Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) at the line of scrimmage with center Brian de la Puente (60) during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Five 2014 NFL Free Agents They Should Pursue

No team has more money to throw around in 2014 NFL free agency than the Oakland Raiders.  Here are some quality targets they can pursue.

Zane Beadles

There’s no getting around facts.   The Raiders offensive line was among the worst in the league in 2013.  From the tackles to the guards it was bad.  Improvements must be made straight away, no matter where they start.  Zane Beadles proved an excellent fixture for the Denver Broncos at guard during their Super Bowl run.  He hasn’t missed a single game since being drafted by the team.  His steady presence would be most welcome for Oakland, especially if it comes at the expense for a division rival.

Brian De La Puente

Stefen Wisniewski rated out among the worst centers in the league last season and he’s clearly either going to be shifted elsewhere or removed entirely.  That opens up yet another interior position.  One name that could lend a huge hand is Brian De La Puente.  The New Orleans Saints center is steady, dependable and excels in pass protection.  Given what the Saints are doing just to keep Jimmy Graham, it stands to reason they may not have the money to keep De La Puente.

Henry Melton

Controlling the line of scrimmage was a problem all years for the Oakland Raiders defense and it often resulted in humiliating instance like giving up seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles or over 50 points in a single game.  They need more disruption up front.  Defensive tackle Henry Melton could be out in Chicago.  The former Pro Bowler is in his prime and does his best work rushing the passer.

Eric Decker

Speaking of stealing from division rivals, the Raiders could hamper the Broncos in another way by swiping wide receiver Eric Decker.  Oakland has a glaring need for more dependable pass target and Decker, while not elite is a proven producer at 6’3″ and in his prime.  All the Raiders would then have to do is provide another quality talent to the mix and they could have the makings of a real passing attack.

Sam Shields

Last but not least, the second culprit for the woeful defensive efforts in Oakland was the cornerback position.  D.J. Hayden did not live up to his first round billing, but he also didn’t have much help.  Getting a quality corner in 2014 NFL free agency could lend a huge hand.  Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers is often overlooked but has proven among the best at his position expected to become available.  His four interceptions and 17 pass deflections in 2013 are proof enough of that.

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Tags: Eric Decker Henry Melton NFL Oakland Raiders Sam Shield Zane BEadles

  • B Christopher

    This list could go on and on and on. Why stop at 5? This list could be 50 names in length. Aside from decent linebacker play occasionally, the Raiders need a complete makeover. Nobody should feel safe, and for goodness sakes Mark, Reggie, Dennis, and the entire scouting department, let’s put together a WINNER for a change. I have been a Raiders fan my entire life, I grew up in the late 60s, 70s, high school in the early 80s, and it meant something to be a RAIDERS FAN, and be a part of RAIDER NATION. I have a daughter that look at me like I am crazy to be a Raiders fan. My son is as loyal as they come, and like me, is a diehard Raiders fan, but, he hasn’t gotten to enjoy what the raiders have always stood for, exceptional defenses and a rushing attack that was second to none. That’s Raider football as I know it. But, that product has not been on the field since I was in high school in the early 80s. I’m calling you out Raiders front office….. Put a winner on the field NOW, we have endured and persevered the crap that has been out there for far too long. I don’t blame the athletes, because they are all, bar none, the best athletes in the world, but, putting a winner out there is far more than assembling good athletes. They have to be WINNERS! Winners win, and losers lose, it’s always been that way, but, it starts at the top, so Mark, Reggie, Dennis, SHOW ME A WINNER!

    • Erik Lambert

      Indeed. They need to do some serious spending and draft this year.

    • Brian Huth

      As a lifelong Raiders fan, I feel your pain Christopher. But I don’t want to see them spend everything and end up in salary cap hell. I believe building through the draft is the smartest way to build the team. With that said, I would love them to sign some FAs, but just don’t go Al crazy and overpay.

    • Raider Grant

      Hell Yeah! Im a third generation Raider Nation, and grew up in prime of the greatness. Watched two men go to grave holding on to fact they knew Sliver & Black would bounce back! I’ve endured the hate, I’ve stayed loyal, I’ve question every dumb move & bad beat that was dished out. I believed once a new era was in place things could get better. I know it takes time, but this is year three & I lost hope in new regime. Don’t give me BS bout salary cap either. It doesn’t take genius to cut personnel, but takes gifted person to keep personnel, acquire personnel, and draft potential stars. Agreed, shit or get off the pot!

