Anytime a team dips six games in the standing from one season to another, there is going to be turnover. Add in the fact, there is a coaching staff change and an offseason of upheaval is probably in store.
I’m hesitant to write that the Oakland Raiders’ roster will undergo a major facelift in 2018 because there are some solid pieces. But there will be some changes. Today, let’s look at some players who were the primary starter last season who may be in trouble of getting cut, not re-signed or demoted, whatever the case may be:
WR Michael Crabtree: There have been reports the Raiders plan on releasing Crabtree. He has two years left on his contract. He is due to make more than $7.6 million this season. He will be 31 in September and he declined in the second half of last season. It makes sense that Oakland looks for more youth and production.
RT Marshall Newhouse: He was decent last season, his first in Oakland. But Newhouse is one of those players teams always try to upgrade from. He is making a reasonable $1.51 million deal in 2018, so it wouldn’t be a terrible fit he is the starter. Still, I can see the Raiders, at least, trying to find more competition for him.
LT Donald Penn: Penn will be 35 and he will make more than $10 million. His play declined some last season. I would guess the Raiders keep Penn for one last season. But if they want to go to second-year player, David Sharpe, who played at the end of the season when Penn broke his foot, it would save a ton of money. For that reason, I’d keep my eye on Penn.
RB Marshawn Lynch: Like Crabtree, there have been some a lot of the talk that the Raiders will walk away from him. The Raiders have an option with no dead money, (just like with Crabtree) so they can walk away from Lynch who will turn 32 in April.
DT Justin Ellis: He is a free agent and the Raiders will likely try to upgrade there. The former fourth-round pick has had his moments, but the coolest thing about him in Oakland has been his nickname. I guess we will be saying goodbye to Jelly.
MLB NaVorrro Bowman: Bowman was solid in Oakland. I could see Gruden wanting him back. But he plays a position where the Raiders needs to get younger.
WLB Nichola Morrow: You all know I love this kid’s story. He went from an undrafted Division III player to a starter in a matter of months. That’s nuts. Morrow has a chance to be a decent player, but if the Raiders can upgrade and let him learn as a backup, it would be for the best.
CB: David Amerson: Amerson may be on his way out. The Raiders can cut him with no dead money. They got excited and signed him to a four-year deal after he played well as a waiver claim in 2015. He has been so-so and injured since. I can see him either being asked to take a pay cut or being cut.
CB Sean Smith: Smith ended the season well. But he is due $8.5 million this year and he has a pending criminal case. I expect him to be cut. Again, no dead money involved.
FS Reggie Nelson: Nelson will be 35 in September and he is a free agent. He looked old in 2017. I know his former coach in Cincy – Paul Guenther – is the new defensive coordinator in Oakland. Still, it would be a surprise if the Raiders wanted Nelson back.
Conclusion: It’s early and the decision are still to be made. But there is a chance, nearly half the Raiders’ starting 22 could be replaced in 2018.