Raiders' 2023 Free-Agent Big Board, Top Players to Target

Jake RillJanuary 23, 2023

Raiders' 2023 Free-Agent Big Board, Top Players to Target

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 02: General manager Dave Ziegler of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on before the game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    The Las Vegas Raiders have a few roster holes to fill this offseason, but none of them are as important as the one at quarterback.

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the Raiders don't know who will be their signal-caller to begin the next season.

    Derek Carr, who made 142 starts for the team from 2014-22, isn't going to be back. He was benched with two games left in the 2022 campaign and has already tweeted his farewell to the fans. He should be traded soon.

    It's possible Las Vegas will find its next starting quarterback on the free-agent market. The Raiders are already projected to have $22.28 million in available cap space, per Over The Cap, and will be clearing more soon. So, they should be able to sign more than just a QB in free agency and likely will.

    Here's a look at several players who Las Vegas should have near the top of its board of free-agent targets this offseason.

Tom Brady, QB

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    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL wild card playoff football game Monday, Jan 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
    AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

    There's a chance Tom Brady isn't going to return for the 2023 season, instead opting to retire. After 23 years in the NFL, perhaps this is finally the end for the future Hall of Famer.

    However, if the 45-year-old wants to continue playing, he'll get his choice of where to do so, as he's set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

    Brady may be in the latter stages of his career, but he can still play at a high level. And he'd be surrounded by a lot of talent in Las Vegas on an offense that features running back Josh Jacobs, wide receiver Davante Adams, tight end Darren Waller and more.

    Plus, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and Brady are familiar with each other from their time together with the New England Patriots. McDaniels was on the Pats' staff for each of their six Super Bowl-winning teams that were led by the veteran QB.

    Considering Las Vegas has so many strong offensive playmakers at this point, Brady could take the unit to another level and potentially make the team a championship contender in 2023.

    The Raiders could still draft a young QB with an eye on the future, but it makes sense to give Brady a one-year deal and see if it can lead to a successful season.

James Bradberry, CB

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    Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) defends against the New York Giants during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
    AP Photo/Adam Hunger

    The Raiders could lose two key cornerbacks in free agency this offseason, as both Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett are set to hit the market. Las Vegas may look to bring either (or both) back, but it could also try to upgrade the position, which is lacking a bit of depth.

    James Bradberry is having a tremendous year for the Philadelphia Eagles, which are headed to the NFC Championship Game. During the regular season, he had 44 tackles and three interceptions in 17 games, earning a spot on the All-Pro second team.

    But Bradberry, a seven-year NFL veteran, only signed a one-year deal with the Eagles last offseason, so he'll be an unrestricted free agent again. And it could make sense for him to go to Las Vegas.

    Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham held the same position with the New York Giants from 2020-21, which is when the 29-year-old also played for the team.

    Las Vegas could use more star playmakers on defense, and Bradberry has shown he has the potential to be just that while playing for Philadelphia.

    The Samford product may be 30 when the 2023 season arrives, but he's playing at a high level and has a few more productive years ahead of him.

Jessie Bates III, S

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    Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) exhales into the cold air during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
    AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper

    Not only do the Raiders need a boost at cornerback, but they also have to acquire a starting-caliber safety.

    Their secondary has been lacking strong players in the defensive backfield, as Johnathan Abram was released midseason and Trevon Moehrig underperformed in 2022.

    If Las Vegas is willing to spend big on a free-agent safety, then Jessie Bates III is an obvious target. He is set to hit the market for the first time after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    The 25-year-old has been a reliable presence in Cincinnati's secondary throughout his career, and he's a big reason why the Bengals are heading to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year.

    During the regular season, Bates recorded a career-high four interceptions and 71 tackles while starting every game.

    There will likely be plenty of suitors for the Wake Forest product, should he decide not to return to Cincinnati. But the Raiders should try their hardest to sign him, because he could serve as a defensive leader for numerous years.