The Oakland Raiders figure to be a major player in free agency this year after a dismal 2017 NFL campaign that saw the team miss the playoffs after an impressive 2016 NFL season. The Raiders took a step back on both sides of the ball and now have an entire offseason to retool the roster.
Jon Gruden was immediately hired after the end of the 2017 NFL season and the front office now has the task of providing him with a roster that can execute his West Coast offense. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, it appears that Gruden has his eye on bringing in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin:
Sources: #Raiders coach Jon Gruden recently arranged for a face-to-face meeting with former #Bucs RB Doug Martin and came away impressed with him as a person. Oakland expected to make a strong push for Martin in free agency.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2018
Martin, like the Raiders, had a rough 2017 NFL season as he missed the first four games due to suspension and struggled to find his running form throughout the year. The running back saw his snaps decrease as the Buccaneers looked for a spark for their running game and it was almost a certainty that the two sides would part ways.
Adding a back like Martin makes sense for the silver and black given that the league has trended toward backfields that can give defenses several different looks. Gruden has already come out and said that he expects Marshawn Lynch to be a big part of the offense, so Martin figures to be the change-of-pace back to give Beast Mode a breather. Expect the Raiders to be linked to several more notable free agents as the signing period inches closer.