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Offseason Forecast: Oakland Raiders

With the offseason officially under way, Around The League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Oakland Raiders.


With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | Niners | Rams | Seahawks

What's changing

The Raiders stumbled to 4-12 this season, extending their playoff drought to 10 years. General manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen get the patience they deserve to turn things around, but the team fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, whose zone-blocking scheme spelled doom for Darren McFadden. Enter former Jaguars assistant Greg Olson, who will bring back a power-blocking scheme. A roster overhaul is on the way, but the Raiders don't have the cap room to make impact additions through free agency.

Biggest free agents

»TE Brandon Myers: Myers came out of nowhere to lead the Raiders in receiving, but his production is less the signal of a breakout and more an indicator of the Raiders' lack of downfield options.

» P Shane Lechler: Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski have given the Raiders' kicking game stability for more than a decade. But Lechler will be 37 by opening day and is coming off a mediocre season. This might be the end of a long marriage.

» DT Richard Seymour: A symbol of Al Davis' late-period salary cap struggles, Seymour won't be back. He'll still count for $14 million in dead money on Oakland's 2013 cap, however. Ouch.

Other key free agents: RT Khalif Barnes, QB Matt Leinart, CB Shawntae Spencer

What they need

NFL Exposure

Best of 2012: Oakland Raiders

Take a look at the best photos from the Oakland Raiders 2012 season.

The Raiders have serious issues with their pass rush (31st in sacks), in the secondary (no true No. 1 cornerback) and at wide receiver (no 1,000-yard producer since 2005). This is a very deep draft class at defensive line, which should mean good news on one of those fronts.

Oakland must make a decision on Carson Palmer, who will either restructure his bloated contract or be sent on his way. If the Raiders actually believe in Terrelle Pryor, this might be the time to give him a shot.

Offseason crystal ball

The Raiders won't be built in a day. They don't have the resources to spend in free agency, and Pro Bowl talent is scarce. We wouldn't be surprised if the Raiders traded out of the No. 3 spot in the draft to obtain more picks. If McKenzie gets bold, he could gain more picks by moving McFadden, who is entering a contract year.

McKenzie branded himself in Green Bay as a man who could build teams through the draft. After essentially being benched last season (the Raiders only had two mid-round picks), McKenzie gets his shot in April.

Home runs must be hit.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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