2018 Offseason: Unrestricted Free Agents and Roster Cuts

Heading into the 2018 offseason, the Raiders, per Over The Cap, are carrying eleven (11) unrestricted free agent’s (UFA’s).

Let’s run right down the list, and determine the fate of each player:

1) Aldon Smith — Truthfully, I forgot he was still on the roster. Per Vic Tafur, the ball is still in his court. That hasn’t changed. For better or worse, we haven’t heard his name for a bit now. With a new staff in place, I honestly have no idea what becomes of the former All-Pro. For my money, his career is toast, sadly.

“Re-up”, but does it really matter? It’s unlikely that he sees the practice field, let alone game day.

2) Reggie Nelson — The time might (finally) be up for Old Man Reggie. He’s proven to be more of a liability than impact player at this point in his career. Interesting little connection with the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator, however.


3) Sebastian Janikowski — Speaking of interesting, Jano will be a familiar face to “new guy” Jon Gruden, who coached him 18 years ago. We saw Giorgio Tavecchio fill in admirably, however.

Re-up, one final run with Gruden for nostalgia’s sake.

4) Lee Smith — Banged up in 2017, is there a spot for him as strictly an in-line tight end in Gruden’s offense?


5) NaVorro Bowman Bowman was a player thought to be on the bubble as thing’s came to a close in 2017 for Oakland. He obviously out-shined everyone on his side of the ball that wasn’t wearing number 52, but the bar was set rather low. The arrival of Paul Guenther could change things a little bit, however, and we know Jon Gruden tends to favor veteran player’s. At best, he’s a one-year stop-gap player.

Re-up (but please, draft a linebacker before Day 3).

6) Denico Autry — It would be a shame to lose whatever little, homegrown talent the Raiders’ have up front. I suspect the free agent in question will get a handful of looks on the open market, so it’ll be interesting to see how McKenzie (and/or Gruden) approach a contract offer. I think he’s at least worth the initial conversation.


7) Jon Condo — A good long snapper, but boring to discuss.

Re-up, I guess? It’s a long snapper, you guys.

8) E.J. Manuel — It’s no secret: Jon Gruden has a quarterback fetish. Wouldn’t surprise to see one or two new names behind Derek Carr this offseason, just like it wouldn’t surprise if Gruden ended up tinkering with what he has in-house currently.


9) Justin Ellis — He lost some weight during his contract year, chasing the bag. He definitely had his moments, but even on a defensive line largely devoid of talent, it’s hard to imagine going out of the way to keep Jelly around. Different players and positions, but end of the day, I think they value the aforementioned Autry more in this instance.


10) Keith McGill — When given the shot at some playing time in the secondary, McGill has largely disappointed. He’s parlayed that fourth round selection into a decent special teams’ impact, but that’s the extent of it.


11) Travis Carrie — When you’re rolling out Sean Smith and David Amerson each weekend, I can understand wanting to push someone like TJ Carrie into a more prominent role. Problem is, he’s more a CB3/4, than a starting-caliber CB2. Reliable depth, especially in a suspect secondary, is always welcomed. I’d set a number, or let him collect his cash elsewhere.

Re-up (but within reason).

As far as roster cut’s are concerned, there are four “big names” as far as I can tell:

Marshawn Lynch — Spoke to the “Beast Mode situation” here. I do not foresee my opinion changing as we get closer to the draft. The Raiders’ should’ve capitalized on a talented 2017 class, and selected their back of the future then. 2018’s class is just as strong, if not better (and deeper). Don’t make the same mistake twice.


Sean Smith — Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie opted to pay Sean Smith over player’s like Janoris Jenkins and Casey Hayward. Hindsight’s always 20/20, so let’s keep it moving…

Smith found himself benched for a majority of the season. Turns out, they paid the wrong guy. In true 2017 fashion, however, he seemingly “came on strong” to close things out. With Gareon Conley on the mend and another solid cornerback class on the horizon, Oakland can cut ties without any financial impact this offseason. They should.


David Amerson — We can’t talk about Sean Smith without mentioning the body opposite him.

