Sure, there were a ton of stories about the fact that the Oakland Raiders would be over the salary cap once the new CBA was ratified, but no one really thought Al Davis was going to sit out the most insane free agency period the NFL has seen in years, did they?
The Raiders did not wait too long before jumping into the free agency game. Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders are in a bidding war with their local rival, the San Francisco 49ers, over their promising young safety, Dashon Goldson.
This is an interesting move for a number of reasons.
First and foremost for the Raiders, this likely signals the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Huff. Goldson will not come cheap, so if the Raiders are in the mix for his services, they do not intend to make a serious run at Asomugha. And while the Raiders could still potentially re-sign Huff should they not be able to land Goldson, it signals their desire to upgrade at the position and only encourages Huff to take his services elsewhere.
It is also an interesting move considering the fact that tight end Zach Miller is an unrestricted free agent. Many, including myself, believed that Miller would be the first priority for the Raiders once the CBA was signed, but there has not been any news on that front. The Raiders are great at moving money around in order to get the team under the cap, and the new CBA includes means of expanding the cap for this season so the Raiders will still likely be able to sing Miller if they sign Goldson. But with that being said, Miller will be a very hot commodity in the free agent market and the Raiders would be wise to lock him up before a bidding war ensues.
Finally, safety was not the Raiders position of need going into free agency. The offensive line is probably the Raiders' biggest hole. Right now, the Raiders offensive line is looking like it could be incredibly young and in the need of some veteran leadership. The Raiders also have major question marks at the outside linebacker position opposite Kamerion Wimbley, and at the cornerback position opposite Stanford Routt. Meanwhile, the safety position will definitely be thin if the Raiders do not bring Michael Huff back, but there are two young players in Mike Mitchell and Stevie Brown who are chomping at the bit to be given a chance to start.
While this may not have been the most expected move by the Raiders, it is not at all surprising that Al Davis is being active in the free agent market. Even if the Raiders cannot pry Goldson away from the 49ers, this move signifies the fact that Davis intends on attempting to seriously upgrade the team in free agency. Its going to be pretty exciting to see how things play out.
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