Snaps Lost: Oakland Raiders
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 6.90, 29th
FTE Lost: 2.80, 19th
Biggest Losses: Stefen Wisniewski (1041), James Jones (739), Darren McFadden (530)
Summary – After missing just 19 snaps all entire season, Wisniewski moved onto Jacksonville on a one-year deal where he stands a good chance of starting. Jones was let go just one year into the three-year deal he got after coming over from Green Bay. He led the Raiders’ receivers with 73 catches but pulled in just 666 yards. McFadden failed to impress yet again, and despite having every opportunity, he’s failed to live up to his high draft pedigree and will try his luck in Dallas next season.
Replacement Plan – Billed as one of the best players in the draft, Amari Cooper should come in from the start and replace Jones if all goes as planned, though Michael Crabtree came aboard this offseason and should displace some snaps as well. Likewise with Wisniewski, Oakland rewarded Rodney Hudson for his strong play in Kansas City with a lengthy contract, and he should fill in seamlessly at center. A timeshare of sorts will be required to cover for McFadden’s snaps. Former Redskin Roy Helu figures to be the third down back leaving Latavius Murray in a prime position to increase upon his 285 snaps from last year.
FTE Lost: 4.11, 30th
Biggest Losses: Miles Burris (1096), Tarell Brown (1000), Antonio Smith (791), Carlos Rogers (477), Pat Sims (429)
Summary – Oakland’s defense has been bolstered in recent seasons with aging veterans on short contracts, so a 30th-place finish here isn’t in the least bit surprising. Burris is gone after a disastrous 2014 campaign where he finished at the bottom of our inside linebacker rankings (-42.2) by a considerable margin. Brown and Rogers, former teammates in San Francisco each signed a one-year deal prior to last season and after not being re-upped they remain free agents. Smith and Sims are both past the prime of their respective careers, but ditching both opens up the interior of the defensive line. Each found a low-cost one-year deal to play elsewhere next year, Smith in Denver and Sims in Cincinnati.
Replacement Plan – Former Saint and Falcon Curtis Lofton figures to slot in for Burris, but after leading all inside linebackers in missed tackles last season, he’s unlikely to be as much of an upgrade as Raider fans are hoping for. Sio Moore could see full-time duty, edging Lofton off the field in nickel packages. T.J. Carrie should up his playing time at cornerback this season, as the seventh-round rookie outplayed his draft status on 568 snaps. Likewise former first-round pick D.J. Hayden is in for a full-time role, but that still leaves an unproven player like Keith McGill, Chimdi Chekwa, or Neiko Thorpe as Oakland’s nickel back. From Arizona came free agent signing Dan Williams, and though he’s never topped 500 snaps in a season, that could change this year. He can’t fill in for all of their losses, but help from second-round pick Mario Edwards Jr. along the line or increased play time from C.J. Wilson and Stacy McGee could alleviate their losses.