Now, in my opinion, I’m not one to raid the retirement home looking for a one year wonder with fumes left in the gas tank, but Earl Thomas may be an exception. The 30-year-old free agent had a fantastic career in Seattle under Pete Carroll with the “Legion of Boom.”
Along with his astounding resume is a Super Bowl win against one of the most prolific offenses in recent history against the Broncos, and lost one against Tom Brady and the Patriots who were one play away from losing the game. He brings a veteran presence who knows what it takes to win, which is what Oakland needs right now if they want to combat a team like the Chiefs.
What makes Thomas so great is his ability to play sideline to sideline on every down, and for his short size, he’s an excellent tackler. If I had to choose between Reggie Nelson and Thomas, the clear choice is Thomas, even if it’s just for 2 years.
Jason McCourty is an older free agent as well, but what interests me is his tackling ability. He only had 1 forced fumble and 1 interception in 16 games, but he had 70 tackles with 54 of them solo. The Raiders need players on the line to focus on the pass rush and not have to worry about setting an edge and his ability to tackle can help the left end, presumably Gary if the Raiders draft him, focus on developing as a pass rusher, not a run stopper.
Not to mention, many New England players are excellently coached and have fantastic skills. McCourty has a lot of talent left in the tank and is an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
These players are just starting points for the Raiders in 2019. With double-digit draft picks in 2019 and multiple in 2020 from the Khalil Mack trade, they are poised to gain a lot of talent on their team in the next two years.
Gruden knows the value of a strong defense, after all, he won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson and practically no one on the offense against the Raiders. With $72 million in cap space, let’s get after those free agents to stop the offensive powerhouses in our division.