On Monday, that plan was put in place when the Raiders released former starter Tahir Whitehead, ending a two-season relationship and saving the Raiders $6.25 million in salary cap room. It was the first of what will be many moves at the position as the Raiders could have three new starters at linebacker in 2020. They will fill those spots in free agency and in the draft, possibly in the first round.
With free agency starting next week, let’s focus on one possible new Raiders’ starter.
Veteran NFL reporter Adam Caplan has reported that the Raiders are interested in Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil.
Of course, Vigil makes sense for the Raiders because of the presence of defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who has had a huge influence on the Raiders’ free-agent moves the past two offseasons. So, the idea of the Raiders bringing in another former Guenther player is completely believable.
The Raiders haven’t had a ton of success with former Guenther players in the form of Vontaze Burfict, Reggie Nelson and Emmanuel Lamur.
Still, that doesn’t mean Vigil wouldn’t be a good fit. Caplan notes that personnel people around the league think he is one of the better coverage linebackers available in this free-agent class. We all know how badly the Raiders need to upgrade there as tight ends have routinely exploited Raiders’ linebackers.
That clearly needs to change.
Vigil was a third-round pick in 2016, he had 111 tackles and one interception last season. He played at Utah State and is from Utah, so playing in nearby Las Vegas could appeal to Vigil personally as well as the Guenther connection.
As Caplan reports, this is something to keep an eye on early next week as the Raiders rebuild the linebacker position.