The Raiders’ exclusive negotiating window for many of last year’s contributors has come to a close. A baker’s dozen will become unrestricted free agents on Thursday afternoon and, as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, can start taking calls from other teams.
There are four starters and several key contributors in the group, including running back Latavius Murray, linebackers Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley and cornerback DJ Hayden.
Several of those players (a complete list can be found below) won’t be brought back. All will hit the open market, a common practice for the Raiders and their unrestricted free agents. The open markets can set a value for their players that the Raiders can meet or reject. If it’s lower than the Silver and Black’s initial valuation, then a bargain can be had.
The Raiders have most key contributors under contract, and could look for upgrades over guys with expiring contracts.
Murray’s the biggest name in the group. A Pro Bowler two seasons ago, Murray scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per carry as part of a rushing rotation with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
The Raiders allowed him to reach the open market, though they haven’t eliminated a possible return. Left tackle Donald Penn went through a similar experience last season. He took some visits, but ended up staying with the Raiders.
Murray should have interest from several teams, but he’s one of several veteran running backs set for the market. Time will tell if it’s a bull or a bear. The latter might help bring Murray back, which would please many in the Raiders locker room including quarterback Derek Carr.
It’s possible another team will offer a better deal to a rusher who might have one big chance at free agency. The Raiders might try to find a veteran like Adrian Peterson or Eddie Lacy, or mine talent in the NFL draft.
Head coach Jack Del Rio was clear to say Murray isn’t being discarded.
“That’s a fluid situation. We’re not closing the door on anybody,” Del Rio said last week. “:There are a lot of players on our roster (heading for free agency). We’d love to have them all back. It doesn’t always work that way. We’ll work through it the best we can and try to remain in contact with all of our players and retain those we can. I wouldn’t close the door prematurely on anybody.”
The Raiders are expected to tender restricted free agent defensive lineman Denico Autry and most of their exclusive rights free agents.
Here’s a complete list of Raiders free agents:
UNSIGNED FREE AGENTS
-- LB Malcolm Smith
-- S Nate Allen
-- CB DJ Hayden
-- QB Matt McGloin
-- WR Andre Holmes
-- OT Menelik Watson
-- LB Perry Riley
-- LS Jon Condo
-- LB Daren Bates
-- S Brynden Trawick
-- RB Latavius Murray
-- TE Mychal Rivera
-- DT Stacy McGee
-- DL Denico Autry
-- WR Seth Roberts
-- TE Gabe Holmes
-- OL Denver Kirkland
-- S SaQwan Edwards