The Raiders took a step forward in Jack Del Rio's first season as head coach.
The team's personnel has also seen signficant progress over the last two seasons.
Heading into free agency, Oakland will look to use its plethora of cap space to boost the roster to the next level.
Here are the team's upcoming free agents, as well as team needs.
Notable Free Agents: LT Donald Penn, OLB/DE Aldon Smith, WR Andre Holmes, T/G J'Marcus Webb, OLBBenson Mayowa (RFA), WR Rod Streater, G/C Tony Bergstrom, P Marquette King, CB Neiko Thorpe (RFA), FSLarry Asante, QB Matt McGloin (RFA), SS Taylor Mays, T/G Khalif Barnes
Defensive Back: With the exception of in-season waiver wire gem LCB David Amerson, the Raiders' cornerback play was among the NFL's worst. Oakland also must find an immediate replacement for retired FS Charles Woodson, who played at a high level in his final NFL season. Predictably, "$23 million" signing Nate Allen was an injury-ravaged liability at free safety, so the Raiders bit the bullet and released him right after the season. 2013 first-round CB D.J. Hayden is a certified bust. At very least, the Raiders need a slot corner and two new starting safeties. One option would be to slide CB T.J. Carrie to safety, where he played some snaps in 2015.
Inside Linebacker: Last offseason, the Raiders committed an $18 million deal to ILB Curtis Lofton and a $7 million pact to ILB Malcolm Smith. Neither panned out, with Lofton most notably getting creamed by tight ends in pass coverage while Smith was washed out against the run. Oakland simply needs better players here. An in-house candidate for more snaps is 2015 fifth-round pick Ben Heeney, whose defensive role expanded as his rookie year progressed.
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