Nov 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: DeSean Jackson Would Cap Free Agency Rally

Nearly every writer, including yours truly, buried the Oakland Raiders for their early free agency struggles.  However, after a flurry of eleventh hour moves, including a hot pursuit of DeSean Jackson they may be in prime position to turn the tables on their doubters.

Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer losses hurt them early

Really the head shaking started early for the Raiders in free agency.  Their two most important free agents, defensive end Lamarr Houston and left tackle Jared Veldheer shunned their former team in favor of deals elsewhere despite the fact Oakland had more money to offer.  Obviously only the players and front office people know the details, but in the end the Raiders couldn’t hang on to them, leaving two gaping holes at two key positions for the team before free agency was barely underway.  Not a good start for a team that went 4-12 two years in a row.

Roger Saffold fiasco started the “here we go again” chants

The doubting and laughter then reached a fever pitch when one of their biggest signings of the opening period, guard/tackle Roger Saffold came in from St. Louis and reportedly failed his physical.  As a result ownership voided the deal and Saffold quickly signed a five-year contract to return to the Rams, leaving the Oakland Raiders fan base in a brief state of shock.  More than few certain chanted “here we go again” given the sour luck the team has had in acquiring talent the past few years.

Justin Tuck and Matt Schaub highlight solid veteran additions

Finally things began to come together for them.  It really started with the addition of defensive end Justin Tuck.  The two-time Pro Bowler is on the downside of his career at age 31 but comes off a season in which he had 11.5 sacks.  Together with fellow discarded pass rusher LaMarr Woodley, it seemed the Raiders finally had some legitimate disruptive potential up front.  Fellow veteran lineman Antonio Smith and cornerback Tarell Brown soon came in to help.  Meanwhile the offensive got some helpful experience up front with guard Kevin Booth and tackle Austin Howard, polished off by signing three-time Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew and a trade for two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Schaub.

Jackson could push the Raiders towards Mike Evans in NFL draft

Adding such a wealth of experience, winning experience at that should allow the Oakland Raiders to seek the best players possible in the draft, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop shopping in free agency.  Ironically their biggest splash may come weeks after the initial first wave of signings.  DeSean Jackson, unlike the other additions is in his prime at age 27.  He has his personality quirks but the former Eagles receiver is a legitimate speed threat and dangerous with the ball in his hands.  Putting him on the offense would cap a series of solid move by the team, and perhaps entice GM Reggie McKenzie to eye wide receiver Mike Evans in the first round, giving his team the perfect balance of speed and size.

Either way, landing Jackson would do what the Raiders intended to all along when the rollercoaster started:  get better.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: DeSean Jackson Jared Veldheer Justin Tuck LaMarr Houston Matt Schaub Oakland Raiders Roger Saffold

  • Chris Schroeder

    If they sign Jackson Erik, I honestly don’t see them going after Mike Evans. They would have a plethora of wide receivers at that point. Desean Jackson, James Jones, Denarius moore, Rod Streeter, Andre Holmes, Jurion Criner.

    With other holes to fill I would think their playmakers would all be in order if DJax signs. I would have to say they would need to draft Greg Robinson to replace Veldeer and give Schaub the protection he needs up front. It looks like the running back and wide receiver corps would be solidified. They also are thin at cornerback, they lost two cornerbacks in free agency and only replaced one. It will be interesting to see which direction they go on draft day. After last years draft I won’t count anything out

  • Brutus

    If we get Jackson, I don’t see us drafting a receiver in the first round. I still see us trading back for picks if RM can find a decent deal. He did a nice job in free agency. Now he needs to bring in the players these vets will mentor. If we trade back far enough in the first round, the best player available could be at any position depending how the draft has developed. If we can’t trade back, I like us taking Mack or possibly one of the o-linemen. I see us drafting a promising cornerback in the first few rounds. I think Reggie will make numerous trades of picks this draft, possibly in both directions – although the first round will definitely be a trade back.

  • Brian Huth

    Khalil Mack would would give would be a nice pick up on D.

  • 757Raiderfan

    Still love the Mike Evans pick just not sold on the raiders taking him at 5 I’d love it but who knows what McKenzie’s plan is

    • Erik Lambert

      Trade back has to be on his mind but that will be tough with Houston and St. Louis thinking the same thing.

      • 757Raiderfan

        I agree 100% but even if RM trades back I just can’t see him picking Mike Evans I think we go OL or even maybe off the radar with a S or another CB

        • Erik Lambert

          Anything would be a possibility at this point, which is exactly what RM wants. The less teams know about his intentions, the more antsy they’ll get to move up.

  • Sterling Archer

    The signing of Jackson by Oakland would make the pick of a WR in the 1st a waste of a pick. With holes at CB( need to get a 2nd or 3rd CB based upon your individual thoughts of DJH) and FS(long term as Woodson doesn’t have much left) and LB (we still lack a true MLB) as well as issues at TE and RG/RT (as has been reported Howard is being looked at G) and a host of good player available in these positions with the 1st round where the raiders pick I don’t see it in the first round, especially when you assume a 1st round pick should come in a play right away.
    I see
    1) Eric Ebron (trade down to 8 with Minn so they can get QB before Tampa) Oak has been adding weapons for Schaub here’s a shiny new toy that Schaub can use as a blanket if needed…
    2) Ra’shede Hageman DT Minnesota ( can be a big disruptive DT long term piece OAK is missing on DL)
    3) Aaron Murray QB Georgia ( To play understudy to Schaub and be Raiders QB of future)
    3*) Cyril Richardson G Baylor (large OG with LT experience another piece to the puzzle to keep schaub off his back,and improve the running game)
    4) Christian Jones MLB FSU (solid MLB who can cover a TE in Man which is needed in AFC West)
    7) Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma ( Nickle CB who needs a bit of development but is a physical guy who could easily make the roster)
    * Trade with Minnesota
    I know not a huge popular picks but RM has been more about finding his pieces and building a team, each pick in 1st, 2nd and 3rd could play right away (minus Murray who we established is there to build) 4th and 7th are developmental guys right where we should be picking.

  • bigROC209

    The Raiders need to make this happen, then they could go defense or one of the top LT’s at #5.

  • JamFan

    Well it is looking like we are not going to get DJax, either because he prefers another team or the Raiders prefer to go in another direction. Either way, it is looking like Sammy Watkins is their pick at #5 if he is still availalble. If you look at his work, he is likely to be the next DJax anyway(maybe even better) without all the baggage. Sammy is one of the nicest guys in the draft. The new face of the Raiders. The Raider Nation is going to fall in love with this kid.

    • Erik Lambert

      Would’ve been a nice fit but it’s clear Jackson has revenge on his mind. Plus I’m sure the ‘Skins threw a lot of money at him. Watkins will be a perfect “consolation” prize if the Raiders do take him.