We’re in the pre-offseason move calm before things go haywire. Yes, the Raiders have already started the process by cutting cornerback David Amerson (he now resides in Kansas City) and by informing free-agent kicker Sebastian Janikowski he will not be re-signed. There is still more work to come.
The Raiders may cut some more players before the start of the new league year March 14. We are going to rank the possible cut candidates in order of their importance to the team:
- Bruce Irvin: Irvin tweeted last week he doesn’t think he is certain to return. The Raiders owe him $8 million and he is already 30. Irvin is not a great player, but he is one of Oakland’s best defensive players and I’m not sure they can easily replace him. I think the Raiders would be better with Irvin than without Irvin this season.
- Michael Crabtree: There are plenty of reasons to believe Crabtree is on the chopping block. His play declined in 2017, he will be 31 in September and he is a distraction. The team would save $7 million by cutting him. I believe the Raiders can get better by cutting Crabtree, but there is also value in keeping him.
- Jared Cook: There have been reports that Cook could be in trouble. He is 30 and he is due $5 million. I’m not a big Cook guy. I think he is average. The Raiders would need to find an upgrade and there are no guarantees, but Cook is a consistent impact player.
- Marshawn Lynch: Lynch is a good player. But he will be 32 soon and the Raiders can easily replace him, getting better and younger at the same time.
- Sean Smith: I expect Smith to get cut. He is too expensive and not productive enough to keep. The Raiders need to get better at cornerback. He will be the easiest player on this list to replace.