There is a clear trend (with one glaring exception) in this year’s Raiders’ free-agent class — youth.
Thus far, the Raiders — whose salary caps space is dwindling, but will surely still add in the second-and-third waves of free agency — have added eight players in free agency.
The average age of the eight players is 27.8 and that includes tight end Jason Witten, who’ll soon be 38.
Here are the ages of each player on opening day, which should be September 13, in the order they were agreed upon with:
LB Nick Kwiatkowski 27
QB Marcus Mariota 26
LB Cory Littleton 26
TE Jason Witten 38
DT Maliek Collins 25
S Jeff Heath 29
DE Carl Nassib 27
CB Eli Apple 25
This is clearly by design. The Raiders have an ascending roster and this free agency period was about getting contributors entering their primes.
Three sure new defensive starters are Littleton, Kwiatkowski and Collins. Kwiatkowski is the oldest with an opening day age of 27. Apple could also be a starter and he’s not even 25 yet.
These are wise additions who can continue to get better while wearing a Raiders’ uniform. Coupled with a strong rookie class in 2019, this free-agent class can be a foundation of a Raiders’ playoff run if the key, young players live up to their expectations.