The Las Vegas Raiders enter the 2020 offseason with plenty of names on their free agency list, including two key specialists.
Heading into the 2019 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders were set at kicker, as Daniel Carlson came over early in the 2018 season and was lights out. Though set at kicker, there were plenty of questions within the other specialist positions, including who would be the team’s punter for the 2019 campaign.
In fact, the punter job was one of the bigger battles of the summer, as undrafted rookie A.J. Cole was brought in to battle it out with incumbent starter Johnny Townsend. Townsend had a very sub-par rookie season for the Raiders, and in the end, it was Cole who came out of nowhere to win the job.
At long snapper, Trent Sieg took over for the injured Andrew DePaola during the 2018 season, and played well enough to be re-signed in 2019. He would have to beat out DePaola, the highest-paid long snapper in the league in order to retain his job this past season, which he did with a strong summer.
Here is a look at the specialists who will enter free agency this offseason.
- K Daniel Carlson
- LS Trent Sieg
The Raiders rolled the dice on Carlson during the 2018 season, and he responded by becoming one of the more accurate kickers in football. A former fifth round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, Carlson converted only 74.1 percent of his kicks this past season, which was a far cry from his 94-plus mark in 2018.
Daniel Carlson had his struggles throughout the 2019 NFL season, and the Raiders should bring in some competition this offseason for him to fight for the job with. During the 2018 season, he was one of the better young kickers in all of football, and the expectation was that he would be even better in Year 2 in the Silver and Black.
Carlson struggled down the stretch for the Raiders, missing very make-able kicks, and frustrating head coach Jon Gruden at times. Still only 25-years old, he has all the talent to be one of the better kickers in the game, but he has yet to prove his consistency at the NFL level.
Sieg was a pleasant surprise, and like Carlson, I expect him to be with the team when they head to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. This is a very young group of specialists, and if Carlson can revert to his 2018 form, the Raiders should be in good shape at kicker, punter, and long snapper for years to come.