Reports have come out that owner Mark Davis has relieved his head coach and GM of their duties, buying out the rest of their contracts. With their departures, the Raiders will look to rebuild its staff in the offseason and turn around a roster that’s currently ranked in the bottom half of the league in most categories according to PFF.
There will inevitably be plenty of articles about Bill Belichick coaches not being super successful after leaving New England (their bank accounts probably don’t agree) but I wanted to look ahead to what I could see the Raiders doing in the offseason, from coaches to free agency and the NFL Draft.
Rebuilding the Raiders!
Step 1: Find the next GM and Head Coach!
I came across a piece by SI that I’m going to utilize to take a stab at the next head coach. First, let’s look at what the Raiders have done historically with their GM/Head Coaches. For GMs, well it was Al Davis running his own show for a very long time (thanks to retro seasons). However, recently they’ve taken a Draft “expert” in Mike Mayock and then David Ziegler. Ziegler, another New England product comes through the NFL ranks. There isn’t a proven track record of how Davis will look to fill the position. The 33rd team put together a nice list of potential GM candidates, I’d expect that they all get interviews come the first Monday after the season ends.
Head coaching candidates start in my mind with Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. He continues to help turn around a franchise that’s had trouble being competitive for decades now. Ben has done a good job helping to change the perspective of Jared Goff and build a top offensive unit. You’ll see names like Ejiro Evero and Eric Bienemy. However, Johnson’s arguably the hottest name and will be targeted highly as soon as the season ends.
Step 2: Roster Management
Spotrac has all the juicy contract details for us. They will have around $28-$30 million to spend before they decide what to do with the players currently on the roster. We know Josh Jacobs will be a free agent, and most likely gone after the season. The other core pieces of this roster (in my mind) are Devante Adams, Maxx Crosby, Kolton Miller, Michael Mayer, Tyree Wilson, Dylan Parham, and that’s about it.
You can’t get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo and his $28+ million dollar dead cap number but I could see them get rid of Hunter Renfrow, but when you look at this starting lineup, I could make the case we see them take the Arizona Cardinals approach and just sell off anything they can and rebuild.
Step 3: Free Agency
At 3-5, the Raiders are currently sitting in the top 10 draft-pick-wise, so I’d expect to see them target a quarterback in the draft, I’ll use Shane’s mock as I look at what QBs to target when we get there but first let’s look at free agency.
With most likely over $30 million to spend, I don’t necessarily expect them to go crazy but they will most likely look to help rebuild their offensive and defensive lines some in free agency, targeting maybe a Christian Wilkins, Javon Kinlaw type of interior lineman on defense and Connor Williams and Cody Ford for some offensive line help. If I were the Raiders, I’d target interior offensive and defensive line help in free agency for sure.
Step 4: The NFL Draft
Now, in the NFL Draft, this team has all their picks and two extra 7th rounders. So they can at least add 2-4 startable assets. If they play their cards right. At QB, I’d target Michael Penix Jr, Quinn Ewers, Bo Nix, or JJ McCarthy (depending on who comes out). Fixing their QB should be priority one. With the left side of the line in place, you have your blind side covered for a young QB.
In rounds two and three, get yourself another edge rusher to pair with Crosby. And a cornerback. I’d love Leonard Taylor III and Denzel Burke if I were them. On day three, you can target a running back, wide receiver, and some more linemen. If the board falls properly. Jacob Cowing from Arizona, Johnny Wilson from FSU, Donovan Edwards & Zak Zinter from Michigan. Maybe Jack Sawyer from Ohio State, or even a linebacker like Curtis Jacobs from Penn State.
The goal in year one with a new regime should be to acquire some core franchise players to build around what you have (which arguably right now isn’t a lot). Once they get their trenches in order and find a QB, they will move in the right direction.