OAKLAND RAIDERS FREE AGENCY UPDATE – APRIL 18, 2017
The Oakland Raiders released DT Dan Williams after two seasons. Williams had a good 2015 campaign but his play trailed off significantly in 2016 to the point where he was on the field for less than 1/3 of the team’s defensive snaps. That leaves only three DTs currently on the roster: Justin Ellis, Darius Latham, and hybrid DE/DT Jihad Ward. The chances of Williams resigning with the Raiders at a cap friendly salary are slim to none. Does that mean a big FA signing is on the horizon? No. This was all about fit, performance, and salary. It does, however, put pressure on the team to land a DT in the first round of the 2017 draft.
DAN WILLIAMS – DT – RELEASED
LATAVIUS MURRAY – RB – VIKINGS
STACY MCGEE – DT – REDSKINS
MALCOM SMITH – LB – 49ERS
MENELIK WATSON – RT – BRONCOS
NATE ALLEN – SS – DOLPHINS
DJ HAYDEN – CB – LIONS
DAREN BATES – ST – TITANS
EJ MANUEL – QB – BILLS
JELANI JENKINS – WR – VIKINGS
MARSHALL NEWHOUSE – RT – GIANTS
CORDARELLE PATTERSON – WR – VIKINGS
JARED COOK – TE – PACKERS
OAKLAND RAIDERS FREE AGENCY UPDATE
RB Latavius Murray was allowed to leave for the Minnesota Vikings for roughly $5M per year on a three year contract. $3.4M is guaranteed upfront as is the final year salary of $5.3M. This was not a prohibitive contract for the Raiders to match so Murray’s leaving has more to do with a change of direction by the Oakland Raiders. They are not going to be an “establish the run…pound the ball to open up the pass” team once talked about by Head Coach Jack Del Rio. Rather, they’re offense is going to be more “attack, attack, attack”. That makes the singing of Vikings WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson more understandable since CP was adamant he wants playing time on the offensive side of the ball.
To close this out, we need to comment on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and former Seahawk RB Marshawn Lynch. Neither will be coming to Oakland. Peterson has a history of domestic violence and Owner Mark Davis would never approve him being on the Raider payroll. A lot of people want the Lynch thing to happen but we’re still not convinced it will. There was a lot of talk about a trade nearly taking place last year but according to the people we know, “to say a trade almost took place is a gross exaggeration”. We think there’s some overhyping this year as well.
DT Stacy McGee went to Washington for a speculated $4.3M per year. Oakland, which desperately needs an interior lineman who can generate a pass rush, apparently feels that McGee, who had a decent 2016 campaign, is better suited as a rotational player and thus $4.3M was too high a price. That may be the case but it really puts the Oakland Raiders in a bind. Chiefs NT Dontari Poe and Giants DT Johnathan Hankins are still available but neither is a good fit. Poe is an unmovable force but will command a stratospheric salary. Hankins is stellar at stopping the run but lacks the pass rushing pedigree the Raiders are aiming for. That leaves the draft. And they have to hit a home run.
It’s no surprise LB Malcom Smith signed with another team, going to the 49ers on a five year deal worth about 26 million with $13M guaranteed. Smith was the Raiders leading tackler the past two years but was inconsistent in pass coverage, often having trouble covering TEs and backs in the flat. With Smith gone, the Raiders are sure to resign LB Perry Riley. They could also go after Bills LB Zach Brown.
RT Menelik Watson went to Denver after signing a three year, eighteen million dollar contract. Full details were not disclosed but on the surface that’s an awful lot for a RT that has yet to fully prove himself. Losing Watson is a big deal but $6M per year is a little steep. And that explains the Raiders signing Giants RT Marshall Newhouse who is, by and large, a high quality backup. The 7 year player signed a two deal at just under $4M.
CB DJ Hayden leaving Oakland is neither a surprise nor a meaningful loss. We hoped he would stick around but $3M a year was too much for Oakland to consider. Hopefully a change of scenery will do him well. Daren Bates has left for Tennessee in hopes of getting more playing time.