Raiders free agency outlook: Tommy Kelly

The importance of the Oakland Raiders re-signing Tommy Kelly took on a new dimension when Warren Sapp called it quits. Is the Raiders interest that strong?

Tommy Kelly

2007: Started at right defensive end and was leading Oakland defensive linemen in tackles when he was lost for the year due to a knee injury.

Grade: B

Market interest level: Very high

Raiders interest level: Very high

The team should have been locked in on re-signing Kelly to begin with, but Warren Sapp's decision to retire has to have made the decision a no-brainer.

Kelly is Oakland's most versatile defensive player and was the team's leading tackler among defensive linemen before injuring his knee midway through the season.

Kelly is the logical choice to replace Sapp at the three-technique, which is his more natural position. That might change if the Raiders somehow managed to land LSU's Glenn Dorsey in the draft or Oakland packages the pair inside.

Either way, if Kelly remains with the Silver and Black, it will likely be at a spot other than defensive end.

Oakland's run defense was a problem all season but Kelly wasn't to blame. Keeping him needs to be a priority for the Raiders, right after getting cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha inked to a long-term deal.


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