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We can’t forget about Yannick Ngakoue’s contract

Many key Raiders’ 2023 free agents loom

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
Yannick Ngakoue
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

We are days away from 2022 NFL free agency and it will be exciting for Las Vegas Raiders fans.

However, there aren’t a lot of major pending Las Vegas free agents. There are some quality players such as cornerback Casey Hayward, backup quarterback Marcus Mariota and defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins, Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas. But there aren’t any true prize free-agent types in this class.

However, that may change next year. We’re all aware quarterback Derek Carr and 2021 Pro Bowl pick, defensive end Maxx Crosby and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow (who made the Pro Bowl as an alternate) are all entering the final year of their contracts.

That’s some heavy contractual lifting that needs to be done by the Raiders’ new front office. But, Carr, Crosby and Renfrow aren’t the only high-profile 2023 free agents. Another is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who signed a two-year $26 million deal last year. Ngakoue had a strong first season with the Raiders with a team-high 10 sacks and 62 pressures, which was tied for the 10th most in the NFL. He and Crosby formed an elite pass-rushing tandem.

He will hit free agency again a the age of 28 and he should be coveted, but the Raiders don’t keep him. of course, a lot will depend on how he thrives in the Raiders’ defense under new coordinator Patrick Graham.

But the point is, the Raiders will have major decisions to make in free agency next year and that process begins now as prioritize who to extend first. Of course, the franchise tag looms in 2023 and I could see the Raiders using it on one of their big four free agents.

Other pending Las Vegas free agents include linebacker Denzel Perryman, tight end Foster Moreau and running back Kenyan Drake. Also, the Raiders must decide by this may whether to give 2019 first-round picks, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram the fifth-year options or allow them to hit free agency next year.

Thus, why this year’s free agency is about to start, next year’s class is worth thinking about already as well.