NFL rumors have swirled around the Oakland Raiders being big players in free agency because they had the second most salary cap space of any team in the league. Kelechi Osemele of the Baltimore Ravens is the best and most hyped offensive lineman in free agency this year. The Raiders happen to have a need on the offensive line. According to ESPN, they’re trying to resolve that by offering a $60 million contract to Osemele.
Despite being a monstrous 6’5″, 330 pounds, the number that stands out most for Kelechi Osemele is the number one. That’s how many sacks that he gave up last season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. The franchise started Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, Jimmy Clausen, and Ryan Mallett at various points during the season. All four of them would gladly tell you how much they loved having Osemele protecting them.
After years of searching for a quarterback, including an awful stint with JaMarcus Russell at the helm, the Oakland Raiders have found themselves a quality starter in Derek Carr. With the former Fresno State Bulldogs star firmly entrenched at the position, the Raiders now have a goal of doing their best to protect him. Carr does Oakland no good if he’s standing on the sidelines as opposed to being on the field.
Since the Oakland Raiders had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie knew that he needed to beef up the offensive line. McKenzie comes from the fantastic Green Bay Packers organization, so he knows a thing or two about how to properly build a team. Latavius Murray, Roy Helu Jr, and Taiwan Jones can do their best, and it would mean nothing if the offensive line weren’t able to get a push.
Fortunately for the Oakland Raiders, run blocking is the specialty of Kelechi Osemele. The guy just loves to maul defensive linemen and linebackers. Osemele is not a bad pass blocker, as evident by the fact that he only gave up a single sack last season, but he’s a way better run blocker, which says a lot. Latavius Murray is going to love it when Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio calls a running play where he’s following Kelechi in the trenches.
Jack Del Rio is going to need to figure out where he’s going to play Kelechi Osemele. The former Iowa State Cyclones star excelled at playing left guard for the Baltimore Ravens. However, the Oakland Raiders are paying him enough money to play left tackle, where Donald Penn currently resides. The Raiders are said to be high on Gabe Jackson as the left guard, so there’s a chance that Penn might move to the right side, if Oakland decides to keep him around.
For those wondering why the Baltimore Ravens would allow such a talented player to leave their organization, it comes down to economics. While the franchise does like what they see in Kelechi Osemele, they simply did not feel that it was the best use of their salary cap space to pay him more than Marshal Yanda, a player that many in the NFL believe is the best offensive guard in the business, so they allowed him to seek out the bigger money that the Oakland Raiders were offering.
The Oakland Raiders feel that they are close to returning to the NFL Playoffs, so it is okay if they try to make a big splash in free agency. Kelechi Osemele is either going to help them achieve that goal, or he is going to become a player that Raiders fans regret having on their team.
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