We have a quick and dirty Oakland Raiders mailbag today. With the weeks leading up to the start of free agency being one of the few slow times in the NFL calendar, there are simply not a lot of questions to be addressed, but we did have two great sets of questions worth talking about.
@Cover32_OAK WHERE SHOULD RM N DA FOCUS IN FA? WHAT IS HULK WORTH? IF WANTS TOO MUCH SHOULD WE DRAFT HIS REPLACEMENT?
— KDUBB (@K_DUBB_80) February 12, 2014
Our good friend Kevin comes at us with the three part question so that is how I will answer.
1 – Where should Reggie McKenzie focus in free agency?
Defense, defense, defense, offensive line and a side of defense. The Seahawks showed what a team with a dominant defense can do. The Raiders have the cap space available and there is a lot of defensive talent hitting the free agent market. Aside from some help on the offensive line, the Raiders can find most of their offensive needs in the draft so they should focus on building a monster of a defense in free agency.
2 – What is Jared Veldheer worth?
A LOT! Many fans do not want the Raiders to overpay, but that will be hard to do with Veldheer. I have not seen anything to indicate that Veldheer would be given anything near the highest contract for a left tackle in the NFL. Right now, the top two highest yearly average for left tackle contracts are $11.5 million and $12.8 million. Veldheer is a good young tackle, but one who missed most of last year and has not reached his full potential yet. A contract that averaged around $8-10 million a year would probably get it done and be worth it to lock up an important position for years to come.
3 – If Veldheer wants to much, should the Raiders draft his replacement?
They may very well want to do that, but they should also plan on signing a veteran left tackle to bridge the gap while the draft pick gets acclimated to the NFL, potentially playing at the right tackle early in his career before moving to left tackle. If Veldheer does not get re-signed, I am sure Reggie McKenzie will draft an offensive tackle, whether or not he will be the immediate successor is a different question.
@Cover32_OAK Does another poor draft I.E. passing up on Star for Hayden, Kawann Short for Watson, mean the end for Reggie?
— Carl Winslow (@TheFakeAlbert) February 12, 2014
Most of the conversation surrounding job security has been focused on head coach Dennis Allen. But Carl makes a great point here with regards to Reggie McKenzie’s future. After some rather lack luster draft results in his first two bites at the apple, McKenzie will likely have to show some real improvement in his college scouting skills and land some players who can have an impact on the team right away. If he has another year of high draft picks who do not contribute to the team, he could be looking for a new job next off season.