Position outlook: Offensive guard

One story in a series a position outlook for the Oakland Raiders. Today, here's a look at offensive guards:

Looking back: This position typified the Oakland Raiders season as much as anything in terms of injuries. Both starters, Frank Middleton and Mo Collins finished the season on injured reserve along with primary backup Matt Stinchcomb.

The injuries gave players like journeyman Brad Badger an opportunity to start. Things were so bad on the injury front that Corey Hulsey and Chad Slaughter saw action at guard.

Looking ahead: Collins was an unrestricted free agent seeking a big payday last year. He never got it and returned to the Raiders. Could he be a salary cap casualty this year? Collins and Middleton could take on bigger leadership roles than before since veteran tackle Lincoln Kennedy has retired.

Langston Walker will likely take over for Kennedy at right tackle but he is also an option at guard if needed. Badger and Stinchcomb are both free agents but the former is more cost effective and less injury prone than the latter. If Oakland parts ways with Collins or Middleton, Badger could make a run at a starting spot.

The Raiders remain high on Stinchcomb, a 1999 first-round draft pick, despite the fact that his penchant for injuries makes him a risk. Oakland might ask Stinchcomb to return at a lower salary.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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