CINCINNATI - FILE: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to reports on July 31, 2011 the Bengals will re-sign Benson to a one year deal. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
While most of the big name free agents have already signed with teams, there are still plenty of quality football players that the Raiders could pursue in order to strengthen the team.
The Oakland Raiders still have plenty of needs on their roster despite making moves in free agency and draftng six players. Luckily for them, there are still quality football players available in free agency. The best part is that the players still left on the market will not be able to command high salaries due to the amount of time that they have remained unsigned. This means that Reggie McKenzie could find some quality players who the Raiders can afford despite cap issues.
Here is a look at just some of the players still available in free agency that popped out at me.
Leigh Bodden, CB - The Raiders signed two cornerbacks in Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell. However, with only two second year players to back them up, the Raiders could use some veteran depth at the position. Bodden is a quality cb who will come cheap due to the fact that he is coming off of back surgery. There is a chance he will not be able to start the season, but he could add quality depth later in the season.
Vernon Carey, OG - Carey is a big bodied guard with a good amount of agility. His age and teh fact that he has played in the NFL for eight years now means he does not have a whole lot left in the tank. However, that is all the Raiders would be looking for. He could step in right away and be an upgrade over Cooper Carlisle for a year or two while rookie Tony Bergstrom gets used to play at the NFL level.
Oshiomogho Atogwe, FS - Michael Huff is clearly the Raiders starting free safety. However, with the loss of Hiram Eugene, the Raiders are lacking any depth at free safety. Matt Giordano had an admirable season for the Raiders last year, but he also showed that he can be a liability at times as well. In addition, if the rumors are true that Huff will spend some time playing as a nickel corner, the Raiders will need a soid FS to play center field on passing downs while Huff is playing corner.
Cedric Benson, RB - Benson is yet another guy who would come cheap. His off the field issues and age have left him unsigned despite the fact that he is coming off of three straight thousand yard rushing seasons. The Raiders cannot count on McFadden to stay healthy and are in need of a bruising running back after the departure of Michael Bush to the Chicago Bears. Benson would be a great insurance policy while adding versatility to the Raiders backfield.
Aubrayo Franklin, DT - For years now the Raiders have struggled against the run. Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour are a force to be wreckoned with on passing downs, but continue to struggle when asked to clog up the middle of the line on running playrs. Franklin is a big boy who can easily take on double teams. He would also make a nice nose tackle for when the Raiders line up in a 3-4 defense.
I strongly believe that the Raiders are not done signing free agents yet. I expect at least two more signings before the pre-season, but only time will tell if that happens and if so, who the Raiders will add to their roster. But in my opinion, any of these five players would represent a major upgrade to the Raiders in an area of need.