Changes are in store for the 2009 Raiders defense. http://is.gd/IS01 #NFL #Raiders
Based on the salary cap and performance, the following are players that will or might be gone or need to restructure, may be traded, should be re-signed or will be moved to a new position.
THE CAP CATEGORY
1. Jordan – His cap number and performance make this a certainty. No sense on spending any time on him
2. Rhodes – His cap number makes this near certain. He would have to restructure and may find himself as the 3rd stringer. Expect him to opt for being cut over a restructure, he complained last year about playing time, I don’t think he would take well to being a 3rd stringer.
3. Warren – At times last year he was a very good lineman, but was rather inconsistent. Better than Sands, but also a cap monstrosity (Like Sands). It will be tough to swallow if we cut him loose because we gave up a 5th rounder. I’d bet we try and restructure his deal and make him more cap friendly, however there is the chance he could be gone. He might challenge Sands for the RDT starting spot.
4. Sands – What a mistake and his contract is darn near impossible to do anything with. We are going to be stuck with him unless we consider him a complete bust, but my guess is they will just try to make him more consistent.
THE FREE AGENT CATEGORY
1. Asomugha – He will be franchised…Nothing else to speak of here.
2. Kelly – His versatility and the fact that he was the best lineman until his injury will make him a top priority. Richardson is almost ready and he should be pushing Burgess out the door in 2009. Kelly is just 28 and should be entering his prime veteran years. I think we need to lock him up for three years.
3. Chris Clemons – We would certainly like to have him back, but only if we can get him at a discount. Situational pass rushers are easy to find, heck we found Clemons who didn’t even play in 2006.
4. McCown – He wants to be back as the backup and Kiffin wants him back. I think he is at worst a good character influence on Russell. He is also a very smart guy just doesn’t have the tools that Russell has. I think we will bring him back for a decent price.
5. Newberry – He held up and we might just be willing to see if we will again. Grove’s injury history and lack of great play make him s sketchy starter. However, Grove has played his best next to his buddy Gallery. Will be interesting to see what we do. I put my bet on him being back for one more go.
6. The other FA – Would be deep backups. My guess is we will look for talent elsewhere. Some of them could be back, but they would have to battle for a roster spot.
THE MOST LIKELY TO BE TRADED CATEGORY
1. Walter – We have no use for him. He doesn’t fit the system and will most likely be the 3rd QB. A pocket passing team could make a move for him. I think he has a future with the right team. He has starting experience and is a good character guy. We will likely hold out for a late round pick. I’m guessing we would like to sneak back into round 5.
2. Washington – He lost his job to Routt last year. He still has excellent physical tools and maybe just needs a change in scenery. I don’t see Davis letting him go for less than a 3rd. The draft is thin at CB so teams that miss out on Samuel or Talib may look to find a CB with starting experience elsewhere. Jay Glazer reported we shopped him last season, so the feelers are out and he might be on team’s radars as a good player to be had. He still has 1st round talent and to get that for a 3rd is a great deal IMO. He is also just 25.
THE CHANGING POSITIONS CATEGORY
1. Huff – Kiffin already made a clear statement that Huff would be moving. We all know that means to FS. He should thrive with the freedom and will be a better tackler from that side. It leaves a huge hole at SS, something we should be concerned about because that is Routt’s side and not Asomugha’s.
2. Schweigert – He is likely to stick around because he is cheap, but if he is disgruntled because he will be a backup we may let him walk. He isn’t likely to move to SS, then his tackling skill would be a more glaring weakness. He probably has to fight for the backup spot with guys like Eugene.
3. Alston – Rumor is he may move to SS. I think it may create somewhat of a liability for us on the left side. Routt is clearly weaker than Aso and not having a good SS behind him make expose that side. Unless we can find another option it is at least an experiment worth trying.
I don’t see anyone else having a status change at the moment. Comment if I missed someone.
I know defensive line might be our greatest need. From the poll results so far just about everyone is in agreement. However, the Giants may have ultimately screwed us. Here is how. The Super Bowl brought to light what a good defensive line can do for a team. The entire league is now thinking they need a better defensive line, even if they have a solid line to begin with.
Now the market is inflated and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ellis go much earlier than previously anticipated. Also the price may skyrocket on players like Corey Williams and even our very own Tommy Kelly.
Are we completely screwed? No, because with the 3rd or 4th pick we can pick one of the top three. However, teams will be looking for any help they can get on the line and should we cut Warren, would be there to pick him up.
Here is something few people have mentioned as another hurdle in the race for a DT.
We have Sands and Warren at the position. Look unspectacular? On the field it does. In Al Davis’ wallet it might just have to look better. Sands and Warren combine for $8.5 million cap next season, $9.7 in 2009, and $13 in 2010. Warren’s is almost entirely base salary and could be cut, but being that he has been better than Sands, that doesn’t make any football sense. Cutting Sands would be a huge waste of cash and so we are likely to at least keep him for the next two seasons to get some production. If he doesn’t turn into an absolute stud by 2010, you cut him and his salary increase of $3 mil.
It looks like we are unlikely to cut either player for the reasons mentioned above. Because if that, do yu really want to invest another $5+ million per year to this position? That is a lot of cap for one position. Don’t be surprised if we go another direction if available to us.
For sake of spreading the cap around signing Fargas or drafting a top RB would make more sense.