Position outlook: Cornerback

This is one story in a series looking ahead to the NFL Draft and how it pertains to the Oakland Raiders needs. Today, here's a look at cornerback:

What the Raiders have: For the time being, Charles Woodson is still a Raider after having been tagged as the "franchise player." That means no other team can negotiate with Woodson, and the Raiders are obligated to pay him the average salary of the top five cornerbacks, which is $6.8 million.

Oakland is rumored to be working on a long-term deal with Woodson. Negotiations, however, cannot resume until July 15 unless they want to lose the rights to using the franchise tag in the future, for the length of any long-term contract Woodson would sign.

The Raiders also are counting on Phillip Buchanon to be better this season. The third-year man makes a lot of highlight film plays but lost in that is his getting beaten several times. Oakland also signed Ray Buchanan as a free agent from Atlanta. Buchanan was once one of the better corners in the NFL but his play declined to the point where then coach Dan Reeves benched him. Buchanan will, if nothing else add depth.

Then, there is Nnamdi Asomugha, one of last year's two first-round picks. The question is, does Asomugha fit in more as a corner or safety? Terrence Shaw, who started six games, is a free agent not likely to return. Oakland also returns Clarence Love and free agent signee Ike Charleton to possibly compete for one of the final spots.

What the Raiders might do: Probably nothing since it has plenty of corners. If Oakland does anything at all, it will either involve Woodson via trade or draft one on Day Two.


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