One early theme has emerged about the new Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler regime: They weren’t that impressed by a large portion of the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders roster.
The Raiders had 21 unrestricted free agents going into free agency, and the new brass decided not to re-sign any of them before it started. Now the team has cut three more veterans and have seen four free agents leave in the early days of free agency. The latest was cornerback Casey Hayward, who left for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. However, ESPN reported that the Raiders did show interest in keeping him.
Casey Hayward to Falcons, source confirms (as @RapSheet said). Raiders were also heavily in the mix for Hayward, who played well for Las Vegas last year.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 17, 2022
Of course, Las Vegas also added three other cornerbacks, Darius Phillips, Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett, already. The three other Las Vegas players to already find new homes so far are wide receiver Zay Jones (Jacksonville Jaguars), linebacker Nicholas Morrow (Chicago Bears) and fullback Alec Ingold (Miami Dolphins).
Of course, the Raiders can always sign some of their own free agents. But it’s clear so far that it has not been a priority — and that’s understandable. Frankly, none of Las Vegas’ free agents were must re-signs in my opinion. The Raiders, so far, have acquired eight players this week. All of them were outside players. Predictably, three of them were in New England with McDaniels and Ziegler at some point.
The Raiders’ best four remaining free agents are backup quarterback Marcus Mariota (who will likely await the quarterback carousel to stop) and defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins, Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas. Defensive tackle is still a need in Las Vegas and Hankins has played for new Raiders’ defensive coordinator in the past. So, Perhaps that will be a fit.
We will see if this trend changes or if the new regime will to keep their own thumb print on the 2022 roster.