Now that the Raiders’ cap situation is looking a little better, here are some guys I think Oakland should look at when free agency opens. There won’t be much cap space to work with, but, with no other free agents, the team has to lock up for big money, they can spend any extra money on the following players.
Justin Forsett, RB
I fully expect Michael Bush to leave Oakland for a starting gig. While I think he’d make a better change of pace back, he filled in serviceably enough for teams to think he’s the second coming of Michael Turner as a feature back. If that’s the case, we’re going to be looking for a running back to take carries from Darren McFadden. Forsett is a talented back who’s not great at any one thing but is good at most facets of the game. He’s been stuck behind Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington, so his legs are fresh. McFadden is an All-Pro talent with major injury concerns, so it’s important to have a pro waiting in the wings. He would come on the cheap, too, likely garnering the veteran’s minimum.
Chris Myers, C
Myers would be a big haul for the Raiders. There are one to two holes in the middle of the offensive line, and Myers would fill one of these more than adequately. He’s familiar with Greg Knapp’s zone blocking system, and was a key part of Arian Foster’s success the past two years. He would allow Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski to gel next to each other, while offering a veteran presence on an otherwise young offensive line. Myers is a ZBS guy only, which should keep his cost reasonable. The Raiders could easily clear enough salary cap to sign him to a 3-4 year deal worth $3-4 million per.
James Farrior, ILB
Farrior may be 37, but he’s still a productive NFL starter. With the Raiders likely switching to a 3-4 defense, his years of experience would really help out a young linebacker core. Even if he’s only playing two downs, he’ll offer support against the run and a veteran locker room presence for a low price.
Tracy Porter, CB
Stanford Routt was released and Lito Sheppard is awful. These are the two starting cornerbacks for a 29th ranked pass defense. The Raiders need talent in the secondary; Chris Johnson is aging and not worth his contract, while Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke are unproven and still learning the position. Porter could be had at the cheap if he clears the first round of free agency unsigned. He has experience with Dennis Allen, and played for a winner in New Orleans.
Marcus Trufant, CB
Trufant is another secondary option for Oakland. This former pro-bowler has not been himself in recent years, due to injury and aging. But he’s a definite upgrade from Lito Sheppard or Chris Johnson. What’s more, he’d come at a very reasonable price, and his size and ball skills translate well to Dennis Allen’s zone-based scheme.