3 moves Raiders need to make in free agency after getting tons of new cap space

Offloading Jimmy G and a historic salary cap increase means the Raiders can make some important moves this offseason.

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Invest heavily in the offensive line

Speaking of win-rate stats, the Raiders’ offensive line, by those metrics, were extremely mid last year: they ranked 15th in pass block win rate, and 18th in run block win rate.

Other places were a bit more bullish on their performance; PFF loved three of their five linemen – LT Kolton Miller, C Andre James, and RG James Van Roten all ranked within the top 10 of their positions, respectively. But both James and Von Roten are scheduled to hit free agency this March, and rebuilding an offensive line takes time. With a little extra money, however, the Raiders could handle that a bit more on the fly – a guy like Llyod Cushenberry would be the best case scenario, but if he ends up too pricey for Vegas, there are plenty of other talented options out there.

Having an all-world offensive line is the best way to mitigate the absence of a franchise QB, which ultimately feels like the Raiders’ challenge this upcoming season.

With plenty of skill players in the place, investing upfront would be a great next step to relevancy. 

Don’t settle for Aidan O’Connell 

No offense to O’Connell, who performed admirably in place of Garoppolo last season, but the Raiders can do better -- and need to.

While the obvious short-term solutions are out there (Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson) the Raiders now have more money to ease that decision making. Now more than ever, a contract that’s long on cash but short on years makes even more sense.

Two years and whatever dollar amounts he wants for Cousins? Done. Trading for Justin Fields and picking up his $25 million 5th year option? No problem. They don’t even need to look out of their division to see the negative ramifications of giving a veteran QB a huge amount of guaranteed years, but for a team full of cap space that’s definitely not getting any poorer anytime soon, those bloated QB contracts don’t seem so miserable anymore.

With an extra $11 million to play with, plus everything the Raiders got with the cap increase, the idea of two seasons with Cousins, Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, or – gulp – even Gardner Minshew doesn’t feels as catastrophically short-sighted as it used to. It also doesn't preclude them from drafting a guy, and it might even work out that they can take a Day 2 quarterback to learn behind a veteran while using a first round pick at another position of need.

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