Well, the first wave of free agency has come and gone and the Las Vegas Raiders got left on the shore.
Rumors were swirling that tied the Raiders to some big-name free agents like J.C. Jackson, however, Jackson is reportedly signing with the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas walked away empty-handed.
Nonetheless, the Raiders still have about $26.7 million in effective cap space per OverTheCap.com and there are plenty of quality players still available on the open market. So, who from the list below do you want to see don the Silver and Black this fall?
1. Stephon Gilmore, CB
PFF Projected contract: 2 years, $12.5 million/year
The Raiders are reportedly in the mix for Gilmore which makes a ton of sense in more ways than one. They desperately need a starting cornerback and the 2019 defensive player of the year is one of the league’s best when healthy. Then there’s the Patriots connection as well.
The three teams in on Stephon Gilmore are the #Jets, #49ers and #Raiders, sources tell @VicTafur, @LombardiHimself and me.— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 14, 2022
Jets, 49ers believed to be most interested. 49ers hoping to get Gilmore for below what Jackson, Davis got ($15-$16 APY).
However, the veteran defensive back will turn 32-years-old in September and is coming off a major injury, a partially torn quad that he suffered at the end of the 2020 season and caused him to miss the first half of 2021. Also, he’s much better in man coverage than zone, and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has typically leaned toward the latter in the past.
Granted, Gilmore returned to the field last year and Graham is known for being versatile, so maybe that’s not much of a deterrent, but it is something to consider with a high price tag.
2. Marcus Williams, S
PFF Projected contract: 4 years, $16.13 million/year
At first glance, safety doesn’t seem like a need for Las Vegas. Tre’von Moehrig played well as a rookie and Johnathan Abram looked like a much-improved player before ending the season on injured reserve. But Graham loves his safeties and often deploys three of them to mix up the defense’s looks.
Williams would not only allow the Raiders’ defensive coordinator to deploy three safties, but also play those two-high coverages that seemingly were the answer for stopping quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Plus, the former Saint will only be 26 in September so he has some future value.
The biggest question is will his price tag be too high to justify a more luxury than necessity signing?
3. Allen Robinson
PFF Projected contract: 3 years, $16 million/year
Another player that the Silver and Black have been connected to but haven’t been able to close on just yet. Robinson is a true ‘No. 1 wide receiver’ who can win on vertical routes and has been productive in his career despite poor quarterback play. He’d fill one of the Raiders’ biggest needs and would arguably be the best receiver they’ve had on the roster since 2017.
Las Vegas isn’t the only suitor for the eight-year pro, though, as several teams have reportedly reached out with interest. In a position market that has already seen some jaw-dropping contracts, he could be in for a very big payday.
4. Morgan Moses, RT
PFF Projected contract: 3 years, $7.5 million/year
We all know that the Raiders are going to be adding some offensive linemen this offseason, we’re just not exactly sure where or how. Alex Leatherwood’s permanent position is still up in the air, but that’s partially because the team doesn’t have another viable option at right tackle. That’s where Moses can step in and bring some stability to the offensive line.
5. Tyran Mathieu, S
PFF Projected contract: 3 years, $16.25 million/year
As mentioned above, Graham loves versatile safeties and Mathieu has been the ultimate swiss army knife since he entered the league. He’d also bring some veteran leadership to Las Vegas’ young secondary and inside knowledge on the team’s biggest rival, the Chiefs. But, in the same vein as Williams, is all that worth a premium price when the roster has several other holes? Also, Mathieu is approaching the magic number of 30, so would Williams make more sense with a similar price tag?
6. D.J. Chark, WR
PFF Projected contract: 2 years, $12.5 million/year
A young deep threat who’s also 6’4” and won’t break the bank...there’s no reason why the Raiders shouldn’t be interested in Chark. The good news is they reportedly have interest in him, but the bad news is so do a lot of other teams. The Patriots are also looking into Chark, the Jaguars are interested in bringing him back and I wouldn’t be surprised if another team joins in the mix soon, too. Also, he is coming off a season where he suffered multiple injuries, a broken finger that cost him time during training camp, and a broken ankle that ended his season in early October.
7. Darious Williams, CB
PFF Projected contract: 3 years, $11 million/year
At the beginning of the legal tampering period, Williams was another cornerback linked to both the Raiders and Chargers. With Los Angeles signing Jackson, that could leave the door wide open for Williams to land in Las Vegas. That would give the Raiders the starting cornerback they’re looking for, it’s just a matter of fighting off the Jaguars who have been big spenders already.
#Rams’ FA CB Darious Williams receiving significant interest from the #Jags, #Raiders and #Chargers, per sources.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 14, 2022
8. Calias Campbell, DT
PFF Projected contract: 1 year, $8 million
Just from a pure volume standpoint, defensive tackle is the Raiders’ biggest need this offseason. They barely have any and certainly none with a resume quite like Campbell’s. While he’s old and won’t be part of the team’s future plans but make no mistake about it, he can still play. The 14-year vet had 31 pressures and an overall PFF grade of 80.8 on 615 snaps last season.
9. Aikem Hicks, DT
PFF Projected contract: 2 years, $8.5 million/year
Another older defensive tackle but, again, much better than what Las Vegas currently has on the roster at the position. At his best, Hicks is a Pro Bowl quality defensive lineman who can plug up gaps against the run and put pressure on the quarterback as a pass rusher. However, he’s battled injuries over the past few years and hasn’t played a full season since 2018. Not a great sign for someone over the magic age of 30 in the NFL.
10. Casey Hayward, CB
PFF Projected contract: 1 year, $6.5 million
Why not round out the list with a familiar face? The Raiders have already whiffed on one cornerback on the open market and could easily miss out on a few others. You could argue that Hayward is better than Williams — though the latter has youth on his side — so if Las Vegas misses out on Gilmore, bringing Hayward back might be their best option.
Many assume that the 10-year pro will follow the defensive coordinator he’s had the most success under, Gus Bradley, to Indianapolis and that may end up happening as he’s clearly a good scheme fit in that system. However, Hayward has always been known as a zone corner and Graham loves to run zone, so maybe the veteran defensive back won’t want to move.