After a season to forget, the Oakland Raiders have a lot of work to do in the offseason.
With nearly $70 million in cap space, the 7th most in the NFL, they should make a huge splash in the free agency market. Head Coach Jon Gruden is a hard man to read. What seems like an obvious choice is not always the way Gruden thinks or plays his hand. It’s difficult to gauge what he and new General Manager Mike Mayock are planning to do with the team in 2019.
Let’s take a look at the best free agents on offense and how they would fit into the Raiders franchise.
In The Backfield
Le’Veon Bell – Running Back
Bell is obviously the best back available this offseason and will be courted by a lot of teams. But not many have the need or the money the Raiders have. Having a star player like this on the roster would make the Raiders a contender again.
Tevin Coleman – Running Back
Coleman is the best young player at running back not named Le’Veon Bell on the market. He looks set to leave the Falcons as a free agent in 2019. He had 167 carries for 800 yards at an average of 4.8 yards per carry. At just 25, he could be a future talent for the Raiders. They need to look seriously at a player like this. He will be a lot cheaper than Bell and will produce good numbers.
Latavius Murray – Running Back
The Raiders are stacked with running back options if everyone returns in 2019, all of which are free agents themselves, but if they can get Murray to return to Oakland for a cheap deal, he could be an asset.
Through The Air
Golden Tate – Wide Receiver
The Raiders struggled big time in 2018 with quality receivers. Only five players were targeted more than 20 times, Amari Cooper (Cowboys), Jalen Richard (RB), Jared Cook (TE) and the only standout receivers on the payroll, Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts. This is an appalling stat that needs to be rectified in 2019.
Enter Golden Tate. Sure, Tate will be 31 when the season kicks off, but he is still producing the numbers to say he can be a quality WR. He was traded from the Lions to the Eagles during last season and had 74 catches for nearly 800 yards and four touchdowns in total.
Not only will it help to open up the field for Derek Carr, but he will also offer experience and knowledge if the Raiders are to chase a young receiver in the draft.
Tate will be valuable to this franchise going forward.
Tyler Eifert – Tight End
Cook had an incredible season at tight end and picked up the pieces without Nelson and Cooper on the field. It is not yet known if the Raiders will renew his contract or let him go this offseason.
Eifert is a quality tight end who can block and catch the ball. He is a vertical threat and a great route runner. He works well in the slot and after the catch. Last season he went down with a horrific injury. A right ankle fracture and a broken fibula with torn ligaments, but the injury isn’t career ending and he will return in 2019.
The Raiders will be able to get Eifert cheap and this will help to bolster their attacking options.
In The Trenches
Ja’Wuan James – Offensive Tackle
James is a great player, but he is very injury prone. At just 26 years of age, he has plenty of football left in him and commands respect when on the field. If the Raiders can get him cheap, he will add some class to the position.
Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker showed some quality for young players in 2018, but injury and poor form showed why the Raiders need help in this role. As a unit, the Raiders gave up the fifth most sacks in the league. Some of that can be pointed at Carr, but the offensive line needs to take some bad publicity for that as well. Bringing in some depth with James reasons to help the two second-year tackles.