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Raiders’ free agency options at defensive tackle

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Chris Jones pipe dream may be over, but that doesn’t mean your Las Vegas Raiders no longer have a need to pursue a defensive tackle in free agency.

It was widely reported that the Raiders would target Jones in free agency if he made it to the open market (legal tampering begins March 16 and players can officially sign March 18th). However, the Chiefs are franchising Jones, thus taking him out of the mix for the Raiders.

Las Vegas’ interest in Jones made a ton of sense. He is a dominant player who would have transformed the Raiders’ defensive front. Also, signing Jones would have weakened their AFC West foe, similar to when the Raiders signed stud center Rodney Hudson away from the Chiefs five years ago.

However, now that Jones is off the board, the Raiders still need to consider adding a veteran defensive tackle in free agency. They need a burst there.

Here are some non-Jones options the Raiders can consider in free agency: D.J. Reader (Houston), Jarran Reed (Seattle), Javon Hargrave (Pittsburgh), Michael Pierce (Baltimore), Shelby Harris (Denver, yes he is a former Raiders’ draft pick), Maliek Collins (Dallas), Ndamukong Suh (Tampa Bay) David Onyemata (New Orleans), A’Shawn Robinson (Detroit and Andrew Billings (Cincinnati).

My best bets: I love Reed’s game. I think he is underrated. He would instantly improve the Raiders’ defensive front. He won’t be cheap, but the Raiders can afford him. Phillips can be a fit as well. In Jon Gruden’s first two offseasons with the Raiders, he often added free agents who had connections to coaches on his staff. It’s very plausible that happens again this year at this position. Watch Collins and Billings. Collins played for new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli in Dallas. Billings’ first two years with the Bengals was under Raiders’ defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.