Originally published on Silver & Black Report on March 5, 2014
The Raiders have long suffered from the lack of having a "franchise quarterback" and will likely look to address this problem in the draft, but that won't stop them from looking at the free agent veteran quarterbacks on the market.
Terrelle Pryor was unable to take a hold of the starting quarterback job as he struggled after a hot start. Un-drafted rookie Matt McGloin showed signs of potential but not enough to halt the Raiders' search for a franchise quarterback.
Unfortunately for the Raiders and other quarterback-hungry teams, this year's free agent group leaves some to desire.
With that said, lets take a look at some potential free agent quarterbacks that the Raiders may look at.
Josh Freeman, age 26 - Freeman seems like the popular first name mentioned when associating a free agent quarterback with the Raiders, and there seems to be good reason. Freeman, who has been in the NFL for five seasons now, no doubt had his best season in with the Buccaneers under Raiders current offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Freeman finished the 2010 season throwing for over 3,400 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions on 61 percent completion rate with Olson mentoring him. With Freeman's numbers faltering after Olson's departure, head coach Greg Schiano and the front office decided to let him go. Freeman then signed with the Vikings and was inserted as the starter just two weeks later, completing just 20/53 passes against the New York Giants. That was the last chance he would have starting with the Vikings. At just 26 years of age, Freeman probably has the most upside of the options but it has to be alarming that the Bucs worried about work ethic and then the Vikings only gave him once chance to start after paying him $2 million for the remainder of the year.
Michael Vick, age 33 - As has been the case for much of his career, Vick remains an interesting prospect for any team that chooses to sign him. Vick showed at the beginning of last year that he still has NFL-starter talent but was unable to stay healthy, a problem that has plagued him for much of his career. Vick has only played all 16 games just once in his career, the 2006 season with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick started just six games last year before Nick Foles stepped in and had the remarkable year he did. Vick finished the year completing just 54.6 percent of his throws with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Though he has shown the ability to still be a starter in the league, it is hard for a team to depend on Vick to remain healthy for a full year with the type of play he provides.
Matt Cassel, age 31 - Like Freeman, Cassel is entering free agency after spending last year with the Minnesota Vikings though Cassel chose to opt out of his deal and test free agency. Cassel first became a prominent name when he took over the New England Patriots for Tom Brady who was injured in the first game of the year back in 2008, completing 63.4 percent of the passes for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Cassel then spent the next five seasons starting with the Kansas City Chiefs with his best season coming in 2010 when he threw for over 3,100 yards on 58.2 percent completion with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. In his only season with the Vikings, Cassel appeared in nine games and completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 1,807 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Cassel has often struggled with pressure but would provide a veteran presence to help tutor any drafted quarterback the Raiders may select.
Josh McCown, age 34 - McCown enters free agency with one of the most question marks out of the free agent quarterbacks. The 34-year-old quarterback remained rather irrelevant since leaving the Raiders after the 2007 season when he appeared in nine games for the Silver & Black, finishing with 1,151 yards, 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Before last year, McCown had appeared in just six games since. But McCown re-emerged last season taking over for the injured Jay Cutler and led a potent Bears offense while he threw for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception in five starts (eight appearances). It's unknown if McCown will be able to replicate last year's success if he departs Chicago and Marc Trestman, but he also brings 12 years of NFL experience to whatever team he may join.
Other free agent quarterbacks not mentioned: Chad Henne, JAX; Tarvaris Jackson, SEA; Shaun Hill, DET; Kellen Clemons, STL;