Arrived in Oakland. Strung together some good games. Looked like the career was turned right-side up once more, and McKenzie rewarded him as such. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: It was a mistake. Amerson isn’t a starting cornerback; found himself injured to end the year, as well. Oakland should’ve moved on from both their “starting corner’s” last offseason, if we’re being real.


Michael Crabtree — The aforementioned “surprise name”. He’s been Derek Carr’s security blanket of sorts since he arrived in the East Bay.

Once viewed as a malcontent for the football team in San Francisco, Michael Crabtree showed out in Oakland; looking, feeling, and playing like a new man. The drop’s have always been an issue, but the production more than made up for it. Now, with some “character concerns” resurfacing (largely overblown, but still notable), the hole’s in the former two-time Biletnikoff Award winner’s game have come with it.

I don’t really know how Jon Gruden will approach the situation. On one hand, I could see him wanting to keep his quarterback’s most trusted asset. Continuity (in the middle of obvious change) is important. On the other, there are plenty of options in the draft (and free agency for that matter), and the new head coach might simply want to bring “his guy’s” into the fold and start fresh.

This is also notable, I think:

Flip a coin, but I’m thinking Crabtree “changes his tune”, and he’s back for at least another season.

Other name’s to note and monitor; player’s that could be expendable in order to free up some more cash, as my friend Nick Njeltness points out:

  • Jared Cook – $5.3M cap hit, no dead money
  • Seth Roberts – $4.45M cap hit, $2M in dead money
  • Cordarrelle Patterson – $3.25M cap hit, no dead money
  • Marshall Newhouse – $1.75M cap hit, no dead money

Free agent-talk to follow… stay tuned.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


8 thoughts on “2018 Offseason: Unrestricted Free Agents and Roster Cuts

  1. This is actually pretty good stuff and I agree with all of it.
    I think that there are SO many more WR’s put there with better hands than Crabtree AND Roberts that both should get bounced. I actually really like Cordarelle Patterson and hope he stays, even if just for kick returns and some gadget plays. Cook is a **** good TE and has a good rapport with Carr, so he should stay. Lynch is a locker room cancer and I hope he goes. Free agency should be ALOT more interesting this year and McKenzie better. It blow another draft!!!!!

  2. Can’t say I agree with letting Ellis and Lynch walk. Vanderdoes, who is really a nose tackle, is injured and will probably miss the first half of the season on the PUP list. They have no choice but to look for at least two nose tackles if Ellis is allowed to walk. Lynch surprised me. I did not expect him to perform so well. I thought he would end up being a short yardage specialist. I guess I was wrong.

  3. I am sure Crabs stays one more season with a restructred deal, incentive based. I also hope Patterson is giving a shot. Autry is a good player and should earn a nice check lets see if his loyalty lies with the Nation. Lee, Smith, Roberts, Nelson, Ellis need to move on. Hopefully the FB Ollwaza gets his shot the guy can run like a RB, block lime a FB and catch like a WR… Downing an idiot to not see that?

  4. Patterson should be kept IMO he’s a proven return specialist and with ball in his hands he’s explosive

  5. Great article no one knows what McKenzie & Gruden will do with roster cuts. We have to trust them & the coaches to make best present & future player evaluations for cap reasons,players production & developing young talent through the draft that will be cheaper then vets. Very exciting times. Go Raiders Just win Baby

  6. Marshawn go shake your Dredds somewhere else, Please. He’s the only player that I want cut for sure. Embarrassed me the whole season. I like Seth Roberts but he’s not fun to watch. George Atkinson 111 needs some playing time. Give him a shot. I like the way he runs. The Raiders don’t have a lot of money to spend. Let’s make do with what we got.

  7. Can’t see how Janikowski comes back at his current salary with how Giorgio Tavecchio played this year. Jano is at the end of is career. Big difference in their salaries.

    Cordarrelle Patterson is a definite must bring back. Huge talent with big play ability.

  8. Beast mode is the “BEST”option we have at RB so if we can keep him at all,I say “DO IT”!!! Michael Crabtree didn’t get along with the previous staff for whatever reason. Why should that have any Bering on the new staff ? Let bygones be bygones, the “NEW STAFF” is in effect !!!!!

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