Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
With the free agency news unfolding quickly, a certain plot has been unfolding that I can’t seem to shake. The Oakland Raiders could be in the early stages of a Jets West Rebuild. A team comprised of former Jets players in the mold of the Washington Redskins hijack a few years back which took four starting players from New York.
In this case, the Raiders could be receiving cast offs and not free agents that the team is actively trying to retain. If you want to look for a comeback team of 2014, look no further than Oakland. If…. (and this is a big if) the Raiders follow a free agency period that I’m imagining.
The Raiders are currently sitting at around 50 million in player salary. The current collective bargaining agreement requires that teams be at minimum of 89% of the max salary cap to maintain a competitive league. The only way at this point for the Raiders to reach the MINIMUM salary cap is to go spend big on free agents.
First free agent is a no brainer. Darrelle Revis, and his $16 million a year non-guaranteed salary provides an upgrade in a division that has super passing teams like Denver and San Diego. Next up is the reports you’ve read today that Austin Howard is visiting Oakland. Now they have potential starting RT and CB locked up. The Raiders could get into a bidding war with New York, and as we know GM Idzik is known for his frugality. I expect Howard to land in Oakland if he follows the money.
Last up is the potential stunner. Mark Sanchez is expected to be released by the Jets shortly. If that happens, expect Oakland who needs a starting QB to pounce on the California Kid. The Raiders could be able to throw money at Sanchez in an incentive laden deal, and I for one believe he might be able to deliver. Remember Sanchez’s days in USC, or the annual “Jets West” camp he was making guys go to? Now you have a starting QB, RT, and CB all reuniting in Oakland.
With the 5th pick in the 2014 draft Oakland is in prime position to get the biggest playmaker in this year’s draft Sammy Watkins. The teams above them either need a QB, or offensive line help. This could potentially give a run based, game managed offense in Oakland with Jennings and McFadden, a first-rate # 1 wide receiver to build around.
While I’m not going to say that Oakland is going to fly by the likes of Denver or even San Diego for that matter, I have seen what a good Jets team could do with a stellar defense, a good running game, and a young game managing Mark Sanchez at the helm.
Don’t be surprised if Oakland is this year’s worst to first success story. Also don’t be surprised to see Mark Sanchez throwing TD’s to Sammy Watkins, and people in New York saying “Guess we goofed on that one”. Like a bad suspense movie, you can already see the writing on the wall.