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Sims can cash in with strong finish for Raiders

  • Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims puts the rush on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles during Philadelphia's 49-20 victory on Nov. 3. (BRIAN BAHR / Getty Images)

ALAMEDA — Pat Sims’ future with the Oakland Raiders is unclear. He should have plenty of options for next season.

The veteran defensive tackle is one of at least a dozen players on the Raiders who are set to become free agents in 2014. Seven of them are starters on defense, including all four on the line.

With so many potential changes, the franchise is in nearly the same position it was a year ago when general manager Reggie McKenzie made sweeping changes to the roster and brought in 10 new starters on defense in order to save space under the salary cap.

McKenzie will have about $50 million worth of cap room when free agency opens and coach Dennis Allen said he hopes to avoid totally overhauling the defense for a second consecutive year.

Sims, who signed a one-year deal with the Raiders in March, isn’t sure where he fits in.

He is open to returning to Oakland but also hasn’t ruled out moving on to play for a third team in three seasons.

“I wouldn’t mind, but at the same time it’s not left up to me,” Sims said Thursday. “I can’t do anything about that.”

When it comes to the potential free agents on the Oakland roster, it looks as if Sims and defensive end Lamarr Houston are in the best shape to cash in on the open market.

Houston is second on the team in sacks while Sims has been at the heart of Oakland’s run defense, which has allowed only one 100-yard game by a running back this season.

It’s an impressive stat, but also a bit misleading.

The Raiders have played progressively worse as the season has gone on. They’ve allowed 37.5 points a game over the last four weeks and will miss out on the playoffs for the 11th consecutive year.

“I ain’t used to losing,” Sims said. “That’s the one thing I don’t like. I don’t like losing, but it is what it is right now. We’re in our last game of the season. All we (can) do is go out there and prepare to the best of our ability.”

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