Saunders was just fired by the St. Louis Rams as part of the purging of the Rams staff by new coach Steve Spagnulo. He is scheduled to interview with the Raiders as soon as today.
"We anticipate giving him an interview within the next day or two," Raiders senior executive John Herrera said Tuesday afternoon.
Raiders managing general partner Al Davis interviewed Saunders for the head coaching vacancy before he settled upon Art Shell. Saunders was hired by the Washington Redskins that season.
He returned this season to the Rams franchise that he helped reach the Super Bowl in the 2000 season. However, new coach Steve Spagnuolo already is interviewing prospective replacements for Saunders.
Saunders is regarded by many as one of the most innovative and gifted offensive coordinators in the NFL. One of his prized pupils, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, came of age under Saunders with the Rams. Warner is set to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
The Rams offense averaged 287.2 yards per game in 2008, or 15 more than the Raiders. Both offenses were ranked in the bottom fourth of the league in this category.
The Raiders remain in the market for a replacement for departed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Don Martindale no longer is an option.
Martindale signed with the Denver Broncos as their linebackers coach Tuesday afternoon, two people close to Martindale said.
Martindale interviewed with Davis on Saturday about the prospect of returning for a sixth season with the Raiders. He spent his five seasons here as the linebackers coach.
Martindale was being considered as the successor to Ryan. He opted to make a lateral move to the Broncos once it became apparent that he wasn't assured of being rehired by the Raiders, two people close to Martindale said.
His contract expired Jan. 13, but he remained hopeful of sticking around. ESPN reported that Martindale interviewed for the head coaching vacancy. That wasn't the case, according to Herrera.
"We were very straightforward and forthcoming with him in his interview with Mr. Davis," Herrera said. "He was not under consideration for the head coaching position. That is 100 percent correct."
In other news, Raiders defensive tackles coach Don Johnson accepted the defensive line position with the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday.
Johnson is the seventh coach from Lane Kiffin's staff who won't be around in 2009. He joins, Martindale, assistant offensive line coach James Cregg, Knapp, Ryan, special teams coach Brian Schneider and running backs coach Tom Rathman as those who have been hired elsewhere.
Herrera said it's important to point out that several of the aforementioned coaches weren't expected or wanted back and that a certain amount of turnover is natural each season.
NOTES: Offensive quality control coach Adam Henry is expected to be promoted to tight ends coach within the next few days. Kelly Skipper handled that role last season, but he has replaced Rathman.