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Silver Minings: 4 Raiders make the Athletic’s list of top free agents

Casey Heyward and three others make the list

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL free-agent window opens in two weeks as anticipation mounts for fans. The Las Vegas Raiders will be in the market for high-level upgrades to continue the playoff magic.

The defensive improvement in 2021 was a critical factor in that run. However, many of those players were on one-year deals and hitting the free agency market.

The Athletic’s new article on the top 150 free agents has four Raiders players displayed in their rankings. Casey Hayward is the leading player ranking at 59 on the list.

If this list were based solely on 2021 performance, Hayward would be near the top. He played great as a 17-game starter for the Raiders. But Hayward hit the market last offseason and had to settle for a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Given that he’s 33 years old, he’s likely looking at another one-year deal from a team in need of a short-term fix at corner.

The other three players making the rankings were Marcus Mariota, Quinton Jefferson, and Solomon Thomas. Throughout the season, these players were key contributors, with Jefferson and Mariota making their mark down the stretch.

In other Raiders links

Raiders top ten free-agent targets: Moe Moton writes his top ten free agents targets.

Tape Don’t Lie Carrfax review: TDL reviews Derek Carr’s season, and this week is every completion over 20 yards.

Profile of Gene Upshaw: The Raiders website profiles legendary offensive lineman and NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.