The Las Vegas Raiders have fared well in free agency so far, however, it feels like they’re still looking to add one more significant name to the roster. New Raiders’ general manager and head coach Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels likely hoped that name would be a familiar one in Stephon Gilmore.
Las Vegas reportedly showed interest in Gilmore, but the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year is headed to play for the Raiders’ former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and the Indianapolis Colts.
Nonetheless, there are still plenty of quality veterans available on the open market for the Silver and Black, so let’s take a look at who their top options might be.
1. Tyrann Mathieu
PFF Projected contract: 3 years, $16.25 million/year
It’s a bit of a surprise that Mathieu hasn’t landed anywhere yet, especially since he said he probably would have taken the three-year, $31.5 million contract the Kansas City Chiefs gave Justin Reid. But the Chiefs’ loss is the Raiders’ potential gain.
Bringing in the Honeybadger would give new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham another versatile safety to play with, and Graham has been known to deploy as many as three safeties at a time. In a way, the defensive back and coordinator were made for each other, but Las Vegas will have to move swiftly as it feels like a new team is interested in or visiting with Mathieu almost every other day.
2. Akiem Hicks, DT
PFF Projected contract: 2 years, $8.5 million/year
Being old and injured are likely the primary reasons why Hicks is still available. The 32-year-old was injured at three different points last year and has missed 20 out of 49 total games over the last three seasons for various ailments.
That being said, the Sacramento area native has been productive when on the field. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018, the last time he played a full season, and ranked 10th among defensive tackles with 53 pressures two years ago when he only missed one game. The Raiders have restocked their defensive tackle rotation already in free agency, but none of the new additions have the resume Hicks does.
3. Daryl Williams
What might be the most surprising aspect of Las Vegas’ free agency period is that they didn’t add a noteworthy starter on the offensive line. Their biggest move in that regard probably was re-signing Brandon Parker.
Relying on Parker is far from the worst strategy in the world, but it also isn’t the best one and the Raiders could afford to bring in Williams at least for some competition at right tackle. The former Bill allowed 44 pressures on 800 opportunities while Parker surrendered 54 on 579 last season. Granted, Williams did split his time between right tackle and guard, but that versatility/position flexibility is another reason why Vegas should go after him as they could use some help at either spot.
4. Will Fuller
PFF Projected contract: 1 year, $7 million
While yes, after the Davante Adams trade the Raiders don’t need a wide receiver anymore, however, they could use someone who could stretch the field to help compliment Adams and the rest of the corps. Tyron Johnson is currently the only wideout on the roster that really fits that bill, and he only managed to catch two passes on two different teams a year ago. So, Fuller and his career average of 14.7 yards per catch would be a welcomed sight in the desert.
The problem with the former Golden Domer is his healthy. Heading into last season, he was averaging about 10.5 games played per year and that figure took an even bigger hit after he only participated in two contests due to injury and suspension in 2021. Fuller can’t be relied on to be available week in and week out, but he would bring something to the Raiders’ offense that it's currently lacking, a true deep threat out wide.
5. Riley Reiff
PFF Projected contract: 2 years, $7 million/year
Reiff has made a career out of being a solid offensive tackle and nothing more or less. In the nine years he’s recorded over 700 snaps, his PFF grades have floated around the high 60s and low 70s, with a floor of 63.6 and a ceiling of 78.5. That’s exactly what he did last year in Cincinnati and even better, he did it while transitioning from left to right tackle for the first time in about five years.
In a way, that’s also part of the problem with the 10-year veteran. He’s very replaceable and his next team will be his third in as many years. Plus, it doesn’t help that the 33-year-old ended last season on injured reserve, and the Bengals went on a Super Bowl run without him in the lineup.