NFL Free Agency: Dark Horses

Neither too high of odds to be a long shot nor small enough to be the logical candidates, these players have the potential to land in Silver and Black. They might not be the Raiders first options, but they still have a chance of playing in Oakland. Depending on how the market pans out, why not bet on these guys signing with the Raiders?

1. Torrey Smith – Receiver

If the Raiders miss on Maclin and Cobb, Smith would be the next best target. Even if he fits the Raiders’ old philosophy of chucking the ball deep, Smith has proven he can be a number one receiver. Raiders should feel comfortable giving him big bucks if he is available.

2. Brandon Graham- Edge

Raiders could do worse than an under 30 pass rusher. He’s never had more than six sacks in a season but he has some versatility. Raiders won’t pay him big money but if they miss on other edges, Graham could be a last option.

3. Mike Lupati- Guard

Lupati is big and knows how to open running lanes. Having played his whole career on the otherside of the bay makes it a convenient move for Lupati. The Raiders’ need offensive line help, and Lupati is still 27. Oakland may still look for help at interior linemen in the draft, but having Lupati means they won’t have to draft a guard.

4. Antonio Cromartie- Cornerback

The past few times Cromartie has hit the open market the Raiders have been interested. Eventhough he is not the same athlete as he was early in his career, he knows how to be a starting cornerback. Cromartie probably goes to the Jets but the Raiders should try to get the veteran in Oakland. The Raiders need players who can create takeaways.

5. Rahim Moore- Safety

Moore led the Broncos in interceptions when Del Rio was the coordinator in Denver. Still don’t think Moore is the answer for the Raiders as they need someone more capable of playing in the box.

Not For Long Raiders….

To most the NFL stands for National Football League, but to many others it stands for Not For Long. My oh My, what a difference a few weeks makes in the NFL.

A few weeks ago the Raiders were a young team aspiring for the Playoffs.

There hopes were centered around an explosive, Athletic Quarterback named Terrelle Pryor, a pro-bowl RB named Darren Mcfadden, and a breakout WR named Denarious Moore.

Fast forward a few weeks and the Raiders Playoff hopes are microscopic enough to rival Jamarcus Russell’s comeback hopes.

Not only has QB Terrelle Pryor gotten hurt, but he was superseded and outplayed by an undrafted rookie named Matt McGloin.

McFadden has been hurt all season, and veteran Rashaad Jennings has many people wondering if McFadden’s days in Silver and Black are numbered.  Moore has been the same inconsistent and banged up player fans have become accustomed to, but Andre Holmes has stolen much of his spotlight.

As a Raider Fan, it is hard to not see such talented players not succeeding for the Raiders. As fans, every week we tell ourselves this is the week that McFadden, Reece, or Pryor will get it.

While there have been glimpses, this is a league based on results.  They haven’t gotten it done, and the team is suffering.

In Contrast, as an organization, the team is happy with the success of McGloin, Jennings, and Holmes.

This is an example of the ‘next man up’ culture of competition that Reggie Mckenzie has wanted to established.

In context, we can apply the old cliche. If you have two than you really don’t have one, and for the Raiders that is the case at WR, RB, and QB.  Therefore, the team may be competitive, it may be on the rise, but talent is still lacking. Maybe the team isn’t the last place team ESPN analyst’s initially

thought they were, but they aren’t the Playoff team fans hoped for either.

In a recent interview, Coach Dennis Allen talked about this team being different

than last year’s. Allen said he doesn’t expect this team to quit on the season

or lose commitment.  Part of that is probably because much of the team has one year remaining on their contracts, and everyone is playing for contract somewhere.

The truth is, Allen can not afford to have this team quit on him. Allen may have all the potential in the world, but this is a league of results. Just ask McFadden.  Owner Marc Davis wants progress andfailing to win a few of the remaining games will result in Allen leading the unemployment line.

If McKenzie wants a culture of accountability it starts at the Head Coach, runs through the Quarterback, Runningback, and Wide Receivers. I just worry, the Raiders might get derailed if they have to replace all four. Regardless, no ones job on this team is safe, and these last four games will determine the faces of the franchise team going forward.

Either way, The Raiders have 70 million in cap room next season. Brighter days are finally on the horizons of this team, but these last four games will determine who is apart of it.  If this Raiders team is really different than the last 10 other losing teams, they are certainly running out of time to show it.