3 Las Vegas Raider defenders who deserve a contract extension

With over 34 million in cap space, it's time for the Raiders to lock up some of their best defenders.
Michael Owens/GettyImages

Now that Jimmy Garoppolo is finally off the pay books, the Raiders have some extra cap space to make some more frugal moves. One idea would be to secure the long-term services of some that make up one of the most dangerous defenses in the league. These are three names who had a career-altering season last year and are now in line for a raise.

3 Defenders Who Deserve A Pay Upgrade

1. Malcolm Koonce

Koonce arrived on the scene in 2023. The 2021 third-rounder will be fighting for a starting spot now along with one of the highest potential defensive lines in the industry. He was the breakout player of the year on the defense and Mark Davis ought to show him the money because of that. He'll be up for free agency before you know it and isn't worth losing as a compliment to Mad Maxx.

2. Robert Spillane

Spillane was the finest free agent pickup of the 2023 class on both sides of the ball. He brought competent high-level linebacker play to the spot for the first time since arguably the last Super Bowl run, give or take, and transformed the unit. He is the second best defender behind Crosby and has earned a hefty pay raise because of the nature of how he plays the game. He is a long-term solution to the position.

He'll now get to help mold Tommy Eichenberg in the same fashion. The underrated Western Michigan star is 28, so a four-year deal is reasonable for him. Spillane signed a two-year deal and unless he drops off dramatically this year, he might as well be a Raider for the rest of his career. I mean, he is a total throwback who exemplifies what it means to be a Raider after all.

3. Tre'von Moehrig

Just a year ago some, including myself, were wondering if the Raiders would release the safety. He put that notion to rest with the most profound season of his short career. He helped lead the resurgence of one of the most feared defenses in the league. The former Jim Thorpe award winner is now proving everyone wrong on why he won that moniker in college and it finally translated to success in the pros.

Moehrig came from the same draft class as Koonce and is another player the Raiders must re-sign to keep this group at full strength. The drafting of Chris Smith in 2023 was thought to be his replacement, but Moehrig got the message loud and clear. Now he can be a mentor to Smith and Trey Taylor, who was also a Thorpe award recipient.

I personally don't believe in handing out extensions after one year, but that's how the league works nowadays. It would also keep any one of these guys from holding out, but I can't see that happening until they are given more attention.