Why Raiders will not use cap space on free agents explained by insider

With the sixth-highest salary cap in the NFL, the ability to add another key piece is there but the Raiders appear happy with their roster.
Las Vegas Raiders Introduce Antonio Pierce As Head Coach, Tom Telesco As General Manager
Las Vegas Raiders Introduce Antonio Pierce As Head Coach, Tom Telesco As General Manager / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

According to The Athletic's Tashan Reed, the Raiders don't plan to use any of their $34-million in cap space this offseason on new free agent additions. You might anticipate an action from the new general manager and head coach given the availability of notable free agents at positions of need. However, I do agree that it's probable that all of the major moves have already been made this offseason, and I'll explain.

No current free agent moves the needle

There isn't a player that the Raiders truly "need" from the current free agent market. The Raiders wouldn't take that next step if any of the free agents signed, and this is especially true at cornerback, where there is a need on this team. Xavien Howard, Patrick Peterson, Adorree' Jackson, Akhello Witherspoon, and Stephon Gilmore are a few of the well-known accessible corners.  In Reed’s article, the coaching staff’s opinion on these free agents and the current roster was shared:

“Their sentiment is that most of the players still on the market may provide a marginal improvement over what they already have, but that they are older and will likely continue to decline this season. The preference is for the coaching staff to develop someone already on the roster into a capable starter this season.” 

I totally agree, and this reinforces the belief that the impact of signing any current free agent would be a minimal improvement, at best, from the current roster. Exercise patience, maintain your two legitimate cornerbacks, Jack Jones and Nate Hobbs, and develop your own young players.

Key players contract extensions looming

Numerous key players for the Raiders are entering their last year of contracts. Players including Robert Spillane, Tre'von Moehrig, Divine Deablo, and Malcolm Koonce are a few examples. When it comes time to extend current players' contracts, you will have more flexibility if you don't spend a lot of money this offseason. Your preference is for the current players to stay healthy, get better, and get an extension.

Could Make a Splash in 2025 Offseason

It could be advantageous in the 2025 offseason to exercise patience and avoid signing another big name before this season. This would increase the likelihood of pursuing a top free agent the following offseason, even after extending contracts for key players who are currently with the team.

At the end of this season, we will know more about the team, Antonio Pierce's performance as head coach, and the overall direction. It would work in the Raiders' favor to let this season play out and use the next offseason to explore other options if the organization thinks they can find a player next offseason that moves the needle, they will have the capital.

New Head Coach and GM

The relationship between general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Antonio Pierce is still developing. Let this be the season where they are able to experience everything and establish an identity and a plan forward. Antonio Pierce has been very vocal about wanting to win now, and any Raiders fan knows that he does, and you love hearing the head coach say as much.

As the offseason progressed, it appeared Coach Pierce realized that true success might take some time. The new Raiders head coach commented on the topic recently: “You want to win now, but you also understand it’s a process.” Tom Telesco seems to also understand the process, and patience with building a roster is something we saw him do in his time with the Chargers. We heard the Raiders GM speak on this in April:

“We know where we are today, but we are looking for today and in the future.”

It appears that the general manager and the coach are on the same page in how to assemble a team, which is a plus.

We can all accept that the Raiders are not on the shortlist to win the Super Bowl this season. However, I don't think "tanking" characterizes the average Raiders fan, and Antonio Pierce doesn't seem to fit that description either. Be competitive, win every game you can, establish an identity, build for the future and get on that Super Bowl shortlist.