Raiders' needs in free agency


Raiders' needs in free agency

The NFL's free-agent frenzy has begun and the Raiders, as expected, have been silent early on.It's as much about new general manager Reggie McKenzie's wait-and-see mantra as it is the Raiders' fiscal responsibility. But that does not take away the Raiders' needs in the free-agent market. A look, then, at the five most pressing positional needs the Raiders can address in free agency
Cornerback: Having cut both Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, and having lost Nnamdi Asomugha to free agency last summer, the Raiders are without any of their starting corners from the previous two seasons. And the only two pure cornerbacks on the roster are rising second-year players Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke. The Raiders need a veteran at CB. Might the Raiders make a run at Tracy Porter, who played for Dennis Allen in New Orleans?Linebacker: Retaining Aaron Curry was key but it appears as though the Raiders are about to change the locks on Kamerion Wimbley unless, of course, he agrees to a paycut. Sans Wimbley, Oakland only has Curry, Rolando McClain and Travis Goethel under contract as linebackers. Whether the Raiders stay in a 4-3 defense or opt for the 3-4 would determine where they look. E.J. Henderson seems a fit. London Fletcher would offer leadership and a role model for McClain.Backup quarterback: This is Carson Palmer's team, Jason Campbell is reportedly in conversations with Chicago, Kyle Boller's time has run its course and Terrelle Pryor does not seem ready. So where do the Raiders turn for a competent backup? How about a guy the Raiders passed on in 2006, a guy who once backed up and succeeded Palmer with aplomb in college? New offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is familiar with Matt Leinart, so he's got that going for him, which is nice.Running back: In a perfect Silver and Black world, Michael Bush returns to back up the perpetually injured Darren McFadden. But Bush, who was visiting Arizona on Tuesday, is most likely gone. And the slight but speedy Taiwan Jones is not ready. The Raiders need depth, but also need to feel comfortable enough in a backup to ride him as an everydown back ifwhen McFadden goes down. Cedric Benson, anyone?Defensive lineman: Yes, so much depends upon what the Raiders do scheme-wise -- if they do use a lot of 3-4, they need a solid nose tackle. John Henderson is purportedly on the chopping block and he might have too much tread to be an everydown NT. Plus, Oakland would need a pass-rushing end should it part ways with Wimbley, who does just that in passing downs. Aubrayo Franklin would be an enviable, albeit expensive solution.

Oakland stadium authority director doesn't want Raiders in 2019

Oakland stadium authority director doesn't want Raiders in 2019

PHOENIX – The Raiders hope to play the next three years in the Bay Area before moving to Las Vegas. They were approved to relocate on Monday at the NFL owners meetings, but can’t leave right away because Las Vegas doesn’t have a suitable temporary NFL venue.

The Raiders have team options on one-year leases to play at Oakland Coliseum during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and are expected to do exactly that. Owner Mark Davis said he’s open to negotiating a lease to play the 2019 season there as well before moving into new Vegas digs in 2020.

The Oakland Coliseum authority may not grant that request.

"I would say to you with the highest level of confidence, my opinion and recommendation and that of my board members, I don’t believe there is any appetite for a third season (in Oakland),” director of the Oakland Coliseum joint powers authority Scott McKibben told USA Today.

McKibben said hosting a Raiders game is a financial loss for the JPA.

If the Raiders can’t reach an agreement to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2019, they have other options in the Bay Area, though none is ideal. They could play at Cal’s Memorial Stadium or use Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as a last resort in the Bay Area, sources told CSN California reporter Scott Bair.

They could renovate UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium – locker room and security upgrades are mandatory – though the Raiders would prefer to avoid that route.

Raiders HC Jack Del Rio believes he could help Aldon Smith

Raiders HC Jack Del Rio believes he could help Aldon Smith

PHOENIX – Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith has been banished from the NFL for over 16 months now as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t ruled on Smith’s reinstatement application and it’s hard to imagine movement coming soon on that front after a pair of recent run-ins with the law.

He was reportedly involved in a domestic incident and was questioned by San Francisco police last month. Then he was a passenger in a vehicle that hit an unmarked police car on March 10, an incident where the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Smith seemed out of sorts when interviewed by media after emerging from a San Francisco police station.

Smith’s banishment states he can’t have contact with Raiders personnel outside the director of player engagement, a stipulation head coach Jack Del Rio has criticized in the past.

He did so again Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings, saying it’s unfortunate the organization can’t support Smith during difficult times.

“It’s a little bit frustrating to not be able to be a part of the process,” Del Rio said. “My feel is that I could help him, but the experts know. The experts don’t allow that. We have to follow the rules.

“It does get frustrating to not be able to help a young man and provide support and provide structure. Somebody else has to make those decisions. It’s just out of my hands.”

The Raiders can’t petition for greater involvement, and are therefore in a wait-and-see mode regarding their troubled, yet talented player.

“He has to get himself together,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “(Smith’s status) is totally on the league office. They know more than what we know.”