ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Here are five moves the Oakland Raiders should consider when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday:
Priority No. 1 -- Re-sign LT Donald Penn: It is somewhat surprising the Raiders have yet to re-up their dependable blindside protector for young quarterback Derek Carr. True, Penn does turn 33 next month, but Pro Football Focus’ 10th-ranked left tackle has started 140 straight games, the third-longest active streak among offensive tackles in the NFL. And continuity and veteran leadership is key for a young team that fancies itself as being on the cusp.
Priority No. 2 -- Sign FS Eric Weddle: With Charles Woodson retired and the Raiders needing to rebuild their secondary, they have a chance to not only strengthen themselves but also weaken a divisional foe by signing the the-three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. At 31, Weddle has some mileage on him, but he also would have something to prove to his old team in San Diego.
Priority No. 3 -- Sign DE Chris Long: This is more than a cute narrative, the son of one of the team’s all-time greats, Howie Long, coming home, so to speak. After racking up 41.5 sacks between 2010 and 2013, Long is coming off two down, injury-filled years. And, like one of his father’s best friends as a player, Lyle Alzado, Long should have a lot left in the tank and even more to prove after being cut by the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2008.
Priority No. 4 -- Sign CB Sean Smith: As noted above, the Raiders can not only strengthen their secondary but weaken a divisional rival, this time the Chiefs. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Smith is a true No. 1 cornerback and his arrival would mean D.J. Hayden and David Amerson are able to continue their development. Yes, even if Hayden was a first-round pick. It’s a win-win, no?
Priority No. 5 -- Sign RB Doug Martin: True, the Raiders already have a No. 1 back in Latavius Murray, who rushed for 1,066 yards while averaging 4.0 yards per carry. But Martin averaged 4.9 yards per carry and is coming off a 1,402-yard season, second in the NFL. A one-two punch of Murray and Martin, along with Carr’s improving passing game, would cause consternation throughout the AFC West. So long as Martin, who grew up in nearby Stockton, would accept a shared role.