Free agent offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele is expected to sign with the Oakland Raiders, according to a tweet from NFL Network’s Rand Getlin. Ian Rapoport then reported that the deal would make Osemele one of the five highest-paid offensive linemen and that the deal would net him more than $11 million per year.
Kelechi Osemele is expected to replace left tackle Donald Penn, who opted for free agency. If this deal does indeed become a reality, then Oakland would have one of the strongest offensive lines in the league, it already featuring Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson. Should Penn ultimately re-sign, then Osemele would just shift to guard on either the left or right side.
Either way, it’s a huge upgrade for the Raiders. Quarterback Derek Carr took a big step forward last season, his second in the NFL, but was sacked 31 times and also saw an increase in interceptions and fumbles. By adding Osemele, who Baltimore selected out of Iowa State in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Carr now has much stronger protection and can keep developing positively as a quarterback.
Osemele appeared in 14 games last season and spent most of his time at left guard before moving to left tackle following an injury to Eugene Monroe. Simply put, with him now set to become a Raider, Oakland needs to be considered a dark horse contender for the AFC West crown.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports