Two months from now, Raider Nation will be glued to any electronic device that they can get their hands on…
March 2018 brings a new beginning of eternal optimism to fanatics worldwide because of NFL free agency. To Raider Nation, it will be a glimpse into what could possibly be the most epic off-season in recent years past.
The Raiders have around roughly $20 million in cap space as of January and will be looking to spend smartly to improve a 6-10 team. Here is a listing of some of the notable names that are expected to become free agents come March. Some of these players might just end up becoming Raiders, while others are ones to keep an eye on for potential signings as a new coaching staff takes the reigns.
Kyle Fuller CB Chicago Bears
The first rounder from Virginia Tech finally lived up to his high praise in 2017. Fuller saw action in 16 contests. He posted 69 tackle, 22 deflected passes, and two takeaways. ProFootballFocus.com had Fuller with an overall grade of 84.3. He will be only 25 in February and displays a 6’0” stature that will make him desirable to all NFL ball clubs if he leaves the Windy City. His price tag will be steep if the Raiders decide to take that route with him.
Jerick McKinnon RB Minnesota Vikings
I just can’t see how the Vikings can manage to keep this dynamic back with Dalvin Cook returning and Latavius Murray in tow for the future. McKinnon could possibly be the pass catcher out of the backfield that the Raiders have been missing. He possesses deceptive speed that would fit well with a “Beast Mode” combination. The youngster filled in very admirably when Cook went down to injury, especially in point per reception fantasy leagues. Though he is not a top tier free agent carrier, McKinnon will likely command a smaller pay day then the likes of Le’Veon Bell or Carlos Hyde.
Allen Robinson WR Jacksonville Jaguars
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New scenery for the 2015 Pro Bowl pass catcher ought to be the fresh start to reboot his career if no longer welcomed back in Jacksonville. Robinson may get franchise tagged their too, but if not he’d hit the open market staring at one year deals that will make him prove he can return to his past form. The current Jaguar will be a sought after player no matter what. If so desired by the Raiders, on paper with Cooper and Cook, this has the makings of a scary trio.
Preston Brown LB Buffalo Bills
Preston Brown has emerged as a middle linebacker to watch in Buffalo’s defense. He’s accumulated nearly 289 tackles in four seasons while almost losing his starting job. Brown is a tackling stud that led the stingy Bills defense to squeak into the playoffs. The Bills middleman will want top dollar because of his age and abilities. If he gets out of Buffalo, he could be just what the doctor ordered for a starving Raiders linebacker corps.
DeMarcus Lawrence DE Dallas Cowboys
The cream of the free agent crop will more than likely be staying in Dallas permanently. Lawrence had a career year with 14.5 sacks, which will earn him top dollar come March. He is a 4-3 end who can get to the backfield leader and that will get anyone paid handsomely at one of the most important positions in the game. Imagine if the Raiders went after Lawrence and paired him with Khalil Mack. The possibilities could be endless.
Raiders: Other Notable Free Agents
- Trumaine Johnson CB Los Angeles Rams
- Dontari Poe DT Atlanta Falcons
- Bennie Logan DT Kansas City Chiefs
- Prince Amukamara CB Chicago Bears
- Sammy Watkins WR Los Angeles Rams
- Ezekial Ansah DE Detroit Lions
- Tahir Whitehead LB Detroit Lions
- Malcolm Butler CB New England Patriots
- Nigel Bradham LB Philadelphia Eagles
- Rex Burkhead RB New England Patriots
- Taylor Gabriel WR Atlanta Falcons
- Sheldon Richardson DT Seattle Seahawks
- Cameron Fleming OT New England Patriots
- Marqise Lee WR Jacksonville Jaguars
- Paul Richardson WR Seattle Seahawks
- Jarvis Landry WR Miami Dolphins
- Avery Williamson LB Tennessee Titans
Not all of the names will make it to free agency as they will resign with their current teams or sign elsewhere. This is just a plethora of the talent that is scheduled to become available in 2018. The Raiders can upgrade at a lot of spots and these are some of the guys that will be looked at heavily once the “Football New Year” begins.
First things first though, and that, of course, is for the Silver & Black to resign their own guys. T.J. Carrie, Denico Autry, Jon Condo, Sebastian Janikowski, Giorgio Tavecchio, Justin Ellis, and NaVorro Bowman will probably be the ones that will be discussed more than others. It will definitely be a very difficult couple of months to make these decisions, but Oakland has to be ready to turn this around sooner rather than later. Until next time, Ramble On Raider Nation.