Oakland Raiders Free-Agent Tracker & Analysis

Here’s a list of Oakland Raiders that will be free agents this off-season with an explanation of their status after the 2011 season.

UFA: Unrestricted free agent; a player who has completed four or more accrued seasons and whose contract has expired.

RFA: Restricted free agent; a player who has completed three accrued seasons and whose contract has expired.

OFFENSE

Jason Campbell QB – UFA

Khalif Barnes T – UFA

Kyle Boller QB – UFA

Michael Bush RB – UFA

Rock Cartwright RB – UFA

Stephon Heyer OL – UFA

T.J. Houshmanzadeh WR – UFA

Marcel Reece FB — UFA

Samson Satele C – UFA

Chaz Schilens WR – UFA

DEFENSE

Darryl Blackstock LB – UFA

Desmond Bryant DL – RFA

Tyvon Branch SS – UFA

Matt Giordano – UFA

Quentin Groves LB – UFA

Jarvis Moss DE – UFA

Trevor Scott DE – UFA

Lito Sheppard – UFA

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jon Condo LS – UFA

Bryan McCann – UFA

OFFENSE ANALYSIS

Undoubtedly, Campbell would like to be a starter and probably feels like he can lead a team. But those chances went down the drain in Oakland when he got injured and Carson Palmer was acquired. The problem for Campbell is that there may not be many jobs for him available. Very few teams are starving for a starter. Miami may be happy with Matt Moore, or they could passer in the draft, Cleveland is going with Colt McCoy, the Chiefs may be in the market for a new face, a return to the Redskins won’t be an option and Seattle, who may look for a quarterback, may look at Vince Young, Matt Flynn or Kyle Orton. A back-up role is his destiny, but where? In Oakland where Jackson showed confidence in him prior to his injury, or elsewhere where he could sneak up on a passer that may be on shaky ground?

Keeping Bush will be imperative. Spending big bucks on running backs isn’t the norm in the NFL, but the former 4th round pick has little wear and tear on his body, is young and versatile enough to add some pop to any club lacking a ground attack. Oakland would have been in serious trouble if not for Bush’s presence. With questions surrounding Darren McFadden’s durability, the Raiders need to keep this tandem together. A franchise tag for Bush could be an option, especially if they fear he will depart to another club that could front-load a contract for his services.

Reece is a multi-dimensional weapon, out of the backfield or split out wide as a receiver. He is a match-up nightmare that Jackson cannot afford to lose.

Barnes was the weak-link on a very good offensive line this past season. But keeping cohesion in this group will be key. He’ll come cheap, so unless the Raiders are looking for a major upgrade, there’s no way he goes anywhere. Heyer was a serviceable back up, so unless someone showers him with a big contract or a starting role, which is unlikely, Oakland could retain his services. Satele was tough, played injured and gained the respect of Jackson throughout the campaign. That may be enough for him to be retained and keep the powerful left side in tact.

Boller will move on, especially if Campbell is retained. Terrelle Pryor will be third on the depth chart until further notice.

Houshmanzadeh or Schilens will move on. One has the full support of Palmer; the other is young and has a history of injuries, which will dampen interest league wide. If Hue Jackson thinks Houshmanzadeh has anything left in the tank, he’ll be retained.

SPECIAL TEAMS ANALYSIS

Jon Condo will be retained and paid well. Oakland tends to compensate their specialists and breaking up the dynamic kicking and long-snapping trio wouldn’t make sense. Cartwright is a emotional leader and a special teams ace. How much will they value that, especially with Hiram Eugene coming back in 2012?

DEFENSE ANALYSIS

Branch may draw enough interest league wide which could land him a contract big enough that would force Oakland to let him walk. He has youth on his side and is very versatile. The former 4th round pick could be enticed away by a team in need of starting strong safety.

Chuck Bresnahan was a major reason why Blackstock was brought in. Good on special teams and there for depth, we’ll see if his fate is tied together with Bresnahan’s.

Groves has already mentioned the possibility of him playing elsewhere. Aaron Curry took his job and at this point, Oakland sees him as a one-way player on special teams. With Matt Shaughnessy’s return, it’s unlikely that Jarvis Moss returns, especially if they opt for other choices at end. They’ll likely pick between Moss and Trevor Scott. Scott is more versatile, but the injury he sustained in 2010 made him a non-factor in 2011. A change in defensive alignment could also sway which one stays.

Bryant has developed into a serviceable lineman in a rotation. Some team may be intrigued by his abilities, and if he gets a decent offer, the defender will depart.

Sheppard was picked up mid-season and will not be welcomed back. Especially with Michael Huff moving to cornerback and other youthful options at defensive back.


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