The Las Vegas Raiders have been busy in terms of bringing in free agents, but there are still some key players still available currently.
The first week of the 2020 free agent signing period is now behind us and while many of the big name free agents were signed there are still plenty of deals out there to be had. The Las Vegas Raiders were active in the first week, spending the majority of their cap space to bring in several pieces, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Mike Mayock has done as excellent job filling voids on the roster but there are a couple of positions that could still use some help. Both the cornerback and safety positions are two of those areas, and despite the fact they added Nelson Agholor to the wide receiver room, they still need a true WR1.
After missing out on Bryon Jones and Chris Harris Jr, the Raiders settled on Eli Apple as insurance at cornerback, and will likely add another in the draft. Jeff Heath a special teams ace was brought in to compete at safety but neither of these players are a slam dunk to start.
Expect Gruden and Mayock to keep the peddle to the metal as they work to transform this roster into a playoff team in 2020.
Pass rushers normally are the first to get scooped up when they hit the open market, so it's odd to see Jadeveon Clowney still looking for a home in 2020. The issue for Clowney is that he is seeking a contract in the $20 million dollar range. That's elite pass rusher money and his numbers suggest he isn't elite in that department.
Last season he registered only three sacks and has never reached double digits in his career. In addition, he has had his issues with injuries throughout his career, and has played in all 16 games only once.
The Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants were the three teams who were reportedly linked to Clowney, though he did turn down an offer from the Miami Dolphins. It is becoming more and more likely that his best course of action is to take a short term prove it deal and hit the market again next year in hopes of landing the big contract he is seeking.
On Tuesday, Cam Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers after they signed Teddy Bridgewater early in free agency. The issue with Cam recently has been that he has been injured, but a physical performed in Atlanta stated that he is healthy heading into next season.
Newton has battled injuries the past two seasons. In 2019 he was limited to two starts after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his foot. Still only 30 years old, Cam is a young man and has plenty to offer if he can just get himself in good health.
Injuries to the throwing shoulder for a quarterback are very concerning, compounded by a Lisfranc injury for a mobile quarterback and you can see why the Panthers felt the need to turn the page. Still, he may not have a home right now, but you have to believe that the Los Angeles Chargers or someone like that are going to take a swing.
Yes, Jameis Winston makes this three former No. 1 overall picks at the top of the board, as the team has decided to move on from him after a 2019 season that saw him throw for over 5,000 yards, but also 30 interceptions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bringing in Tom Brady, so you can see why they would make the move.
For Winston, he likely is not going to be a starter next season, as teams are worried about his interceptions, but he is going to latch on somewhere. Remember, he led the NFL in passing yards in 2019, and recently had Lasik surgery.
Many people will consider Newton as the better option when healthy, so that also could hurt his value as he enters free agency. He is a talented quarterback, and showed he can put up big numbers, but the turnovers will continue to haunt him.
The Raiders added Eli Apple but there still is some work to be done at the position. If Mike Mayock wants to go bargain bin shopping, Logan Ryan could be a steal, as he has shown himself to be a quality cornerback during his career.
Ryan has played several years under Bill Belichick in New England before spending the last three seasons in Tennessee playing for another former Patriot, Mike Vrabel. It wouldn't hurt to bring in a veteran to help show the youngsters in the secondary how things are done at a winning organization.
Even at 29 years of age, Ryan was very productive last year intercepting four passes and 18 passes defended. The Raiders need help at cornerback, and will likely attack the position group via the 2020 NFL Draft, but if they can get Ryan at a good price, why not?
Another position that could be looked at a little closer for the Raiders is safety, even after signing Jeff Heath. Of course, the Silver and Black have Johnathan Abram coming back, as well as Erik Harris, but he secondary as a whole was an issue last season, and Mayock is not going to leave any rock unturned.
Bell, 25 is coming off his best year as a pro and his best years are ahead of him. Known more as a box safety who is more than willing to help in run support he has shown the ability to cover tight ends as well.
In 13 starts last season, Bell recorded 89 tackles, five passes defended, two forced fumbles, and one interception. It is unlikely that the Saints bring him back after signing Malcolm Jenkins.
Again, if Mike Mayock feels another piece is needed on the back end Damarious Randall is another option to consider. Per Josina Anderson (March 16th) the Raiders were showing interest in Randall, whether or not that is still the case is yet to be determined.
Randall was limited to 11 starts in Cleveland last year but was effective when available. He recorded 61 tackles and six passes defended. Though he had no interceptions last season, he is known as having a good eye for the ball, and has his fair share of interceptions in his career.
One of the areas the Raiders defense has struggled recently is turning teams over and creating big plays. In his first four years in the league, Randall had 14 interceptions, and the Raiders would take that kind of production any day of the week.
One of the key pass rushers on the market is a guy who can be extremely productive, but has also had his fair share of issues staying healthy. In this league, the need for talent on the edge is paramount, and in Golden, they could be getting quite a bargain this late in free agency.
Golden has twice had seasons of double digit sacks (12.5 in 2016, 10 in 2019), the issue for him has been injuries. In 2017 he missed 12 games and in 2018 he missed five games. If he can stay on the field, he has that kind of potential.
The Giants are one of the teams who are desperate for pass rush so it is possible they look to retain Golden after letting him test the waters and see what he can get on the open market. The Raiders are likely set at edge rusher heading into 2020, so I do not expect him in the Silver and Black.
Everson Griffen, who has spent all of his ten years in the league as a member of the Minnesota Vikings has had a highly productive career, including 74.5 sacks. However, the Vikings have decided that they are going to revamp their defense this season, and will not be bring him back.
At the age of 32 he is showing no signs of slowing down. In 2019, he had eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss and is coming off his fourth pro bowl appearance in the last five seasons.
If the Seahawks are not able to bring Jadeveon Clowney back, Griffen would be a consolation prize. Another team who could be a fit would be the Dallas Cowboys who lost Robert Quinn to the Chicago Bears. Whoever it is, they are going to find a good one in Griffen, who still is capable of double-digit sacks.
Suh was an integral part of a Buccaneers defense that was the number one run defense in the NFL a year ago (73.8 yards per game). Any team would take that kind of production, and despite him getting up there in age, there appears to be a lot left in the tank.
Throughout his career he has been extremely durable missing only two games in ten years in the league. The Bucs are all of a sudden in Super Bowl or bust mood so keeping their stout run defense in tact is a top priority.
Besides the Bucs, I have read reports that the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are teams who have shown interest in adding Suh's services. Whoever gets him is getting a veteran prescene in the middle of their defensive line that can get the job done.
Shelby Harris came into the league in 2014, after being drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round. Since then, he has moved on to the Denver Broncos, where he has not missed a game in the last three years, and has become a big part of their defense.
After two unsuccessful seasons with the Raiders, Harris has now found his way with the denver Broncos where he has spent the last three seasons. Over that time he has 12 sacks, including a career high six sacks in 2019. He also recorded nine passes deflected which led all nose tackles in the NFL.
There are still some solid players available, and while most of these guys are likely not to sign with the Raiders, it will be interesting to keep an eye on where they end up. Free agency is starting to dwindle down, and we are starting to inch closer to the NFL Draft, so some of these guys may end up signing for cheap.