While there is understandably much focus on the contractual future of quarterback Derek Carr, there are some other potential deals that need to be addressed this offseason by the Las Vegas Raiders.
In addition to the veteran Carr, young foundation players defensive end Maxx Crosby and slot wide receiver Hunter Renfrow are also entering the final years of their contracts. Because they were both 2019 draft picks that weren’t first-round choices, both Crosby (a fourth-round pick) and Renfrow (a fifth rounder) are set to be free agents after next season. All 2019 draft picks are now eligible to receive contract extensions.
Of course, Las Vegas can extend Crosby and Renfrow any time before free agency starts in 2023, or they can give one of them the franchise tag next offseason to keep them from leaving.
Make no mistake, both Crosby and Renfrow would be extremely attractive on the open market in March 2023 if it gets to that point. Both players took the next step in their careers in 2021 and were both vital to Las Vegas’ 10-7 record and playoff run.
Crosby made his first Pro Bowl in 2021 and was the defensive MVP in the game. He had eight sacks and led the NFL in pressures. He changed the conversation when it came to sack-pressure impact. Crosby made an impact on almost every snap and he always gave full effort.
The truth is, Cosby is going to become extremely rich between now and March 2023. The Raiders need to make him a priority right now and figure out a way to reward him for becoming a home-grown star. The price tag is only going to rise if they wait.
I know adding in free agency is important to the Raiders this offseason, but they are in solid salary-cap standing and they need to give a chunk of it to Crosby. According to Spotrac, Las Vegas is projected to have the 12th most cap room in the NFL. That is subject to change and they can always make more room.
Renfrow is in the same exact situation as Crosby. He took his game to the next level as a third-year pro. Renfrow had a career high and 2021 team high 103 catches for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. He was Carr’s favorite target in2021 and came up clutch virtually every game. He would fit in basically with all 32 offenses in the NFL. The Raiders need to keep him. Yes, he plays at a premium-cost position, but the Raiders can’t risk letting either of these players leaving and they need to extend them now.
I don’t think the fact that the Raiders has new leadership matter. Football people know the impact both Crosby and Renfrow make regardless where they were last year. They’re both players any front office would want and the Raiders must do what it takes to secure them both when they can.