agent and will be back with the Raiders.
Regardless of whether the Raiders are able to re-sign all of their free agents-to-be, they will still have an eye toward bringing in some veteran talent to strengthen some of their weaker positions.
Here are a few players that are most likely to bring into the fold.
Trent Edwards, QB, Jaguars
Jason Campbell is entrenched as the starter. That much we know. After that, it looks like Kyle Boller will be back as well. Boller had very limited game time last season and looked terrible. Edwards was a starter in Buffalo and had some marginal success. He also attended Stanford and would likely welcome a job back in the Bay Area with the Raiders.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
The Raider receiving corps is in much need of a veteran influence and has been for quite some time now. Santana (I won’t call him Moss), is approaching the twilight of his career and would probably come pretty cheap even though he had 1115 yards receiving last year. Joining the Raiders would also re-unite him with Jason Campbell with whom he had some pretty good seasons. In 2008, Santana had over 1000 yards receiving and nearly half of Campbell’s 13 touchdown passes went to him (6). This just makes too much sense.
RE-SIGNED with Redskins
James Jones, WR, Packers
Jones has never been a spectacular receiver, he has just been solid. He wouldn’t be a big free agent find but he would add some more stability to the receiving unit. He would also bring with him the experience of playing on the Super Bowl champion Packers squad. He had his best season in the NFL last year when he caught 50 passes for 679 yards. And he continued it into the playoffs where he had 11 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns with five of those catches coming in the Super Bowl. The Raiders are very likely on his short list of teams he would like to play for as he was born and raised in San Jose and went to San Jose State.
JETS are reportedly interested in signing Jones
Vonta Leach, FB, Texans
Arguably the best fullback on the market right now. He blocked for Arian Foster as Foster was the NFL’s leading rusher last season. The Raiders went into last season with just one fullback on the roster—Marcel Reece. The Raiders typically have two fullbacks on the roster. Reece is the receiving threat and Leach would add that power blocker they have lacked.
RAIDERS signed UDFA FB James McCluskey and are not said to be in the mix to sign Leach.
Bo Scaife, TE, Titans
The Raiders drafted two players who will compete at tight end this season behind starter Zach Miller. That is of course, if Miller is re-signs. One of the tight ends the Raiders drafted is a blocking tight end and the other is a converted wide receiver who is a project. That means the Raiders must bring in a veteran to compete for the primary backup spot with Brandon Myers. Scaife is a starting caliber tight end and would be a reliable set of hands across from Zach Miller in two tight end sets. A dynamic the Raiders have not had in quite some time.
Justin Blalock, OG, Falcons
The Raiders are in a state of uncertainty at the guard position. Blalock was in a constant state of uncertainty with the Falcons as well. He played right tackle in college and was put at left guard in the pros. He is an imposing 6-4, 340 pounds and is a power blocking specialist. He caught a lot of the blame for the woes of the Falcons’ offensive line even though his line mate Sam Baker was rarely healthy and the line has been in constant flux since his arrival. He could be moved back to the right side either at guard or tackle for the Raiders. Two positions they could use an infusion of veteran competition.
Derrick Dockery, OG, Redskins
At one time Dockery had started 111 straight games at guard for the Redskins dating back to his 2003 rookie season. But when new coach Mike Shanahan came to town and brought his zone blocking scheme with him, Dockery was no longer seen as a fit and the Redskins released him this offseason. Lucky for the Raiders, they no longer run the zone blocking scheme and now there is a solid veteran guard like Dockery available. Jason Campbell will no doubt have some input as to what kind of teammate Dockery is.
Sean Locklear, OT, Seattle Seahawks
Locklear was a longtime starter in Seattle and is considered to be one of the better NFL pass blockers. Where he tends to catch the most criticism is in his run blocking. He is a right tackle by trade but in 2009 the Seahawks tried him at left tackle. He struggled to make the transition and was back at right tackle last season, but was oft injured and couldn’t regain his previous form. He was once considered as being an ideal zone blocker but his injuries have taken their toll on his athleticism. He is 6-4, 310 so he has the size to play in a power blocking scheme. The Seahawks have brought in zone blocking guru Tom Cable as their line coach and they are moving on from Locklear. Which is probably for the best because a change in scheme could be just what he needs to revive his career. The Raiders could show interest in bringing in Locklear as either a possible starter at right tackle or as the backup to Jared Veldheer at left tackle.
RAIDERS agree to terms with OT Jared Gaither. They will likely not sign any more free agent offensive tackles.