Taking stock of Raiders' free agents

Taking stock of Raiders' free agents
February 7, 2012, 12:05 am
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Culling different sources and reports, it appears the Raiders have 21 contracts expiring, with 16 unrestricted free agents, two restricted free agents and three exclusive rights free agents.The NFL's franchise tag deadline date is Feb. 20, with free agency beginning March 13.A look, then, at the purported 21 contracts expiring for the Raiders

SS Tyvon Branch -- A focal point on being retained, especially with new coach Dennis Allen's defensive mindset that could make Branch more of a playmaker in the secondary.RB Michael Bush -- A likely Franchise Tag candidate, what with Darren McFadden's health an issue every season and Bush showing he can carry the load.QB Jason Campbell -- Likely gone to sign elsewhere, even if his skill set is more geared towards a West Coast offense than that of Carson Palmer.LB Quentin Groves -- He predicted he had already played his last game as a Raider, but might he be more useful with a combo of 4-3 and 3-4 packages?OL Stephon Heyer -- Valuable cog on the O-line, but can he play in the zone-blocking scheme coming down the pike?DE Jarvis Moss -- Another 'tweener' at end and linebacker who might be useful in a hybrid defense championed by Allen and new D.C. Jason Tarver.C Samson Satele -- Thought to be too small for last year's power blocking scheme, Satele actually came to Oakland to play in Tom Cable's zone-blocking scheme.WR Chaz Schilens -- Potential can only get you so far before consistent results validate it. Raiders seem set on WR corps sans Schilens.DE Trevor Scott -- Has not been his sack-happy self since blowing out a knee on special teams at Pittsburgh in 2010. Could add depth though, especially since he has played both DE and LB.S Matt Giordano -- The only member of the roster to have actually played for Allen, in New Orleans. What he lacked in speed he made up for in guile.CB Lito Sheppard -- His best days are behind him, as evidenced by the clinic San Diego's receivers gave him in the season finale.RT Khalif Barnes -- Had a better season than expected at RT and might come back if the Raiders don't think Joseph Barksdale is ready.QB Kyle Boller -- Tied too closely to Hue Jackson to bring back in a backup role.WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- See above.RB Rock Cartwright -- Two-time Commitment to Excellence Award winner is a soothing locker room presence that could help with coaching transition.LB Darryl Blackstock -- Tied too closely to former D.C. Chuck Bresnahan to bring back, though he did do work on special teams.RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
DL Desmond Bryant -- Undrafted Ivy Leaguer continues to impress, and could thrive as an end in a 3-4 variation.FB Marcel Reece -- The most dynamic fullback in the league thrived in Jackson's offense. What about in Greg Knapp's?EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
S Jerome Boyd -- Practice squad refugee had a tough season after a good camp.DL Mason Brodine -- Practice squad refugee is young and cheap and might provide depth, or head back to the practice squad.CBKR Bryan McCann -- Made more of a mark as a returner, but is expendable with a healthy Jacoby Ford.