Feb. 3, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
The Raiders have not been shy in recent years about using the franchise andor transition tags to keep free agents they like in house.So with the NFLs senior vice president and general counsel Peter Rucco telling the Boston Globe teams can use the tag starting Feb. 10 for a two-week period, speculation has begun as to on which player the Raiders should use it.Especially since it had been thought the tags could not be used, what with the collective bargaining agreement expiring March 3 and the threat of a work stoppage looming.The CBA hasnt expired, and the CBA has the right to franchise players, Rucco told the Globe, so we are telling clubs that you have the right to franchise players, and then depending on what the new agreement says, that will take into account.The Raiders have 31 contracts expiring. Fourteen of them are from players who would be unrestricted free agents with the current CBA rules in place; seven more with five years of service time; and six that would be restricted free agents.GUTIERREZ: Eyeing Oakland's free-agent merry-go-round
Last year, the Raiders slapped the franchise tag on defensive tackle Richard Seymour and he earned 12.4 million for his Pro Bowl season (he pulled out early, though, with a strained hamstring).Hes the obvious candidate to be franchised again, though he would get a 120 pay increase as a result, bumping him to 14.88 million. Or, it would be the new franchise number, whichever is higher, and Macs Football blog says Seymour would get between 14.273 million and 15.57 million from the Raiders, depending upon which franchise tag (exclusivenon-exclusive) designation they place upon him.Owner Al Davis has already expressed a reluctance to pay All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha 17 million, so would he go just under that for a defensive lineman? (Asomugha is not eligible to be tagged, as part of his contract voiding)It makes more financial sense to lock Seymour up to a longer-term deal, though he will be 32 years old next season.A very unscientific poll on Twitter found fans backing a franchising of Seymour, followed by tight end Zach Miller, running back Michael Bush and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.A look then at the purported candidates to be franchised by the Raiders, should they choose to use the tag again:Seymour: It would be quick and dirty but might actually anger tweak Seymour, who seemingly wants more security than a one-year deal. Still, hed be paid handsomely. Almost too much. Just keep in mind that Davis has no issue in overpaying for players he likes.Miller: Coming off his fourth season, hed be a restricted free agent under current rules, meaning the Raiders would have first right of refusal in contract negotiations. Hes coming off his first Pro Bowl season and has led the Raiders in receptions the past three years running. The expected franchise number for tight ends for 2011 is 7.285 million, which would be a nice raise for Miller, who made 466,760 last season.Bush: Like Miller, Bush is a fourth-year guy who has shown flashes of being an every down back and was talked about glowingly by Davis in his media conference. But does Darren McFaddens breakout season make Bush expendable, or does McFaddens injury-prone past worry the Raiders enough to keep the two together? The expected franchise number for running backs for 2011 is 9.864 million. Bush also made a relatively paltry 466,760 in 2010.Wimbley: The first-year Raiders strong-side linebacker led Oakland in sacks with nine after coming over from Cleveland in a trade. He was part of the teams overhaul at linebacker with rookie Rolando McClain in the middle and Quentin Groves and rookie Travis Goethel sharing time on the weak side. The expected franchise number for linebackers in 2011 is 10.191 million. He made 685,000 last year.What'syour take? Email Pauland let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.