2017 Free Agency Preview: Oakland Raiders

Top free agent targets for the Oakland Raiders, players that must be re-signed, team cap space, and more to get you ready for 2017 free agency.

| 3 months ago
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

2017 Free Agency Preview: Oakland Raiders

[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.

2017 Free Agency Rankings
Top 50 free agents
Every 2017 free agent ranked by 2016 overall grade
10 free agents who can make an immediate impact
10 veteran free agents worth a one-year contract
10 sleeper free agents who could bring surprise upside
10 splash free-agent signings we’d like to see
Quarterback rankings
Running back rankings
Wide receiver rankings
Tight end rankings
Offensive linemen rankings
Edge defender rankings
Interior defender rankings
Cornerback rankings
Safety rankings
Linebacker rankings

2017 NFL Team Free Agency Previews

NFC EastDallas Cowboys
NFC EastNew York Giants
NFC EastPhiladelphia Eagles
NFC EastWashington Redskins
AFC EastBuffalo Bills
AFC EastMiami Dolphins
AFC EastNew England Patriots
AFC EastNew York Jets
NFC WestArizona Cardinals
NFC WestLos Angeles Rams
NFC WestSan Francisco 49ers
NFC WestSeattle Seahawks
AFC WestDenver Broncos
AFC WestKansas City Chiefs
AFC WestLos Angeles Chargers
AFC WestOakland Raiders
NFC NorthChicago Bears
NFC NorthDetroit Lions
NFC NorthGreen Bay Packers
NFC NorthMinnesota Vikings
AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens
AFC NorthCincinnati Bengals
AFC NorthCleveland Browns
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers
NFC SouthAtlanta Falcons
NFC SouthCarolina Panthers
NFC SouthNew Orleans Saints
NFC SouthTampa Bay Buccaneers
AFC SouthHouston Texans
AFC SouthIndianapolis Colts
AFC SouthJacksonville Jaguars
AFC SouthTennessee Titans

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Ron /ram

    These geek MTF’s do not know SHIT!!..

    • Anthony

      Okay then, what do you think we should do?

  • Phong Ta

    Something that I think is being underrated as a need for the Raiders is a quality 3rd receiver. Obviously Cooper and Crabtree make for a fine 1-2 punch, but after them the quality of receivers drops drastically. Take Seth Roberts for example. He was 3rd on the team in targets with 77, but only caught 38 of them, not even half(49.4%). He also failed to even reach the 400 yard mark for the season

    I’m not saying they need to go out and sign another receiver of Cooper’s caliber, but the Raiders, and Carr, could certainly use a better 3rd receiver for when defenses focus too much attention on Cooper and Crabtree. I’ve heard rumblings from some Raiders fans that Walford could potentially be that 3rd receiver, but at least so far he hasn’t been a huge factor as a receiver in his career. I think the Raiders would be wise to go after a low level free agent WR with some upside like Kendall Wright, who could man the slot quite well while Crabtree and Cooper work on the outside

    • JWeave

      I don’t think the receiver position is as import as u say, they have plenty of variety at that spot already while most teams don’t have one good receiver. Micheal Rivera is an above average receiver in my opinion and they have players out of the backfield that are good receivers like Jamize Olawale.

  • JWeave

    I’m praying that Karl Joseph shows up this year and does a little more to help that secondary. So we can focus on the front 7 this offseason.

    • Smush Crook

      Shows up? You do know that with Joseph in on the field, the Raiders had the #4 defense, right?

    • Thatsenoughalready

      lol, what!?

  • codered5

    Their dream splash is a cornerback despite the fact that last season they signed two corners to big money. It

  • crosseyedlemon

    Uh, shouldn’t it be Las Vegas Raiders? Goodbye Silver & Black, hello Sequined Rhinestones. Thank goodness Al Davis isn’t alive to see this.

  • The V

    I agree with signing P.Riley jr. But we need to get a WLB hopefully Cunningham is still available at 24th of the draft. DT is also a major need and i hope we can pick up Campbell in free agency.

  • Raeshon Ware

    Move sean smith to safety, and move Crabtree To slot Wr

  • Raeshon Ware

    Get D jackson!!!

  • John Chandler

    No need to pay high priced FA corners with all the talent in the draft. Fill the Linebacker and OL and DL with vets and draft DBs, TE, RB, and WR.