Could Houshmandzadeh be a Raider?


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Oakland Raiders will get their chance at signing Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He will be a free agent now that the Bengals have decided to put the franchise tag on kicker Shayne Graham.

The Raiders have a huge need at receiver, and Houshmandzadeh is one of the prospective free agents who most fits what the Raiders need. Oakland's other glaring need is at offensive tackle.

Now that Houshmandzadeh is available, will Oakland go get him? Well, it's not going to be that easy. Houshmandzadeh is going to be very coveted and several teams will pursue him. With Oakland's recent reputation as a difficult place to play, Houshmandzadeh may look at other options first. Plus, because of their huge spending spree last season and the likelihood that they will use nearly $12 million on putting the exclusive franchise tag on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the Raiders may not have the funds to try to get Houshmandzadeh.

There may be other receivers available, including Houshmandzadeh's Cincinnati teammate Chad Johnson, the Giants' Plaxico Burress and Arizona's Anquan Boldin possibly available through trades. But they will be pricey as well. Then there's always the possibility of Terrell Owens if the Cowboys ended up cutting him.

Oakland can also look to the draft. The Raiders draft No. 7 and they could have a chance to pick Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree.

There are plenty possibilities out there, and it just begins with Houshmandzadeh who is now officially one of Oakland's options.