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Scouting the enemy: Oakland Raiders

Only Jacksonville has more cap space than Oakland, which has plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders have been nothing short of a disaster since going to Super Bowl XXXVII back in 2002. In the time following that appearance, the Raiders are without a playoff berth or winning season.

Over the past three seasons, Oakland suffered through the Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano experience, going a combined 11-37. However, the team made a widely applauded move by hiring Jack Del Rio away from the Denver Broncos to become the new head coach. With a potentially solid quarterback in Derek Carr and a stud linebacker in Khalil Mack, the Raiders have some building blocks for the first time in a decade.

Still, the roster is pretty barren. There are holes all over the place on both offense and defense, especially at skill positions. This is undoubtedly a team still rebuilding and probably a last-place squad in 2015, but the arrow is finally pointing up.

So where do the Raiders go from here? Let's break down what their offseason will look like:

Cap Space

Oakland is projected to have $51.9 million at a projected $140 million limit, per Over The Cap.

Pending unrestricted free agents

- Davis Ausberry, TE
- Vincent Brown, WR
- Darren McFadden, RB
- Denarius Moore, WR
- Pat Sims, DE
- C.J. Wilson, DE
- Stefen Wisniewski, C

Contracts to watch

Incredibly, there is not one impact player expected to be a free-agent after next season. Oakland might be bad, but it has an insanely clean cap sheet. Maybe there is a connection...

Cap casualties?

Oakland has a litany to create even more cap space. After signing a bevy of free agents last offseason, general manager Reggie McKenzie can now begin cutting most of them. Matt Schaub will be released at a savings of $5.5 million, with Maurice Jones-Drew potentially following at $2.5 million. Defensive linemen Antonio Smith and LaMarr Woodley are also a combined savings of $9.35 million. All told, McKenzie can get younger and save over $17 million.

Positions of need

- Inside linebacker
- Wide receiver
- Cornerback

What they are saying

Over at Silver and Black Pride, Levi Damien writes that McKenzie should be looking hard at bringing in a big-mane receiver:

The top receivers who could possibly hit the market are Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin, and Randall Cobb. You figure a couple of them will re-sign with their current team and the remaining guys will be in high demand which will mean big money. The Raiders have it, but will Reggie McKenzie offer the kind of guaranteed dollars it takes to woo one of them? It depends on how much priority he places on it.

Of all their own free agents, it would seem obvious the Raiders would want to retain Wisniewski. However, the center has been turning down offers from Oakland and now appears set to hit free agency, something Damien wrote about:

So, what we have is an original, home grown Raiders player set to become a free agent on a team which could have over $60 million in money to spend under the salary cap. Sound familiar? It should. The Raiders did the exact same thing last year with Jared Veldheer and Rashad Jennings, with the same huge surplus of cash to spend, and now they look to have a team with just as many holes to fill as they had before.

If this comes to fruition, it is a terrible job by McKenzie. With so much money available under the cap, McKenzie should be attempting to keep all good talent in-house along with signing a few key pieces.

I would expect the Raiders to make a serious run at Ndamukong Suh. Suh could command a contract close to $100 million and is a perfect fit not only scheme-wise for Del Rio's 4-3 defense, but also in attitude. Oakland is known as a place where bad intentions are welcome, and Suh certainly fits the bill.