Could Shaquil Barrett conceivably elevate Raiders linebacker unit?

The Las Vegas Raiders linebacker corps need a boost no matter how you look at it. It’s not a knock on their current players but they need elite talent, enter potential free agent Shaquil Barrett.

The former 2016 Broncos Super Bowl champ could be an expensive but beneficial upgrade for the Raiders. Playing on a one-year deal with the Buccaneers, the 27-year-old had a career year. He led the NFL with 19.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 58 tackles. That’s nearly double what the Raiders sack leader Maxx Crosby had (10).

Worth The Price Tag?

As with any potential signing the team will look to see if the price will be right. Barrett will demand top dollars, Spotrac currently estimates his market value will be $15.7 million per season. If the Raiders do not intend on drafting a linebacker at this year’s draft in April, Barrett would be a game changing upgrade over the likes of Nicholas Morrow, Tahir Whitehead, and Kyle Wilber.

Related: Raiders Rushing Offense Should Be A Strength In 2020

Barrett’s pass rush prowess would warrants his salary as the Raiders need more sacks, there’s no way around it. The defensive line is set with its young core of Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Maurice Hurst, and P.J. Hall but the linebacker unit is still lagging behind them. If the Raiders add talent to the defensive backfield via the draft and sign Barrett, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther would finally have the talent he’s been so far devoid of.

The ball for now is still in Tampa’s court, it will be up to them to see if they’re willing to pay Barrett. Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus recently speculated that even though the outside linebacker has been an elite pass rusher, it might not be in the Buc’s best interest to re-sign him. The real question will be how much Raiders general manager Mike Mayock is willing to pay for sacks? The AFC West is stacked with talent at quarterback and getting to those signal-callers should be the priority.

Will the Silver and Black continue to leave the linebacker unit unattended and left with an inadequate solution? Will have to wait and see.

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