There are plenty of reasons to want the Oakland Raiders to become good again. One of the NFL’s most loyal and charismatic fanbases deserves better than one playoff appearance in 15 years. Nevertheless, one of the biggest perks of the Raiders becoming a contender again, is it will mark the end of desperation. Oakland currently sits at No.6 on the league’s rankings for available cap space at $29 million. That doesn’t mean that Oakland needs to go out and sign players just because they have a name. It’s been a recurring theme in the past of fans wanting players because of their past. Oakland is under a new regime, and they must act like it.
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released former six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. McCoy saw a decline in production in 2018, and was due $13 million. Surely, he wouldn’t be expecting that from Oakland, but the results have varied in the Raiders gambles in 30+ free agents. It’s a good chance that McCoy could be an anchor like Richard Seymour, but why not let the young guys prove themselves. The Raiders aren’t in win-now mode, despite what some would like to believe.
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If Oakland is going to spend money, it should be on a player that addresses a major need. In this regard, that’s a linebacker, edge rusher or offensive lineman. Alternatively, you can use the extra money to sign Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph after acquiring him via trade. Rudolph and the Vikings are in a stalemate, and his successor Irv Smith was drafted in April. Oakland has a motley crew of unproven tight ends, and Rudolph still has plenty in the tank. Oakland has the means to offer him a new deal, and quarterback Derek Carr can use a reliable set of hands to build chemistry with as Oakland prepares to move to Las Vegas.
Of the Raiders’ main positions of need, it’s slim pickings. At the defensive end position, most of the available players are over 30 and coming off injuries. Ziggy Ansah and William Hayes spring to mind. It may be worth it to add competitive camp pieces, like former San Francisco 49er Damontre Moore.
The Raiders have fielded their most competitive roster in quite a while top to bottom. While there are still some gaping holes, they should wait to see how the summer plays out with potential cuts and trades opening up. Having the money on hand allows flexibility and them to let the chips fall in their favor.