The Las Vegas Raiders originally signed DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins to help provide depth behind established pass rushers Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Unfortunately, Jenkins would be hurt shortly after entering the team’s preseason matchup with the Miami Dolphins, ending his season. This puts Las Vegas back where they were a week ago, in search of more help on the edge of the defensive line.
Tashawn Bower and Malcolm Koonce have each had their moments this preseason, but the Raiders’ brass clearly felt the unit could use some bolstering. And with the frequency with which defensive coordinator Patrick Graham likes to rotate linemen, one can see how fresh bodies could be imperative during the season. The answer could come from another team’s cuts, but it could also be one of the free agent options that are currently still available.
Are there NFL free agents that the Raiders should add for depth purposes?
What about Jason Pierre-Paul?
Pierre-Paul is a quality depth piece at this point in his career. A proven 12-year veteran that still has enough juice to excel in a rotational role as a pass rusher. Paul finished the 2021 season with just 2.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he wouldn’t be asked to do any heavy lifting in Las Vegas. This could allow him to apply more pressure in a scheme that won’t be totally foreign to him.
Should the Raiders bring back Benson Mayowa?
Yes, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; bringing Benson Mayowa back for a look as a rotational rusher wouldn’t hurt. Mayowa didn’t have the most impressive run last year with the Seattle Seahawks, but the goal is to gain another functional rusher that won’t crater your run defense. Mayowa ended the 2021 season with just a single sack but returning to the Raiders could be like a breath of fresh air for the Idaho alum, who finished with a combined 13 sacks in the previous two campaigns.
Then there’s Alex Okafor as well…
In the hopes of revitalizing his career, Alex Okafor would cross enemy lines to join the Raiders. The Texas product has spent the bulk of his nine-year career, including three with the Kansas City Chiefs, playing the role of a rotational player, so this wouldn’t be a major change for the defensive end. Could Okafor switch from Arrowhead to Allegiant if it would give him the drive to add to his 1.5 sacks from 2021?
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal