After the Raiders traded Kelechi Osemele to the Jets, they hadn’t done much to patch the void left by the left guard until they brought Richie Incognito for a visit. Even though Incognito left Oakland without a deal, he would be an adequate option to replace Osemele.
Not much has happened since Incognito’s trip to the Alameda headquarters. The Raiders are still interested in him, but many things have to happen in order for Oakland to sign him.
First off, the primary factor for Incognito to play for the Raiders is to remain a free agent. As soon as another team signs him, there’s no way he would play in Oakland. As obvious as it sounds, he has to stay unsigned. Most teams are likely wary of Incognito’s background and will presumably be hesitant to sign him.
Second, the Raiders need to evaluate their own players. There’s no point in bringing a veteran player and take away precious reps from younger players and in turn hinder their development. Oakland must make sure Incognito is better than any other player projected to play left guard on the roster.
Finally, there is no rush to sign him either. As I mentioned before, Incognito could use playing time that could go to rookies and developmental players. He’s been around the block and doesn’t need to work on the finer points of the position. Incognito might need a couple of weeks to get acclimated to the position, but he can be plugged in and play at a high level right away.
He could even wait until the preseason is over to sign. There wouldn’t be much difference between now and then. Another possibility is the Raiders signing him after the season has already started and they wouldn’t have to guarantee him his salary. I don’t think they wait that long, but it could happen.
Then, there’s the fact he might get suspended because of an incident in a funeral home. Oakland needs to decide how much it will impact Incognito and the team.
The interest is there and Incognito to the Raiders seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a business and the perfect storm has to happen.