By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 1:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Tom Cable has made no secret of his desire to build an offensive line to protect JaMarcus Russell. Loadholt appears agile enough as a zone blocker to appease Cable and huge enough coming off the bus to impress Al Davis.
He’s had a little trouble in a car, however, having been arrested on suspicion of DUI and transporting an open container in 2008. He has had some grade issues as well.
But as players begin to come off the board, the Raiders, having utilized their No. first and second round picks, see Loadholt is still available.
With only two picks remaining after the third-round selection _ the fourth (No. 126) and seventh (No. 216) _ the Raiders must dangle players currently under contract.
Keep in mind the Raiders aren’t likely to deal players who have recently restructured contracts, whether they have accepted cuts in pay or converted bonus money to salary. Nor are they going to deal players with huge accelerations.
That means Robert Gallery, Justin Fargas and Tommy Kelly are safe. So is Javon Walker (his two guaranteed years remaining on his contract make him untradable, anyway).
The following is list of players who will be either offered by the Raiders or requested by other teams on draft day or before.
RB Michael Bush: The subject of more trade rumors than any other Raider this year, Bush is due $460,000 this season and $550,000 in 2010. Besides his considerable skill, those salaries make him even more coveted.
But it also makes him coveted by Davis, no matter how much his indifference about being asked to play fullback rubbed Cable the wrong way.
Bottom line _ the Raiders will be asking for way too much for Bush to make a deal likely. They know they need all three running backs. He won’t be dangled to move up a few spots.
DE Derrick Burgess: Due $2 million in his last year under contract. The idea of having Burgess in a salary drive and double-digit sacks is appealing.
But the Raiders have been all about youth this offseason. If they think Trevor Scott can step in as a nickel rusher and use a high draft pick on another pass rusher, don’t rule out the possibility Burgess could be dealt.
S Michael Huff: Last year, the Raiders couldn’t deal Huff because they wanted too much in return. Now you wonder if there is any team that would give up a pick to take him.
Huff makes a reasonable $945,000 in salary this year, jumping to $5,750,000 in 2010 and $1,945,000 in 2011. That’s one reason why the Raiders haven’t cut him, but it also might make him tradable if a team wants to take a chance on a former No. 7 overall pick.
QB Andrew Walter: The Raiders won’t get much for a player who will be a free agent next year, but if someone is intrigued enough, the possibility to use Walter to move up in a round for a coveted player could present itself.
If it doesn’t work out, he could always be cut before his big salary kicks in next year.
DT Terdell Sands: Scheduled to make $1.3 million this season and $2.610,000 next season, Sands’ salary in 2009 isn’t prohibitive, and the Raiders could look to move him if they bring in a defensive tackle presence such as B.J. Raji or Ron Brace.
As disappointing as Sands has been, there’s always a team that thinks it can be the one to fix things and make him play as he did in 2006.
Sands’ reported in-season airline scuffle with punter Shane Lechler doesn’t help.
LB Kirk Morrison: This one is admittedly a reach, but hear me out.
Morrison has been in the middle of a soft rushing defense and too often doesn’t shed blocks or make plays until an opposing runner has gained his five or six yards. Say they think Rey Maualuga of USC is the answer in the middle.
They could either move Morrison to the outside or make the painful decision to part with him. It’s not like they haven’t dumped popular middle linebackers before. Just ask Greg Biekert and Danny Clark.
Morrison is in the last year of his contract and in his fifth year, but if there is no extension of the collective bargaining agreement, would be eligible only for restricted free agency _ meaning the team that trades for him could retain his services for at least another year.