The Oakland Raiders Top 5 Offseason Moves

The Oakland Raiders have made several moves this off-season, lets take a look at the top five.

The Raiders had a different approach to free agency in 2018, signing a handful of veterans to one-year contracts. Coming off of a 4-12 season, it is quite obvious that plan didn’t work out. New General Manager, Mike Mayock, has breathed new life into the Raiders roster. Coming into the off-season they had 72+ millions dollars in cap space, fifth most in the NFL.  Here is my outlook on the Oakland Raiders top 5 off-season moves.

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1) WR Antonio Brown

Contract: 3-years, $50,125,000, $30,125,000 guaranteed

This was the move the whole NFL was waiting for. The Oakland Raiders acquired Antonio Brown for a 3rd and a 5th round pick in this years NFL draft.  The Raiders’ receivers had struggles getting separation from defenders last season.  Brown will have no problem leaving the defenders in the dust, catching a career high 15 touchdown last season. Raiders receivers combined for 9 touchdowns last season.

Some question the way Brown exited Pittsburgh but nobody questions his work ethic. Last season before a game against the Steelers, Coach Jon Gruden said, “He’s the hardest working man, I think, in football. Hardest working player I’ve ever seen practice.” Now Gruden will be able to be the one coaching him. Derek Carr had a down season in many eyes last year, I think Brown is the prayer he has been asking for since the Raiders released Michael Crabtree and traded Amari Cooper.

Grade: A+

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2) WR Tyrell Williams

Contract: 4-years, $33,300,000, $22,000,000 guaranteed

The wide receiver market in free agency was pretty bare, but Tyrell Williams, in many eyes, was viewed as their top wide receiver target.  Williams has all the measurables you would want in a wide receiver.  He is 6′ 3″ with a 4.42 40 and a 39.5″ vertical.  His skillset is as a downfield threat that can take the top off a defense, his Y/C was 15.9 while the Raiders leader was Jordy Nelson with 11.7 Y/C.

Williams will make life easier for Brown and Carr making any throw across the middle a lot easier, since teams have to respect Williams’ speed.  We now have two big-time red-zone targets with Williams and Brown. Carr must be very excited for this new season to begin.  The best thing about this deal is there is zero dead money after the 2019 season.

Grade: B+

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3) OL Trent Brown 

Contract: 4-years, $66,000,000, $36,250,000 guaranteed

One of the main problems for the Oakland Raiders 4-12 season last year was their offensive line play. For the majority of last season the Raiders played two rookies at their tackle positions, Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker. After trading away Kelechi Osemele and cutting Donald Penn, the once highly rated offensive line must be remade.

The addition of Trent Brown, who was one of the highest graded offensive tackles in the postseason, will do wonders to our offensive line.  Coach Gruden has yet to come out and say if Brown will play left or right tackle, he and Kolton Miller both have experience playing on either side of the line. He is one of the largest men in the NFL sizing up at 6′ 8″ 380 lbs. The contract does seem pretty steep given he was a 7th round pick but there is zero dead money after the 2020 season.

Grade: B-

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4) Lamarcus Joyner

Contract: 4-year, $42,000,000, $21,300,000 guaranteed

If you have watched any Oakland Raiders game the past 3 years you would have seen Reggie Nelson getting burned deep time after time. The fans begged each off-season to move on and sign somebody else or draft a young replacement but Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther refused to move on from his trusty veteran. Mike Mayock finally talked some sense into him and signed franchise safety Lamarcus Joyner. The Los Angeles Rams franchise tagged Joyner last season but finally let him hit the free agency market this season.

The big knock on Joyner is his height, 5′ 8″. The Raiders now have the smallest, in terms of height, safety combo in the NFL with Joyner and Karl Joseph, 5′ 10″.  Joyner will be our nickel corner when we play teams with great TEs like Kelce or Kittle. Joyner has shown in the past that he is capable of covering guys like those even though his stature is less than ideal. Like Tyrell Williams deal there is zero deal money after the 2019 season.

Grade: B-

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5) LB Brandon Marshall

Contract: 1-year, $4,100,000, $0 guaranteed

The Oakland Raiders have been trotting out either late round draft picks or old veteran players at their linebacker spots the past few seasons. A big problem with their linebackers has been their inability to defend tight ends like Kelce or Kittle.  The Raiders have been running out thumper type middle linebackers and have gotten burned in the passing game the past few seasons.  They finally signed a proven player for their linebacker cops in Brandon Marshall.

Marshall struggled last season with a knee injury.  Before last season he was an every down linebacker for the Denver Broncos, averaging over 100+ tackles per season for the vaunted Broncos defense. This is a prove it deal for Marshall with it being a one-year contract, so he will be playing with a lot of passion in the middle of our defense. He will be bringing a lot of championship insight to a young defense.

Grade: B-

Honorable Mentions:

LB Vontaze Burfict

WR J.J. Nelson

QB Mike Glennon

Breakdown of Offseason Moves

There was one big thing I noticed in the every free agency signing.  The Raiders set themselves up to save once they move to Las Vegas in 2020. Most of their contracts they gave out to their players have zero dead money after the 2019 season and the remaining having zero dead money after the 2020 season. New GM Mike Mayock and Coach Gruden have made some splash moves this offseason, lets hope they pan out.

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