With three games remaining in the 2017 season, the Oakland Raiders must turn an eye towards next season. Granted, they remain in the playoff hunt. However, watching the future is a necessity. With that said, eleven potential free agents could call another NFL city home next season.
Despite arriving during the season, Bowman picked up the defense quickly. Earning the green dot early is a testament to his intellect and leadership. He fits the defense. Not to mention, his presence fills a hole that plagues this franchise. After Napoleon Harris departed for Minnesota, the middle linebacker void grew. In seven games, Bowman tallied 61 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Reggie McKenzie needs to re-sign him. The only issue remains price. How much will Bowman command?
Two years ago, only one person on social media or otherwise touted Autry’s abilities. That expert cited length and scheme flexibility as root causes for his success. Fast forward to 2017, Autry put together a breakout season. With four sacks, he gives the Raiders a complimentary rusher to Mack and Irvin. In addition, he leads the team with seven passes defensed. For all of his shaky defensive line signings, Autry paid off. In return, the Raiders owe him a raise and a new deal.
If you do not hear Condo’s name during a game, that means he executed his job. The veteran long snapper performs his job in silence and excellence. Condo earns 1.08 million. Considering his importance to the team, the Raiders get a bargain. Remember Travis Goethel? Goethel, the linebacker pressed into duty when Condo suffered an injury.
Although 2.2 million may appear steep for a blocking tight end, Smith executes his job better than most. With strength and aggression, Smith moves defender down field on running plays. His approach syncs well with the brutal nature of Mick Tice’s offensive line. Whether he we sign for at or below his 2017 contract remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the Raiders need to at least offer him a fair deal.
In essence, these signings represent the meat and potatoes. They fill area that many underrate. Granted, the Raiders need pass rushing and secondary help. With Reggie McKenzie, look for bargain signing and draft picks. Equally important, these players will not slack with a new deal.