Raiders 2022 free agency big board: 10 realistic free agents following Tyreek Hill’s departure from the AFC West.
Entering the off-season, the Raiders had no shortage of defensive boxes to check. Now, with cornerback, linebacker and the defensive interior addressed, not much remains for them to touch up. A split safety for coverage downs is still needed, and another linebacker would certainly be helpful, but that’s about the size of it.
One player I’ve had as a great fit since his release was announced is Kyle Van Noy. Now with four linebackers, who all come with starting experience, there isn’t much logic in pouring sizable money on a fifth. That’s not to say a fifth-linebacker shouldn’t be explored, but I suspect his price tag is more than what Las Vegas should be looking to dish out.
If I’m wrong about Van Noy’s market, that’s great news for Vegas. If not, there are other options.
Jabrill Peppers, S
I’ve been pushing the Jabrill Peppers envelope for weeks now. Reuniting with Patrick Graham in Vegas is nothing short of plausible, filling the one role on defense the Raiders haven’t figured out yet; A strong safety that offers coverage skills, and still holds weight against the run. It’s not that Peppers is the best player available for this role, but rather the one that makes the most sense.
Kareem Jackson, S
If Graham isn’t thinking about his old buddy Jabrill Peppers, Kareem Jackson is a great option. Jackson has spent the last three years in Denver, where he’s broken up 16 passes and has only missed four games. Coverage skills aside, that availability is something to pay close attention to, as starting strong safety Johnathan Abram has missed three games both last year and the year prior.
Stephon Gilmore, CB
Here it is, Raider Nation; The one you’ve been waiting for. The Gilmore situation is a very strange one. Some sources state there’s strong interest, and even go as far as saying a contract has been offered to Gilmore from Las Vegas. Other sources downright deny this and claim there’s been little contact between the two parties since the legal tampering period.
It’s still unclear which side is true, but if the Raiders do land Gilmore, look out AFC West.
Dont’a Hightower, LB
The Raiders signed two linebackers on Monday, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use a veteran who’s familiar with this new regime, and won’t command a high price tag. Hightower isn’t just a linebacker; This is a leader who could be a big difference for the Raiders’ defense. Starting 15 games in each of the last three seasons, Hightower has also shown he can remain available.
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The long-time Patriot has also played every linebacker position there is, giving Patrick Graham the added incentive of versatility.