3 Biggest Free-Agent Decisions for Raiders' GM and Coach in 2023 Offseason
Last offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders entered a new era, hiring Dave Ziegler to be their general manager and Josh McDaniels to be their head coach. Those moves didn't quite lead to immediate success for the franchise, though.
The Raiders finished the 2022 season at 6-11, losing their last three games and missing the playoffs for the 18th time in the past 20 years. Now, Las Vegas will go into the offseason ready to make moves that could greatly alter its roster for the 2023 campaign.
Derek Carr won't be back at quarterback, as he's already tweeted his farewell to Raiders fans and will likely be traded. Las Vegas also has some notable players set to hit free agency in March, so that could have a large impact on the team's offseason moves.
Here's a look at several key Raiders players set to become free agents who the team will need to decide whether to try to bring back or to let go.
RB Josh Jacobs
The Raiders' first priority has to be getting Josh Jacobs under contract, as the 24-year-old is one of the best running backs in the NFL. However, the team will need to decide just exactly how to make that happen.
Jacobs is deserving of a long-term contract, but it's possible he and Las Vegas won't be able to work out a deal. So there's a decent chance the Raiders will use their franchise tag on Jacobs, ensuring he'll be back for the 2023 season, and then try to sign him to an extension down the line.
Either way, Las Vegas can't allow Jacobs to hit the free-agent market. He led the NFL in rushing during the 2022 season with a career-high 1,653 yards and matched his career high in touchdowns, getting into the end zone 12 times. The Alabama product also played all 17 games, marking the first time in his four-year NFL career that he didn't miss any contests.
This shouldn't be a tough decision for the Raiders. They need to get Jacobs under contract for more than one more year so they can keep him in their backfield throughout his prime.
LB Denzel Perryman
Over two seasons in Las Vegas, Denzel Perryman has become a productive member of the Raiders' linebacker corps. He's recorded 237 tackles in 27 games (26 starts) between the 2021 and 2022 campaigns.
This past season, Perryman notched a career-high two interceptions and his first sack since coming to Las Vegas. However, he was limited to 12 games, missing some time because of various injuries.
As long as the 30-year-old can stay healthy, he should have some strong seasons still ahead of him. But there would likely be teams other than the Raiders interested in signing him should he end up hitting free agency.
How much will Las Vegas be willing to pay to bring back Perryman, and what types of deals could he be in the market for? Those factors could decide whether he's back with the Raiders next season or if he's on the move to a new franchise.
DE Clelin Ferrell
The Raiders used the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft on Clelin Ferrell, expecting the former Clemson standout to develop into a dominant pass rusher for years to come. That hasn't been the case through the 25-year-old defensive end's first four seasons, though.
Ferrell was an immediate starter, but he had only 6.5 sacks in 26 games over his first two years. He's rarely started over the past two seasons, when he's had only 3.5 sacks in 32 contests. That's far from the type of production that Las Vegas thought it would get from him.
Now, Ferrell is set to hit free agency for the first time. And it's hard to imagine he'll end up back with the Raiders, unless they can re-sign him on a cheap deal. Even then, they may prefer to use that roster spot on somebody else.
Perhaps there will be other teams hoping Ferrell can become a productive player, considering he's still young. If not, Las Vegas will need to decide whether it's worth bringing him back for at least one more season.