The Oakland Raiders are done for the season but free agency is officially two months away. With so many holes to fill, the Raiders have a lot of work to do, starting with retaining their own free agents who are worthy. There are so many positions of need on the team that the Raiders will have to continue to watch their spending to avoid sinking back into salary cap purgatory. They must also achieve that delicate balance between player salaries and talent level.
It has been well documented that successful teams are built primarily through the draft with free agency used as a supplemental tool. It is unclear exactly which players will be re-signed by their current teams, but it is never too early to start making plans for the upcoming free agency.
The position of wide receiver is low on the list of priorities for this team that first needs to solidify the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and figure out the quarterback position. Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker will become a free agent this coming off-season. He could be a quick and easy solution to one of their lesser areas of concern. By signing him early in free agency, they could concentrate on the decisions they have to make regarding their more pressing concerns.
Decker will enter his fifth season in the league in 2014 and is 26 years old. He is young enough to consider and he could contribute a lot to the Raiders in the way of performance and veteran leadership. Here are his career stats with the Denver Broncos:(click to enlarge)
His receptions, total yards and touchdowns during the last 2 seasons have been very good. That could be attributed to the fact that his quarterback has been Peyton Manning. The quarterback situation in his first two seasons was less than optimal, yet his yards per catch average and his season long receptions have been consistent over his career with different quarterbacks.
His stats also indicate that he has the ability to stretch the field. This is a very important aspect of the passing game. Another important thing to consider is ball security. In four seasons, Decker has fumbled six times and lost three of them.
There are 44 other wide receivers who will become free agents this March. Some are going to be out of reach as their current teams will want to keep them and will offer them contracts. Others are considered undesirable for various reasons, but there are several who are feasible for the Raiders to consider. Decker is not necessarily an elite receiver, but he is solid and could also come at a pretty good price, making him a good free agent addition if the Raiders are able to sign him.