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Raiders’ free agency pass rusher options dwindle as edge rushers receive franchise tags

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NFL: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are really fortunate that this upcoming NFL Draft is chock-full of edge rushers, because the number of potential elite pass rushers who will hit the free agency market is dropping fast.

The Chiefs were one of the first teams to place the tag on their man.

The Chiefs are overhauling everything to do with their defense next year, but they won’t just let a stud pass rusher like Ford go for nothing. Next up were the Seahawks.

Clark had a ton of character issues coming out of college, but he seems to have put those behind him en route to a successful career thus far. Someone’s bound to give him a long-term deal at some point with how productive he’s been.

Earlier today, two more pass rushers got locked down:

The 2014 first overall pick was given a non-exclusive tag, most likely because the Texans are trying desperately to come to a long-term contract agreement with him.

So Lawrence gets the franchise tag once again, after his second monster season in a row. Jerry Jones always talks about how he wants “war daddies” on defense, but they have this guy and won’t pony up. Will Lawrence agree to a long-term deal in Big D or will be hit the market next year?

So, there are plenty of pass-rushers off the market, but there are also some terrific ones who will likely become unrestricted free agents. Trey Flowers of the Patriots, Ziggy Ansah of the Lions, Preston Smith of the Indigenous Persons, ZaDarius Smith of the Ravens, and Dante Fowler of the Rams are all set to hit the market and the Raiders could do worse than signing one while also making Edge a priority in the draft.

On March 11, the “early” period begins where teams may negotiate with players/agents, and the free agency signing period starts on March 13. The Raiders have a shade under $73 million to spend and plenty of holes to fill.