AFC West: Taiwain Jones

Weekend mail call:

Brad from Kansas City wants to know if I think the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs could swing a deal for left tackle Branden Albert.

Bill Williamson: I think is a long shot, but perhaps it could develop if other opportunities continue to dry up. The Albert-to-Miami talks are not officially dead with Miami agreeing to terms with right tackle Tyson Clabo. The Dolphins will move Jonathan Martin to left tackle. As for the Chargers, they badly need a left tackle. I’m sure they’d love to get Albert. He’d solve a huge problem. But there are two issues in the way of a trade. I’m not sure these two AFC West rivals would want to deal with each other and I’m not sure the Chargers have the money right now to give Albert a long-term contract. So, while a fit is there on paper, there are some big obstacles.

Adam wants to know if I think Taiwan Jones could play safety for the Oakland Raiders.

BW: I doubt it. The team is planning to move Jones from running back to cornerback. He is a former cornerback and he has the skill set and speed to perhaps make it work. Safety is a different animal. I just don’t think Jones has the size to be a safety. If it is going to work for the former fourth-round pick in Oakland it appears it will be at cornerback.

Dan from Fort Collins, Co. wants to know if I think the Denver Broncos could pursue free-agent middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.

BW: I think if that happens it would be later in the summer. The Broncos have free-agent signee Bradley Stewart and youngsters Nate Irving and Steve Johnson. They think they are good there. But if these guys falter in training camp and the preseason, I think Denver could then be open to Urlacher. Remember, the Broncos signed middle linebacker Keith Brooking late in camp last year. A similar situation could potentially arise this year.
The Oakland Raiders continued their theme of adding young starters on defense in an attempt to rebuild the team.

Oakland has signed Chicago linebacker Nick Roach. He is 27 and versatile. He was a strongside starting linebacker but played in the middle for Chicago when Brian Urlacher was hurt. He is considered to be an average player, but he will help Oakland as the starting middle linebacker.

The reportedly cap-strapped Raiders gave Roach a multiyear deal worth $3 million to $4 million a year.

Oakland just signed Cleveland’s Kaluka Maiava. He started several games at weakside linebacker for the Browns.

I expect the Raiders’ starting linebackers will be Roach, Maiava and second-year player Miles Burris. This group is not great but has a chance to grow together (Roach is the oldest of the group), and that is what Oakland needs -- youth and stability.

Philip Wheeler left for a big deal in Miami, and former first-round pick Rolando McClain is expected to be cut. Oakland also signed defensive tackle Pat Sims (Bengals) and defensive end Jason Hunter (Broncos). All of these players are decent, inexpensive pickups.

Meanwhile, another Raider has left the team and created another hole. Running back Mike Goodson has signed with the Jets. There is a hole behind starter Darren McFadden, especially considering the team is planning to move Taiwan Jones to cornerback.

Goodson, acquired in a trade with Carolina for guard Bruce Campbell last year, had 221 yards on 35 carries. Oakland will need to find a backup either in a weak free-agency class or with one of its five draft picks. While Oakland is making some signings, it still has plenty of needs.

It could lose another player. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy is visiting Arizona. He has visits on tap to Tennessee and Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Shaughnessy could help the Raiders, but he fell out of favor late in the season.

In other AFC West notes:

• The Chiefs are talking to Minnesota guard Geoff Schwartz.

• New England is visiting with Colts pass-rusher Dwight Freeney. He is an option for Denver if it releases Elvis Dumervil. That decision is expected later Friday.

• The Jets are looking at San Diego pass-rusher Antwan Barnes.

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