  • stucktrader

    I think in the end Raiders need to get that O-line fixed… They let Satele go… he was cheap… and allowed Wiz to play where he should… OG… The Left side of that O-line was fine (granted Veldeer was hurt this past season). IN any case… get a bully of an O-line going that will protect whatever QB ends up starting. Of course, if Bridgewater somehow ends up being OAKs pick, they have to take care of the kid and establish the running game…

    Sure, defense wins championships… but at least giving your team a chance to score can get you to the playoffs…

    In other news… not a lot of teams are going to beat the Seahawks/Niners until those teams have to pay their QBs beyond their rookie contracts…

    • Erik Lambert

      Or if one of those two gets injured, which is possible considering how often they run.

    • Gary Allen

      The Raiders had probably the worst starting left guard in the league in Lucas Nix so I don’t see how that makes the left side of their line fine. Barnes did a decent job in Veldheer’s absence and Oakland should resign him for depth. But Satele is one of the worst centers in the league as Wiz is a top ten.

      • Lar Dog

        I wonder what the hold up is resigning Veldheer. Yes, he was hurt most of the season, talentless Raiders, ? Veldheer is an anchor at LT. I heard reports that he was not that good, I have heard reports that he is at least a top 10 LT, even top 5. Him and WIZ at LG made quite a tandem.

        Mack would be the best signing, but BIG $. REG, get the oline set

  • razkaz187

    I don’t see them spending too much on any big name player

  • Gary Allen

    This was a horrible horrible horrible article. First and foremost, Stefen Wisniewski rated out among the worst centers in the league last
    season and he’s clearly either going to be shifted elsewhere or removed
    entirely. I have never heard anything bad about the play of Wiz. And who rated him out as among the worst in the league last year. PFF has him ranked as the ninth best center in the NFL last year grading out at +10.4. Brian De La Puente was ranked 16th while grading out at at a respectable +4.0. Wiz is a very under rated. Lucas Nix on the other hand was probably the worst starting left guard in the NFL. But then you turn and say how, Zane Beadles proved an excellent fixture for the Denver Broncos at guard during their Super Bowl run. He was ranked at 51 in the league among guards and I have read before on AFC west blogs where the Broncos have wanted to upgrade at Beadles position. Heck Brisiel ranked higher than Beadles and he played most of the season on one leg. The Raiders do need improvement out of the play of their guards but if they want to really improve and try to grab a player from within their division it would be a lot more advantageous to go after Geoff Schwartz or Jon Asamoah. And how can you put Henry Melton is coming into his prime. He’s coming off knee surgery. I know that knee surgeries aren’t as big of a deal as they once were but it would be stupid to sign him long term as he goes into his prime and the Raiders need stability. Pat Sims played well last year and they would be better off going after players like Linval Joseph, Arthur Jones, or Clinton McDonald. Lastly, I do like the idea of Oakland going after Sam Shields. He has good size and speed plus I think he still think he’ll improve as a player. But he is not one of the best corners in the league. Especially with the way he struggles against the run. I don’t know how much thought and research you put in your stories but this one was horrible. No way around that. Especially the bit about Wiz. Wisniewski is a top ten center in the NFL hands down. Plus the coaches rave about him so he isn’t going anywhere.

  • Hayekian

    Terrible article! Has the author ever watched or played a game? Poring over stats and fantasy nonsense is juvenile. Eric Decker is a #2 receiver whose separation success is predicated upon having a QB like Manning whose accuracy allows Decker to work off picks. Decker knows this and is not leaving Denver unless someone is stupid enough to pay Javon Walker money.
    Where did you get the Wiz stats? He graded out as a top 10 center last year, while Brian De La Puente has not been in the top 15 for the last 2 years!
    Zane Beadles??? Did you even watch what Seattle did to him in the Super Bowl?? He is a zone blocking guard with slow feat who lunges against quicker d-lineman.
    Henry Melton is coming off a severe knee injury. Great idea! Let’s go back into cap hell by signing a 300 pounder with bad knees.

  • Jared Myers

    The only good thing about this not-too-good article is the Sam Shields part. I would definitely go for him, and he just might end up on Oakland due to his Reggie McKenzie connection.