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NFL Draft

3 Offensive Free Agents Raiders Should Target

  • The Draft Network
  • March 8, 2021
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After another disappointing season in which the Las Vegas Raiders missed the playoffs for the third straight time in the Jon Gruden era, the front office and coaching staff must get to work this offseason and improve this roster. The Raiders finished the season with an 8-8 record, which would be OK if the team hadn’t started the season 6-3. The team’s meltdown down the stretch of the year now amps up the pressure in 2021 because the playoffs were just inside the team’s grasp. Adding to this roster and filling some key holes will be crucial as this team looks to get over the hump and make the postseason for just the second time since 2002. 

The question now for Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock is: what’s the best course of action as it pertains to improving this roster? Well, the easy answer is addressing a defense that ranked among the league’s worst last season. However, the team also can’t fail to address their offense and ensure that it stays a strength. 

Led by quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders' offense ranked in the top 10 in both yards per game and points per game and were one of the most balanced offenses in the league. Carr had one of the best seasons of his career last year, but still finds himself at the center of trade rumors as we inch closer to the start of free agency. I highly doubt Carr gets dealt, but the fact that these rumors are still lingering after an excellent season does make me wonder if the team does want to move on from him.

If Carr returns, he will be surrounded by an exciting core of young playmakers led by running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller. Both of these players are among the best at their position and will continue to ascend as they develop. The team should expect more from their rookie receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, after they struggled in their debut campaigns. The duo of Ruggs and Edwards will be heavily relied upon as the team is set to lose Nelson Agholor to free agency and already released Tyrell Williams. 

Las Vegas has already begun preparing for free agency and getting more cap space to be aggressive in the market. As mentioned earlier, they released Williams, which opened up around $10 million in cap space. Other players released to free up cap space were veteran guards Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito, leaving two big holes along the interior of the Raiders' offensive line.

Free agency is less than two weeks away. Here are three offensive free agents the Raiders should target. 

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

The Raiders have been searching for a No. 1 receiver ever since they traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys back in 2018. The team shot its shot in free agency in 2019 when they signed former Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams to a big contract after Williams had a productive career with the Bolts. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Williams couldn’t stay healthy during his time with the silver and black and was released back in February. The Raiders also drafted three receivers in the first three rounds of last year’s draft, with Ruggs going 12th overall as the first receiver off the board. Following Ruggs were both Edwards and Lynn Bowden, who were drafted in the third round. Bowden was traded midway through training camp, something we rarely see happen with such a high pick. Las Vegas’ young receivers failed to produce as rookies and will need to be much better next season. 

The team did strike gold in last year’s free agent market at receiver as Agholor had a career resurgence last season with the Raiders. Agholor was the team’s leading receiver and showed tremendous chemistry with Carr. Agholor is set to be a free agent, and in the event the team doesn’t bring him back, adding a receiver in free agency will be a priority. 

Adding Golladay would not only fill the void left by Agholor, but would give the Raiders a true No. 1 option at receiver. Golladay is a big, athletic playmaker who is spectacular in contested situations. His skill set would perfectly complement Ruggs and would make for an exciting receiver duo for Carr to spread the ball to.

Zach Banner, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers

For years, the Raiders' offensive line has been one of the best units in the NFL, but age and injuries have made this once stalwart group into a shell of themselves. The Raiders have a decision to make with right tackle Trent Brown who, when healthy, is one of the best in the business. He is set to make $14 million in 2021 and all of that money could be saved if the team releases him—but there is no surefire replacement on the roster. If the team opts to release him, then right tackle vaults near the top of the list of needs. But even if they keep him, the team could still use a swing tackle for depth. 

Banner is a player that could be a nice find for a team if he is not re-signed by Pittsburgh. He won the starting right tackle job out of training camp, but then tore his ACL in Week 1 of this past season. Prior to going down with injury, Banner looked good as a right tackle, possessing the size, length, and strength to displace defenders once he engages. His physical style of play would be a terrific fit for the Raiders' offensive line. 

Brandon Scherff, G, Washington Football Team

Now that the Raiders have begun their purge of veteran players, they now have a massive hole in the interior of their offensive line. Both Jackson and Incognito were released in recent weeks, and the depth behind them is young and inexperienced. The team will need to sign a veteran starter to bolster the interior of the offensive line and ensure that Carr has time to throw the football.

This would be considered a hail mary attempt in free agency, but if the Raiders were able to land Scherff, it would be huge for this offense. Scherff has been one of the best and most consistent guards in football since he was drafted back in 2015. He is a leader and brings the toughness and physicality Gruden wants in his linemen. Now, I doubt Scherff makes it out of D.C., but if he does, the Raiders should be all-in.

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