4 recent Raiders free agent signings that just didn't pan out

If Las Vegas wants to make noise in the AFC West next year, they'll be wise to learn from these mistakes.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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As far as the NFL offseason is concerned, there aren't too many more exciting moments than the first few days of free agency.

When the new league year starts next week, teams won't waste any time throwing huge amounts of money at big-name players, hoping to strike gold on a market that is notoriously difficult to figure out. In most cases, as the cliche goes, they're not paying for what said free agent will do for them, but for what he's already done for others.

And while adding through free agency can certainly lead to good things, a lot of times, free agency can be a trap. The list of free agents who never quite lived up to the huge contracts they signed is much, much longer than the list of ones who did, and the challenge of next week will be trying to figure out how to toe that line.

The Raiders, especially in recent history, don't have the best track record of those types of signings. It's been a rough go in Las Vegas over the last several years, with a ton of signings coming back to bite them, and almost immediately.

These are the four biggest flops that come to mind.

Chandler Jones, LB

Over a seven-year span, Jones was arguably the best pass rusher in football. From 2013 to 2019, Jones had double-digit sacks in six of those seasons (the only exception being an six-sack, 10-game season in 2014). During that stretch, he was named to the NFL's All-Pro first team twice, and finished two seasons in the Top-3 of voting for Defensive Player of the Year. When the Raiders signed him to a three-year, $51 million contract before the 2022 season, Jones had 107.5 career sacks and was coming off a resurgent, 10.5 sack Pro Bowl season with the Cardinals the year before. Raiders fans know the rest of the story: he wasn't productive (4.5 sacks) during his first year in Las Vegas, and has since dealt with a handful of off field issues. He was released in September of 2023, and hasn't found a new team yet.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Truly a disaster.

After signing a three-year, $72 million contract before the season, Garoppolo played very badly in six games before being benched. To make matters worse – or better, if you're the Raiders' front office – Garoppolo tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and it's widely expected that he'll be released now that the team can get out of paying his contract.

The signing always felt a bit short-sighted, and the Raiders are fortunate that a technicality got them off the hook for it.