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Five Free Agents the Oakland Raiders Need to Bring Back Next Year

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | As the Oakland Raiders prepare for the beginning of free agency on March 11, they'll be looking at it with a completely different approach than last year.

No more fire sale. No more salary cap purging. This year, they get to attack.

The Raiders have a gold mine of money to spend on free agents, the exact opposite of where they were last year.

But before they look to hit the market, the Raiders need to retain some of their own pieces from last season.

Keeping head coach Dennis Allen along with his staff was a huge step in building continuity within team walls.

Now general manager Reggie McKenzie needs to keep some of those players the Raiders are looking to build around.

Jared Veldheer

The Raiders need to build through the trenches on both sides of the football, and everyone saw how bad their offensive line was when Jared Veldheer went down in the preseason.

At 6-foot-8 and 321 pounds, Veldheer is an absolute animal protecting the blindside.

Regarded as one of the best left tackles in the NFL, the Raiders would be wise to re-sign him. They need to re-sign him.

Veldheer told Fox Sports 1 he "really wants to stay in Oakland." Words like that have to be golden to McKenzie's ears as the two will try to put a long-term deal together.

Lamarr Houston

As Oakland's best defensive lineman, McKenzie also needs to look at bringing back Lamarr Houston.

After a quick start to the season where he had four sacks and two forced fumbles in his first eight games, Houston fizzled out during the second half of the season.

But he wasn't alone.

Houston has gotten better every year since the Raiders drafted him in 2010, and holding on to in-house pieces is key to Oakland's rebuilding process.

Charles Woodson

At the age of 37, it's clear that Charles Woodson's best days are behind him.

Regardless of how old he is, Woodson proved he can still play in 2013.

He finished third on the team with 97 tackles, but his leadership and guidance for D.J. Hayden is more important than his talent level right now.

With Hayden learning from one of the best cornerbacks to ever play the game, it's only certain that McKenzie's 2013 first-round gamble will pay off in the long run.

The fact that Hayden will be learning from one of the most-beloved Raiders of all time will be even better.

Tracy Porter

Tracy Porter had a roller coaster season during his first year in Oakland, but it was a success for the money the Raiders paid for his services.

He finished with more tackles, more sacks, and double the amount of pass deflections than fellow free agent cornerback Mike Jenkins, and he didn't lose his cool like Jenkins did.

Porter has Super Bowl experience, and he provides depth at the cornerback position, something the Raiders need while they work with Hayden.

Rashad Jennings

When Darren McFadden went down in Week 8, Rashad Jennings played like a man deserving of a new deal.

Jennings averaged at least four yards per carry in nine of his games this year. But most importantly, he was able to stay healthy while producing.

That's something the Raiders haven't seen in quite some time.

He may not be the sexiest name on the market, but Jennings is worthy of a contract. Luckily for McKenzie, he won't have to break the bank to keep him.

The ball is in Oakland's court now.

Steven Slivka writes about the Oakland Raiders for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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