We’ve covered basically every angle in the past several weeks leading up to Monday’s opening of free-agency contract discussions. With free agency essentially starting in less than 72 hours, I wanted to empty the notebook with some last-minute thoughts on free agency as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare to jump into the pool:
- The Davante Adams dream appears to be dead for now, but that doesn’t mean the wide receiver-needy Raiders can’t add a Green Bay wide out this month. Marquez Valdes-Scantling could be attractive to the new Raiders’ brass. He may be reasonably priced, although he should have a strong market. Valdes-Scantling may not answer the Raiders’ need for a true No. 1 receiver, but he would be a good deep threat for Las Vegas. He averaged 20.9 yards per catch on 33 receptions in 2020. In four seasons, he is averaging 17.5 yards per catch on 123 receptions. Speaking of Adams, there’s rumblings that, despite, the Packers giving him the franchise tag, that it’s not of the question he gets moved this offseason. So, let’s keep our eyes open if anything changes out of Green Bay this offseason.
- If Marcus Mariota leaves in free agency (he should have a solid market), I wonder if the Raiders will try to add a veteran or maybe draft someone late. Former Josh McDaniels pupils Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett make a lot of sense. Hoyer has been with McDaniels for four of the past five years. I could even see McDaniels preferring Hoyer to Mariota and he would likely be cheaper.
- There’s talk the Raiders could try to pursue veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Campbell will be 36 in September, but he can still play and he is a supreme leader. He was in Baltimore with new Raiders’ defensive assistant Rob Ryan last year. A Raiders-Campbell pairing makes sense.
- I heard this week from agents that they sense the Raiders may be mostly bargain shoppers in free agency. That doesn’t mean they won’t spend big, but it’s just the feel some agents have gotten this offseason. I wouldn’t be shocked if that is the case, though. McDaniels said last week that free agency will be an entire offseason process. Also, the Patriots, where McDaniels and new Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler come from, have historically been bargain hunters in free agency. Plus, the Raiders aren’t overly flush with salary-cap room (but they’ve been making some room). Still, agent speculation doesn’t mean the Raiders won’t add a big-ticket item or two in the next week.
Anything can happen, but there's a feel in the agent community #Raiders may be bargain hunters on the market.— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonNFL) March 8, 2022
- We have talked a lot about potential big deals looming for 2023 Raiders’ free agents, quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Maxx Crosby and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. But don’t forget star tight end Darren Waller when discussing new contracts. Waller is terribly underpaid. He has a base salary of $6.25 million the next two seasons before becoming a free agent. Seeing lesser tight ends Dalton Schultz, David Njoku and Mike Gesicki get the franchise tag for more than $10 million this year probably won’t lessen Waller’s desires to tear up his contract. The bottom line: The Raiders have a lot of big contract decisions coming up,
- Free agency, of course, will give us more clarity of what the Raiders will do with the No. 22 overall pick in the April 28-30 draft. Two guys who I think would be tremendous first-round picks for the Raiders are receiver Chris Olave of Ohio State and defensive tackle Jordan Davis of Georgia. After their great performances at the recent NFL combine, the Raiders may have to trade up to get either. Still, it’s worth thinking about. They would be great fits. But, for now, all eyes are on free agency.
- With special teams captain Alec Ingold likely leaving in free agency, I wonder if McDaniels and Ziegler will try to coax free-agent special teams star Matthew Slater out of New England.