Looking at the pending free agents for the Las Vegas Raiders going into the 2024 season, and no name is bigger than Josh Jacobs. The star running back will hold a hefty price tag going into the next few months, and hopefully, the Raiders and Jacobs can come to a decision earlier than last year, when he arrived in camp in August.
However, Jacobs is not the only key member of the 2023 Las Vegas Raiders that needs to garner the team's attention this offseason. Looking at the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Adam Butler stood out for the Raiders down the stretch in the interior of the defensive line, and more than earned a new contract with the Silver and Black.
In the end, Butler appeared in all 17 games for the Raiders in 2023, making zero starts, but also making an incredible impact on the field. He racked up five sacks on the season, the second-highest total of his career, and his nine quarterback hits were more than he has ever had in a season.
Butler did most of his work late in the season, registering a quarterback hit in four of the last five games, including two in the team's loss to Minnesota. He also notched a sack in each of the final three games of the 2023 NFL season, proving his worth time and time again.
Raiders will look to bolster the DT spot this offseason
Las Vegas tinkered with their defensive line all season long, and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham certainly got a lot out of the unit. Butler stepped up in a big way late, and when the team decided to kick Tyree Wilson inside, he looked like a completely different player.
Still, with all the positives, the Raiders are likely to make defensive tackle a priority in the draft and free agency for the third offseason in a row. Whatever they do, Butler should be a priority free agent for the team, as he plays the game the Raider Way, has developed relationships with Maxx Crosby and the rest of the defense, and in the end, played his best football when it mattered down the stretch.
He won't warrant breaking the bank, so I believe whoever the next general manager is should make Butler one of the first players they bring back in free agency.