In recent years, the Las Vegas Raiders have been the kings of one-year contracts during NFL free agency.
The former regime of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock were famous for giving one-year deals and last year, the new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels signed more than a dozen players to one-year contracts.
The Raiders are trying to end that trend, because it doesn’t help build a consistent, long-term roster. It’s simply a band-aid approach. Yet, they still have leaned on the one-year contract approach heavily this year. Las Vegas has signed (or re-signed) 23 free agents this offseason. Sixteen of those contracts are for one season.
Here are the players Las Vegas have signed to multiple-year contracts: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (three years), wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (three), long snapper Jacob Bodenmoyer (three), linebacker Robert Spillane (two), safety Marcus Epps (two), defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (two) and cornerback Brandon Facyson (two),
McDaniels said last week at the NFL owners meeting that’s the goal.
“Between Marcus [Epps] and [Robert] Spillane and [Brandon] Facyson and [Jakobi] Myers, and [Jimmy] Garoppolo offensively,” McDaniels said. “We’re trying not to do this thing where it’s like every year there’s a one-year deal and a bunch of one-year deals. Now, you’re always going to do a few. I mean, we know that. We’re always going to do a few one-year deals, that’s kind of impossible to get around that. But I think that we were looking for guys that are looking for a place that they want to call home for more than nine or 10 months, you know what I mean? And be a part of our culture. We try to explain to them what we’re looking for, why we’re interested in them. There’s a very specific reason for all of them, and I think we’ve addressed some of those things. I think they’re eager to kind of play a leadership role in their individual rooms, and then collectively as a defense here to see if we can improve that group all together.”
Also, McDaniels is excited that they were able to re-sign some of the players they had one-year deals last year to continue to develop them in their system.
“I think one of the things that’s lost a little bit sometimes is your ability to continue working with somebody is sometimes overlooked in terms of their overall development and impact on the team,” McDaniels said. “So, we had some players last year that played roles, but could they be better in their second year? Could we be better with them in our second year coaching them? [Jerry] Tillery, Ameer Abdullah – players like that, where you have an opportunity to come back and run it back again and see where we can go with it this year as opposed to just calling it a day after one year.”
All teams need to sprinkle one-year contracts in to every roster in every offseason, but building teams through the draft and longer contracts for free agents, is the best way to approach roster construction. Let’s see if this is something Ziegler and McDaniels can trend toward.