Five defensive free agents the Raiders should be interested in this offseason

Feb 17, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: 8:44 am
Denzel Perryman #52 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts during an NFL football game between the Las Veg...
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Denzel Perryman #52 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts during an NFL football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Raiders head into the offseason after a very disappointing season. Now hoping to bounce back in 2023, a few tough personnel decisions will need to be made sooner than later.

After releasing longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr this week, the Raiders are projected to have nearly $50 million in cap space this spring. But with signal-caller being the biggest issue, Las Vegas may have to allocate a large portion of its space to one position.

Regardless, Las Vegas has options in 2023, hoping to rebound into a winning football team next season. Here are five defensive free agents that could help with that in 2023.

S Duron Harmon

Previous Contract: 1-year, $1.272 million

Previous Team: Las Vegas Raiders

Harmon finished 2022 with a career-best 86 combined tackles, five passes defended, two INTs and one touchdown to his name. After cutting Johnathan Abram midseason, Harmon was relied on heavily by Josh McDaniels and delivered.

On the other hand, he just turned 32-years-old and the Raiders probably want to let Tre’von Moehrig get an extended look in the secondary.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders handle one of McDaniels’ guys, but if they can get him back at a low rate he should stick around for 2023.

LB Denzel Perryman

Previous Contract: 2-years, $6 million

Previous Team: Las Vegas Raiders

No player on the Raiders’ roster has revived their value quite like Denzel Perrryman.

The linebacker has been one of Las Vegas’s pillars on the defensive side of the ball, finishing the 2021 season with his first Pro Bowl nod and 154 combined tackles. Year 2 in Nevada wasn’t as glamorous, suffering a shoulder injury that placed him on the IR midseason.

Perryman still finished with productive numbers, snagging two INTs, two PDs, one sack and 83 combined tackles in 12 games played.

Only hitting age 30 in December, the Raiders would be wise to re-sign one of the few bright spots on the roster.

S Jessie Bates III

Previous Contract: 1-year, $12.9 million

Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals

If the Raiders decide to move on Harmon this offseason, they should take a swing at a big name like Jesse Bates III.

Bates has been one of the top safeties in the NFL since getting drafted by Cincinnati in 2018, recording 479 tackles in five seasons. 2022 was one of his best performances yet, registering 71 combined tackles, four INTs, eight PDs and one forced fumble.

Unable to reach a long-term agreement with the Bengals, Bates played on his fifth-year option last season, now in line for a massive extension this spring. Entering age 26, the Wake Forest alum is just starting hit his football prime, making him an intriguing big swing move for the Raiders.

If they can afford him that is.

CB Jonathan Jones

Previous Contract: 3-years, $21 million

Previous Team: New England Patriots

Another player Las Vegas will need to shell out the big bucks for is cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Another long-time Patriot, Jones has been consistently been a top tier cover-man for the last few seasons. An exceptional tackler, Jones recorded 69 combined tackles in 2022. Throw in a career-high four picks, 11 PDs and three forced fumbles, the Auburn alum can solve a lot of problems for Sin City.

It will come at a high price though, with multiple teams keeping tabs on what New England does with their salary cap this spring. Likely getting offers in the $10-$12 million range annually, the Raiders will need to commit in a big way for a No.1 talent like Jones.

But given the state of Vegas’ secondary, how can they not swing big to reunite McDaniels with another former Patriot.

DT Javon Hargrave

Previous Contract: 3-years, $39 million

Previous Team: Philadelphia Eagles

The Raiders have to get more physical in the trenches next season, Javon Hargrave does that in a massive way.

The 30-year-old DT was an important cog in the Eagles’ run defense last season, mustering up 60 combined tackles in 2022. His pass-rushing ability has been the key difference though, recording a career-high 11 sacks last season. Throw in 16 QB hits, two PDs and one forced fumble, Hargrave has evolved into a three-down defensive lineman in Philly.

Expected to be one of the biggest fish in the free agency waters, Hargrave could command many suitors next month. The Raiders should be one of them, but they could be priced out if is salary exceeds $15 million a year.

That being said, if Las Vegas can add a player like Hargrave on the defensive line, it would be a clear statement to the rest of the AFC West.


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Five defensive free agents the Raiders should be interested in this offseason