Raiders center Stefen Wisniewksi will test the free agent market. There will be no last-minute saves to keep him in silver and black.
There’s a value discrepancy between Wisniewski and the team that selected him in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, one that’s existed since extension talks were broached last fall.
Despite Wisniewski’s desire to stay in Oakland, it seems extremely likely that he’ll play in a different city next season. While the door on Wisniewski has not been slammed shut by any stretch, the Raiders seem content to move on and employ another center.
There will be quality options in free agency, a recommended avenue for a position that benefits from experience and savvy, especially when working with a young quarterback like the Raiders have in Derek Carr.
Here are a few veteran options the Raiders could sign to take the reigns from Wiz:
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Rodney Hudson (Kansas City): 6-foot-2, 299 pounds, 4 accrued seasons, Florida State
Stats: 39 tackles, 12 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
A good fit?: Hudson has been an excellent part of the Chiefs offensive line, and many believe he’d be a good fit for the Raiders’ up-tempo scheme under new coordinator Bill Musgrave. One problem: Hudson could get expensive. The center market has exploded in the past few seasons, and he could get serious cash on the open market. The Chiefs are also pushing to keep him.
Chris Myers (Houston): 6-foot-4, 286 pounds, 10 accrued seasons, Miami
A good fit?: Myers got cut by the Texans, but it was due to his $8 million cap number, not his performance. The Raiders had interest in the 33-year old Myers, FOX Sports reported, though he’s played in a zone blocking scheme his entire professional career. The Raiders plan to use a power scheme under coach Jack Del Rio. Myers could adapt, but it’s uncertain how serious the Raiders are in acquiring a player with tremendous leadership skills and good play left in the tank.
Brian De La Puente (Bears): 6-foot-3, 306 pounds, 5 accrued seasons, California-Berkeley
A good fit?: The former Cal Bear would be a solid choice to return to his home state. He can ply center and guard, and has fared well as a starter in recent seasons. He ended up on injured reserve with an ankle injury last season but, if he’s healthy, he could step in and run the show for a reasonable rate.
Others: Will Montgomery (Denver), Dominic Raiola (Detroit)
Overall: The inability to retain Wisniewski seems strange, and a bit unnecessary, considering Wisniewski's contributions. The Raiders have options in free agency, and could use a veteran influence to work closely with Carr. Hudson has generated buzz, but a bidding war for a center seems extreme.