With so much talk about how good the Oakland Raiders offensive line was last season, it’s easy to forget how bad right tackle was. It seemed like every time Austin Howard was left without help, Derek Carr had a defender in his face immediately. While Howard is a good run blocker, his pass blocking has been borderline terrible. Meanwhile, Menelik Watson might be an upgrade but his injuries are a huge issue and the Raiders will likely let him walk in free agency.
Donald Penn is still playing like one of the best in the league but he only has a few years left at best. The Raiders have two youngsters in Vadal Alexander and Denver Kirkland but neither looks ready to be a starter, and may never reach that level. So with that in mind, here’s a look at some offensive tackles that are available in free agency:
Before you poo poo this idea because Whitworth is older and would just be a stop gap, please remember Donald Penn. People felt the same way, if not worse, about the idea of bringing Penn in. Whitworth may be older but he has only played better and better with age. He’s older but he’s one of the best tackles in the league. The question is whether or not he could play right tackle. Penn isn’t ready to go so if Whitworth won’t move over, then he likely won’t fit with this team as I can’t see Penn moving. They would likely make the oldest pair of bookends in the NFL but they also might be one of the best.
Riley Reiff might be the best fit for the Raiders. He played left tackle for the first four years in the NFL before being moved to the right side after the Lions drafted Taylor Deckard to play left tackle. Sounds familiar, right? A player who can play multiple positions on the offensive line… what’s that word the Raiders and I love so much? Versatility. Reiff is still pretty young and can play two positions on the offensive line pretty darn well. No, he’s not great, but he would easily be an upgrade over the Austin Howard and Menelik Watson due that held down right tackle last season. The problem is, Reiff will likely be looking to get paid like a left tackle which might leave the Raiders out of serious contention for his services.
This is probably the best player at right tackle. I personally think Reiff is the better fit because of his versatility, but Wager might be one of the best pure right tackles in the league. He’s still pretty young at 27 and could be an answer at right tackle for years to come. But it’s no secret that he’s one of the best right tackles in the league. He has already turned down an offer from his prior team, the Baltimore Ravens, and is likely looking to become one of if not the highest paid right tackle in the league. As attractive as he may be, the Raiders are likely past the days when they make free agent players the highest paid at a position.