It’s never too early to look toward the offseason, especially on a week when the team can be eliminated from postseason contention.
Assuming Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis won’t change his mind and will, indeed, keep head coach Josh McDaniels (and his partner, general manager Dave Ziegler), it’s logical that the two will look at adding players who they were in New England with. This past offseason, Ziegler and McDaniels brought in several former Patriots players after they came to Las Vegas from New England.
So, with the Raiders hosting the Patriots on Sunday, it makes sense to look at some potential pending New England free agents who could interest the Raiders. Spotrac.com currently projects the Raiders to have around $31 million in 2023 salary-cap room, which projects to be ninth most in the NFL. Of course, it can change some.
Spotrac has the Patriots (who they project to have the fourth most cap room in 2023, and thus, have the opportunity to keep whoever they want from leaving) with 19 projected unrestricted free agents in 2023.
There are a few potential fits for the Raiders, especially with Ziegler and McDaniels’ familiarity and history with these players. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Wide receiver Nelson Agholor: Ziegler and McDaniels were part of the New England staff that brought him to the franchise from the Raiders in free agency two years ago. So, there is a fit there. if the Raiders want Agholor over Mack Hollins or if Hollins wants to leave in free agency, it is a possibility.
- Cornerback Johnathan Jones: He’s been a solid player since signing with the Patriots in 2016. He has three interceptions this season and could interest the Raiders as they continue to try to develop that position.
- Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers: He’s in the same boat as Agholor. He has 50 catches and has developed into being a nice player since signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2016. I could see Las Vegas having interest.
- Tackle Isaiah Wynn: The former first-round pick could interest the Raiders as they will surely try to upgrade the offensive line next offseason.
- Cornerback Joejuan Williams: He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in August. He could be a cheap depth piece.
- Running back Damien Harris: McDaniels loves stockpiling at this position and brought in former Patriots’ running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson this offseason. I could see interest in Harris whether Josh Jacobs stays or not.
While there will certainly be a time to revisit these possible free-agent marriages with the Raiders, Sunday’s game is a perfect time to think about potential New England connections while we watch the Raiders try to stay in the playoff conversation and stave off full-blown offseason chatter.