LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Five offensive free agents the Raiders should be interested in this offseason
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 $46.75 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 offensive free agents that could help with that in 2023.
RB Josh Jacobs
Previous Contract: 4-years, $11.933 million
Previous Team: Las Vegas Raiders
This has to be priority No.1 for the Raiders this spring, more so than finding the next quarterback.
Josh Jacobs was that good in 2022, finishing the season as the league’s top rusher at 1,653 yards rushing. The next closest: Derrick Henry at 1,538 yards on the ground. Throw in 12 TDs and 400 yards receiving, Jacobs is one of the best three-down tailbacks in the NFL, winning the Inaugural Jim Brown award at the NFL Honors ceremony.
The stats alone make the case, but Jacobs also earned the respect of his football peers, including Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa.
“That’s the best running back I’ve played against in my career,” Bosa said after Week 17’s clash. “No doubt about it. That dude’s a beast.”
Having your best year as a pro is always good for the player’s value, but never for the organization. Declining his fifth-year option last season feels like a big mistake, now projected to earn near the top of the position moving forward. That could set the Raiders back close to $18 million annually, with Packers’ RB Aaron Jones having a cap hit of $20 million in 2023.
Regardless of the price, the Alabama alum has to be at the top of the list for Las Vegas this spring. They simply can’t afford to let him walk.
QB Jarrett Stidham
Previous Contract: 4-years, $3.153 million
Previous Team: Las Vegas Raiders
This might not be the big free agent QB Raiders fans are hoping for, but Jarrett Stidham showed enough to earn another contract with the team.
Taking over for Carr in the final two games of the season, expectations were quite low for the fourth-year signal-caller from Auburn. He surpassed those within the first quarter of Week 17. Taking the red-hot San Francisco 49ers to their limits, Stidham threw for 365 passing yards, three TDs and two INTs in a 37-34 overtime loss. He also had 34 rushing yards and a 108 QB rating.
In Week 18 he came back down to earth, throwing 219 passing yards, one TD and one INT in a losing effort to the Kansas City Chiefs. Regardless, Mark Davis should consider keeping hold of Stidham a while longer.
Familiar with Josh McDaniels’ system, Stidham can serve as a bridge QB if Las Vegas decides to look to the draft for their next franchise gunslinger. And if they decide to go with a big name (i.e. trading for Aaron Rodgers), Stidham can be the quality backup to not miss a beat if the starter gets hurt.
Re-signing Stidham on a two-year, $10 million deal is a win-win for both sides.
RT Mike McGlinchey
Previous Contract: 4-years, $18.341 million
Previous Team: San Francisco 49ers
If the Raiders decide to move on from right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, they could turn their attention to one of their rival’s former players, Mike McGlinchey.
McGlinchey had one of his best seasons as a pro in 2022, finishing the year with a 71.5 rating on Pro Football Focus. Bouncing back from a season-ending quad injury in 2021, the Notre Dame alum allowed only six sacks in all 17 games played during the regular season.
Mike’s biggest issue is the penalties, getting flagged for ten of them last season (eighth-highest in the league). His pass protection has also waned at times, getting steamrolled by Micah Parsons in the NFC Divisional Round. That being said, the right tackle possesses a 96.6 pass-block efficiency grade and a 70.7 run-block grade as well.
Likely to command a contract near the $10 million range annually, it will cost the Silver & Black to add him to the fold. But an O-Line with Kolton Miller and Mike McGlinchey on the ends has to sound pretty good for Raiders fans everywhere.
T Isaiah Wynn
Previous Contract: 4-years, $11.441 million
Previous Team: New England Patriots
If the Raiders choose to go on the cheaper end of free agent linemen, Patriots’ swing tackle Isaiah Wynn could be a possibility.
Only 27 years old, Wynn’s NFL career has been lackluster to say the least. Moved from left tackle to right, the Georgia alum never quite found his footing in New England. 2022 was an indictment of that, ending the season after only nine games due to a foot injury. His numbers aren’t much better, getting called for nine penalties on a 54.6 PFF rating last season.
Still, Wynn would be a good fit in Vegas simply because of the coach. Josh McDaniels knows him from their days as Patriots and would hope to get a former first-round pick in the building. Possibly signing a one or two-year deal, Wynn can serve as the swing player on the Raiders’ O-Line, filling in where he’s needed.
G Trai Turner
Previous Contract: 1-year, $3 million
Previous Team: Washington Commanders
Another option for the Raiders on the interior, is veteran guard Trai Turner.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Turner would potentially be a good upgrade at either guard spot for Las Vegas, able to fit across the line of scrimmage. While he doesn’t possess the same skill he once had, Turner produced when needed to, only allowing two sacks in 2022. He was also flagged for only four penalties as well.
Entering age 30, Las Vegas can hope to get a revitalized former sud guard to hold down the O-Line. Playing next to better players should boast his production as well, receiving a 53.0 grade from PFF in 2022.
Likely in the phase of playoff-hunting, Turner would make a lot of sense for Las Vegas, able to get him on a short-term deal that helps the immediate future.