The most existential group of Jon Gruden’s Raiders, special teams, are in a flux position heading into these busy months ahead.
Sebastian Janikowski is a free agent who wanted to stay a Raider for as long as he could, but that day has finally come to an end. Giorgio Tavecchio is also on the market after a consistent stint filling in for the injured Janikowski. The Silver & Black can either re-sign Tavecchio or go in a different direction. That direction can lead them to the upcoming free agency period or the April draft.
First, here is a list of names that could become available from their current teams in a month, followed by the draft’s most talent-laden kickers.
Possible Free Agent Kickers
- Chris Boswell – Pittsburgh RFA (Can’t see him leaving Pittsburgh.)
- Graham Gano – Carolina UFA (Does Carolina let him walk?)
- Cairo Santos – Chicago UFA (Looked solid in Kansas City before getting going on IR.)
- Dustin Hopkins – Washington UFA
- Cody Parkey – Miami RFA (Still only 25 years young.)
Top Draft Kickers
- Eddy Pineiro – Florida (The nation’s most consistent place kicker.)
- Matt Anderson – California (Local product who accounted for a lot of points, like Tavecchio.)
- Bryce Crawford – San Jose State
Marquette King is questioning retirement after Tweeting on January 3rd about that very subject. That may leave the team with a new punter to search for as well. Here’s another aid to help see who conceivably would be around should Marquette decide to retire early.
Possible Free Agent Punters
- Pat O’Donnell – Chicago UFA
- Shane Lechler – Houston UFA (Will he return at 42?)
- Dustin Colquitt – Kansas City UFA (The Colquitt family knows how to punt.)
- Kevin Huber – Cincinnati UFA
- Jordan Berry – Pittsburgh RFA
Top Draft Punters
- Johnny Townsend-Florida (Averaged 48 a boot, with a high of 70.)
- Michael Dickson – Texas (The 2017 Ray Guy Award Winner.)
- Shane Tripucka – Texas A&M
- Trevor Daniel – Tennessee
- Joe Zema – Incarnate Word (Will the FCS standout get a shot in the NFL?)
- Michael Carrizosa – San Jose State
And of course don’t forget about arguably the most crucial player on special teams: The Long Snapper. The current job is taken by Jon Condo, who is an unrestricted free agent come March. His tenure in Raider land is all but over after the organization inked Andrew East to a futures/reserve contract last month. In case East isn’t the guy they are looking for, here’s another guide to potential free agent and incoming long snappers that will sign as undrafted free agents.
Possible Free Agent Long Snappers
- Garrison Sanborn – Tampa Bay UFA
- Aaron Brewer – Arizona UFA
Top Draftable Long Snappers
- James Fisher – North Dakota State (The FCS powerhouse puts out quality NFL talent.)
- Tanner Carew – Oregon
- Ike Powell – Auburn
Special teams can win or lose you a game in an instant and that is why it’s just as equal to all other sections of the team. Rich Bisaccia has his hands full already to help coordinate this group heading into 2018 with plenty of substantial criteria to digest.
So all that being said, March cannot get here fast enough for the official start of the off-season. And as always, Ramble On, Raider Nation!