All in all, the Raiders offensive line has had its issues but has, generally, played better as the season went on. For the season, Pro Football Focus has the Raiders line ranked 11th in pass blocking, with a 69.9 grade, and 16th in run blocking, at 60.4. Still, there could be improvements, and adding offensive line depth figures to be the subject of Raiders rumors this offseason.
Jermaine Eluemunor is a good example. He was terrible to start the season, and made headlines for allowing three sacks in Week 4 against the Chargers. But he’s gotten steadily better and, according to PFF, has allowed just two hurries in the last three weeks combined.
Still, at Bleacher Report, the focus on the Raiders’ roster weakness this week is the offensive line. And they’ve got an intriguing target they’re betting the Raiders will consider this offseason: eight-time Pro Bowl tackle Tyron Smith of the Cowboys, who is in the final year f his record eight-year, $98 million contract.
Raiders Rumors: Veteran OL Help Needed?
Here’s what Bleacher Report wrote about Smith’s future, and the potential that he could be pursued by the Raiders, on Monday:
“Kolton Miller is a good left tackle and the Raiders have looked at several different answers at right tackle. Going with a rookie is always a bit of a gamble, so it might be good to find a veteran who can at least serve as a mentor and one-year bridge.
“Tyron Smith’s future with the Cowboys is interesting. The 33-year-old has been there his entire career and is still playing at a high level. However, he’s set to become a free agent and has a significant injury history. The Raiders should be willing to roll the dice if he becomes available.”
It’s not clear whether a move for Smith would mean that Miller moves to right tackle or that Smith does so. Or, it could be that Smith moves to left guard and Eluemunor remains at right tackle. Smith has experience playing on the right side, a transition that is not necessarily simple. But the Raiders could do a lot worse than getting either Smith or Miller to play on the right side, with the other on the left.
Tyron Smith to Retire?
In the meantime, Tyron Smith does, indeed, remain among the best in the game at his position, even with his age and injury concerns. He has a grade at Pro Football Focus of 84.0, which is second in the NFL among all tackles.
He has shown he is still capable of being among the best left tackles in the game, but there has also been chatter that he has no interest in playing elsewhere. That talk came about last year when the Cowboys were in a cap crunch and were considering cutting Smith. Eventually, the team restructured the final year of his deal.
As former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus explained last February on the “Love of the Star” podcast, “I tell you what, there’s a side of me that believes and this is because it’s been reported to me, that if they were to trade or to cut Tyron Smith, he would be done. He would just retire. If they were to trade him or cut him, he would just quit. … I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”
Will that change after this season? Maybe. Perhaps the Raiders will find out.