The Oakland Raiders are heading into the offseason with a number of big questions at various positions on the roster and with the fifth overall pick in the draft, general manager Reggie McKenzie has a major decision to make for the franchise and some options for the team are to choose a quarterback or they could look to make a trade for someone like Washington Redskins backup Kirk Cousins.
The Raiders traded out of their top five pick last season and ended up with DJ Hayden, a player McKenzie said the team wanted all along, but he dealt with injuries throughout the year and now the team is back in position once again with the fifth overall pick. The team went 4-12 for the second straight season and while there were some nice flashes from both Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin at quarterback, head coach Dennis Allen said the team would strongly consider taking a quarterback with the draft pick. Some names that could be available for the Raiders at that pick include names like Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, while they also could trade down for names like AJ McCarron and Derek Carr.
The team has a number of important free agents hitting the market this offseason, including Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Tracy Porter, Charles Woodson, Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston among the 18 unrestricted names and McKenzie will have to find a way to keep some/most of those players. Woodson earned himself another chance at a deal, while Veldheer and Houston are essential to lock up for McKenzie. Rashad Jennings is more likely to return than McFadden, as he rushed for over 700 yards this season while the former top 10 pick dealt with another injury plagued season.
The team ranked 25th in passing yards per game last season and McKenzie comes into the 2014 league year with a nice amount of cap space after two seasons of purging the roster of bad contracts and older players. According to ESPN.com, the Raiders are expected to have at least $60 million in cap space and that opens them up to signing new free agents as well as retaining the essential names on the roster. McKenzie was brought to the team originally to clean up their roster mess and Mark Davis recognized that head coach Dennis Allen deserved at least one more year at the helm after that conscious breakdown of the roster. Allen and McKenzie now truly have the chance to bring in some talent that fits their scheme and plan and with the financial flexibility, they could have the money to lure high-level free agents.
The team has won just eight games over the past two seasons, but with that much cap space and a top five pick in the NFL draft along with some extras, the Raiders could end up in a favorable position come the start of the 2014 season.