Raiders, Chargers also share on-field needs

The San Diego Chargers are a team with a number of decisions to make during the free agency period and NFL Draft, ones that will affect the Oakland Raiders directly and indirectly.

With three starting offensive linemen, starting running back, starting wide receiver and more slated for new deals, others will be open for the Raiders — and any other NFL team to sign. But Brandon Flowers won’t likely be one of them.

Sources confirmed the team is making diligent efforts to retain the 29-year-old defensive back, who was cut by Kansas City this time last year, and signed by San Diego shortly thereafter.

With the number of new contracts, and other free agents, sources believe that the team will not be able to re-sign cornerback Shareece Wright, who is coming off his best season, and second as a starter.

Though Wright, 27, is younger, Flowers’ experience and solid track record trumps that of Wright.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities.

Both corners posted 10 passes defensed in 2014, with Flowers intercepting three balls, with none picked by Wright.

D.J. Hayden led the Raiders cornerbacks with 10 passes defense, T.J. Carrie coming second with eight, and Tarell Brown defending four.

Wright is two inches taller than Flowers, at 5-foot-11, and is the tallest of San Diego’s starting corners. Jason Verrett and Flowers are both 5-foot-9, which could complicate matters for Oakland’s division foe, should they face teams with bigger receivers.

One game could make Wright one of the more valued sleeper free agents: the 2013 Wild Card game against the Bengals, in which Wright returned an interception 30 yards on a pass intended for Mohammed Sanu.

Wright tallied four passes defensed in two playoff games, the best two game stretch of his career. He stepped it up in a Malcolm Butler-esque way, during the most important times. NFL teams love that.

The Raiders currently have around $50 million in free cap room entering free agency, a number that can grow exponentially with restructured contracts and cuts.

It’s not an unusual practice for teams to pilfer from their own division, and Wright could certainly bolster Oakland’s secondary.

And should the Chargers start two corners under 5-foot-10, that could become easy pickings for Derek Carr. The Raiders’ defense, too, would have some added depth, and possibly some continuity for the future if Wright decided to move north.

It would be continuity that the Raiders secondary has been without for the past five seasons.


Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.