A quick Raiders free agency primer

A quick Raiders free agency primer
March 11, 2014, 6:45 am
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Some of the Raiders biggest needs include offensive tackle, defensive end and quarterback. (USATSI)

Programming note: NFL free agency begins today at 1 p.m. Watch SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the latest football news.

General manager Reggie McKenzie reminded us back in January that the Raiders have needs. “With an ‘S,’” he said.

Free agency is one method to fill vacancies and upgrade this roster. The Raiders can do so beginning Tuesday at 1 p.m.

[REWIND: Raiders have needs with an 'S']

A word of caution Raider Nation: Despite serious salary cap space, the Raiders aren’t going to break the bank on top-tier free agents. They will fill in blanks where veteran leadership is needed, especially at offensive tackle, defensive end and quarterback.

The Raiders will still be a team that builds through the draft, but a free agency supplement will be greater because the Raiders have to flesh out a skeleton of a depth chart and upgrade some areas quickly.

McKenzie will make moves popular and unwelcome in coming days and months as he tries to improve the club while staying right with the salary cap. Sensible spending -- and an excellent draft in May -- will be key to building a foundation of success.

[RELATED: 2014 NFL Draft page]

Here’s a quick Raiders primer heading into the beginning of free agency:

Salary Cap space: $55.763 million*

*League-high total listed by NFL on Tuesday morning. Recent totals decreased to include bonuses paid. 

Team needs
Offense: QB, RB, WR, OT, G
Defense: DE, DT, FS, CB

Raiders unrestricted free agents:

RB Rashad Jennings
RB Darren McFadden
WR Jacoby Ford
TE Jeron Mastrud
OT Tony Pashos
OT Jared Veldheer
G/C Andre Gurode
DE Lamarr Houston
DE Jason Hunter
DT Daniel Muir
DT Pat Sims
DT Vance Walker
CB Phillip Adams
CB Mike Jenkins
CB Tracy Porter
S Charles Woodson
S Usama Young