NFL News & Analysis

2017 Free Agency Preview: Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Perry Riley Jr. #54 of the Oakland Raiders reacts after a play against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

[Editor’s note: This preview was originally published on Feb. 28, 2017, and updated on March 6 to reflect changes in the market do to franchise tags, re-signings, cuts, etc.]

What you need to know

The Raiders are a lot of analysts’ sexy pick for the Super Bowl, and they might very well have made it there last year had it not been for the late-season injury to quarterback Derek Carr. With the 11th-most cap room in the league, the time for them to strike in free agency is now.

Salary cap room

$43,048,488 (9th in NFL; as of 3/6/2017)

Biggest needs

  • Linebacker
  • Defensive interior
  • Offensive tackle
  • Cornerback

Notable free agents

  • Perry Riley, LB, 84.8 overall grade in 2016
  • Stacy McGee, DI, 84.5
  • Latavius Murray, RB, 73.1
  • Malcolm Smith, LB, 49.7

Must re-sign

Perry Riley, LB, 84.8 overall grade in 2016

For the second year in a row, the Raiders picked up a player who had struggled with the Washington Redskins and got a highly productive year out of him. Riley had his highest-graded season since entering the league and missed just three tackles over the course of the season. Oakland would be wise to keep him around, at least on another short-term deal.

Dream splash

A.J. Bouye, CB, Houston Texans, 90.9

The Raiders could really do with making a splash at cornerback this offseason, and Houston's Bouye would be the ideal candidate to fill that need. Coming off his best season as a pro at just the right time, Bouye is primed to cash in this offseason. Targeted 97 times including the playoffs, Bouye allowed a reception on just 50.5 percent of those targets, coming away with three interceptions and 14 pass breakups in the process.

Top 2017 free agency prospects

Chris Baker, DI, Washington Redskins, 82.2

Going back to the Washington well for the third year in a row would be a smart move for the Raiders. Baker ranked 14th among 3-4 defensive ends with a pass-rushing productivity rating of 7.2 last year, and would add some strength to Oakland's interior pass rush.

Ricky Wagner, OT, Baltimore Ravens, 84.5            

The Raiders could really do with upgrading the right tackle spot on their offense, and Wagner would be a perfect fit should he not be re-signed in Baltimore. Wagner was one of the best right tackles in the NFL last year, giving up just 32 total pressures over the course of the year. He has never been a dominant run-blocker during his four-year career, but his work in pass protection is reason enough to sign him.

Morris Claiborne, CB, Dallas Cowboys, 84.7

Claiborne has had a fairly disappointing career so far, but turned in the best season of his career in 2016. He allowed just 51.9 percent of the throws into his coverage to be caught last year, and would be a really smart signing on a one-year, prove-it type of deal where the Raiders can see if he has really turned his career around.

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