Free-Agent Contracts Raiders Must Pursue After Preseason

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2022

Free-Agent Contracts Raiders Must Pursue After Preseason

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    Ndamukong Suh (John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    The 2022 NFL preseason is complete, and it's time for the Las Vegas Raiders to prepare for their Week 1 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.

    The Raiders are widely expected to be a playoff team again in 2022. On paper, the roster is more formidable than it was a year ago, when Las Vegas was a wild-card team. However, this doesn't mean the Raiders should be done tinkering.

    Las Vegas still has $20 million in cap space and a few spots that could stand to be strengthened.

    Below, we'll examine three free agents the Raiders must consider coming out of the preseason and heading into Week 1. We'll examine how these players could help in 2022 and what sort of deals would make the most sense.

DT Ndamukong Suh

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Raiders made a big defensive acquisition when they signed Chandler Jones in free agency. He and Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby figure to be one of the top pass-rushing tandems in the entire conference.

    However, the Raiders defense lacks two big things up front. It doesn't have a true difference-making defensive tackle, and there is questionable edge depth after Jones and Crosby.

    Signing Ndamukong Suh could help solve the first issue.

    Last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Suh played 63 percent of the defensive snaps and finished with 27 tackles, six sacks and 19 quarterback pressures. He started all 17 games in 2021 and could step in to start for the Raiders.

    Suh also expressed interest in playing for Las Vegas earlier in the offseason. The obstacle here appears to be financial.

    "There's interest from the Raiders, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Athletic, but the issue is the price," The Athletic's Tashan Reed wrote. "Suh is seeking a contract with an annual value of $9 million per year."

    The Raiders could afford to pay Suh, and they should. If they're not willing to meet his annual asking price, perhaps a front-loaded deal worth slightly less could get the deal done.

    Contract Offer: Two Years, $15.5 Million

Edge Jason-Pierre Paul

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    Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Las Vegas should also take a long look at Suh's former Buccaneers teammate, Jason Pierre-Paul.

    Pierre-Paul had a down season in 2021, finishing with only 2.5 sacks to go with 31 tackles and a forced fumble. However, he logged 9.5 sacks and was a Pro Bowler just two years ago.

    As previously mentioned, the Raiders could use edge-rushing depth behind Jones and Crosby. 2019 first-round pick Clelin Ferrell made the 53-man roster, but he can't be counted on to be a reliable third rotational piece.

    Through three seasons, Ferrell has logged a mere eight sacks. He had just 1.5 sacks to go with 14 tackles and 10 quarterback pressures last season. It makes sense to give Ferrell an opportunity to work under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. However, Las Vegas should look for another insurance policy.

    Here's where we point out that Jones missed 13 games over the past two seasons and logged five of his 10.5 sacks in 2021 in Week 1.

    At this stage in his career, the 33-year-old Pierre-Paul should be available at a reasonable price. His leadership and experience as a two-time Super Bowl champion could also prove valuable to a Raiders team looking to get past the AFC Wild Card Round.

    Contract Offer: One Year, $7 million

OL Daryl Williams

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    Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

    On the offensive side of the ball, Las Vegas must continue looking at offensive line options. Last year's unit was a major liability—it surrendered 40 sacks and paved the way for a rushing attack that ranked 27th in the league. This year's unit is very much a work-in-progress.

    The Raiders lost Denzelle Good to retirement late in the offseason and parted with 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood during final roster cuts.

    With guard and tackle depth needed, the Raiders must kick the proverbial tires on seven-year veteran Daryl Williams. The 30-year-old has primarily been a right tackle but has played left tackle and both guard spots during his career.

    Last season with the Buffalo Bills, Williams started all 17 contests. He has 89 games and 74 starts on his resume.

    Adding Williams would give Las Vegas another starting option on the right side. At worst, it would provide some veteran depth behind projected starters Lester Cotton Sr. and Jermaine Eluemunor.

    With Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and offseason acquisition Davante Adams in the fold, the Raiders offense has the potential to be special. Las Vegas cannot allow that to be undone by an ineffective offensive line.

    Contract Offer: One Year, $6 Million


    Cap information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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