Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 3/5/12
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What's more exciting: NFL Free Agency or the NFL Draft? I'd say Free Agency this year, because it's got some REAL big hooters on it.
 
With no draft picks on day one, free agency may be where the most change comes for the Raiders. There's a lot of free agents, so there's a good chance to upgrade that lackluster defense.


The Raiders D has been under performing like an impotent man who promises his wife love, only to slide off the bed, and knock himself out on the nightstand. That's what the Raiders defense has been known to do...hurt themselves.


 
A good way to correct that problem is discipline and addition by subtraction. CUT THE FAT! Kam Wimbley makes a lot, Tommy Kelly makes a lot...and for what?
 
When I see a 3-4 nose tackle in free agency like Aubrayo Franklin, who can't demand a salary like he did last off-season, I say, "BEEFCAKE!!!"
 
Man, wouldn't that eight million that's being paid to Tommy (don't-stop-the-run) Kelly be better paid to Aubrayo Franklin? I think...YES. Look, Kelly was a bad end in the 4-3, a decent pass-rusher inside at tackle, but couldn't stop the run, won't stop the run, and for the love of God, it's about time the middle of that Raider D-line boasted some stone-walling BEEF!
 
Whether Kelly stays or not, the Raiders will need a nose tackle to smell out what's cooking on offense and stick a spork in it. It's very unlikely the Raiders can afford either of the top two nose tackles (Sione Pouha from the Jets and Paul Soliai from the Fins), so signing Franklin would a good choice.

If there's ONE free agent who is the most likely to become a Raider, it's Tracy Porter. Why? Dennis Allen coached him up to start his career in NO, won a Superbowl with him, and the Raiders may need him in case Peyton Manning brings his necktie to Kansas City. Oh yeah, I said it.
 
Tracy Porter is twenty-five, smart, disciplined, and instinctive in coverage. Basically...he's everything the Raiders corners are not. So it would be a good move for Allen to bring one of his boys aboard as he installs his new defensive mentality.

What else? Even if the Raiders can afford to sign Porter and/or Franklin, they could use a veteran in their linebacker core.
 
Raiders will need to upgrade there, and there's one guy in free agency who would be a low-risk/high-reward for the Raiders and that's Panther's free agent linebacker Dan Connor. He's been hurt at times, but when healthy, he's a good backer to have, will only add competition, and could come cheap.

I expect Mckenzie's first pick to be a linebacker either way, but I'd be surprised if Dennis Allen doesn't nab at least one veteran flapjacker with some 3-4 experience. Allen will provide the syrup, but he needs those pancakes, baby.

Raiders should also consider adding an end for the rotation in their hybrid 3-4 defense. A guy like Bears free agent DE Israel Idonije would be a tremendous acquisition, and help the transition into a 3-4. A very underrated end and stout against the run, he would add great depth to say the least.

That's what I'm thinking on for this crazy Free Agency that's set to begin on March 13th.

Boy oh boy NFL fans are like a sweating dog right now...drooling over the possibilities.

Trust me, I'd know. I'm already on my third box of popcorn..

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