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Oakland Raiders

4 candidates to be retained for Raiders

Ted Nguyen

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Dec 31, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is defended by Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams during an NFL football game at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I wrote about four potential cut candidates for the Oakland Raiders. This week, we learned a little bit more about the future of some players on the bubble for the Raiders. New head coach Jon Gruden is still in the process of evaluating players but because of the new CBA rules, contact with these players are limited.

He’s likely had to rely on film and listening to accounts of people on the team last year. In an interview with Jerry McDonald from the Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group, Gruden said he’s “bumped” into a few players of interest in the organization. Gruden didn’t give a lot of clues about what his findings were, but the specific language he used did offer some optimism about keeping a couple of players.

1. Marshawn Lynch, RB

When McDonald asked if Lynch was going to be on the roster next year, Gruden responded with, “I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ballcarrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. that’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.”

Gruden has made his interest clear in Lynch since his introductory press conference. Although his quote doesn’t confirm that he’ll bring Lynch back, it does appear as though he’s counting on Lynch to be the lead back.

This year’s draft will be loaded with good running backs. Even if Lynch comes back, the Raiders should definitely consider adding a back in the middle of the 2018 NFL Draft.

2. Michael Crabtree, WR

Gruden:  “I got to bump into Crabtree. Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career. There’s some people in place, but we’ve got a number of issues that are concerning right now and we’re focusing on them.”

There is a lot of unknowns surrounding what happened with Crabtree behind the scenes last year, but there was clear discord. Based on Gruden’s comments, I would say it’s a 50/50 situation with Crabtree right now.

On one hand, you have an extremely productive, talented receiver who will be hard to replace with his price tag. On the other hand, his actions last year might be irreparable. However, there seemed to be a lot of issues with leadership and the coaching staff last year. Gruden will have to decide if he can trust Crabtree or not. Even with better leadership, things aren’t always going to always be sunshine and rainbows. How will Crabtree behave during tough times?

3. Bruce Irvin, EDGE

Irvin tweeted this yesterday, suggesting there may have been some talks about cutting him.

The Athletic’s John Middlekauff reported that the team wants to cut his $8.25 million dollar contract down to around $5 million. It sounds like the ball is in Irvin’s court. If he wants to stay in Oakland, take the pay cut. If he doesn’t, he can gamble that his hot end of the season play will get him a bigger contract in free agency.

4. T.J. Carrie, DB

Carrie is one of the better nickel corners in the league, and he has the ability to add depth to the outside if need be. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this year but had this to say in an interview with NBC’s Scott Bair:

“My intention is to be here,” Carrie said. “I’m a Bay Area guy, a hometown kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else. This is a passion for me. I dreamed about playing for the Raiders for such a long time. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish (with the Raiders).”

The Raiders are already extremely thin at corner, and if Carrie leaves that gives the team another need that it has to fill. The Raiders will get 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley back from injury next season, and they are very excited about his potential, but Conley is the only DB that assured a spot on the roster right now.

Gruden and his new staff won’t be able to officially meet with players until April 2nd, but here are some big decisions that have to be made before the start of free agency (March 14th).

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Ted Nguyen is a football coach, offensive coordinator, QB coach, teacher and blogger. He graduated from UC Davis with his degree in English-Critical Analysis. He enjoys long walks on the beach and researching and writing about the latest developments and trends in football strategy.

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