Las Vegas Raiders

Potential DEs Raiders should consider looking at

The Las Vegas Raiders have a young and potentially explosive defensive end group. However, it would be smart on their part to consider some of these free agent defensive ends.

With NFL free agency approaching, it’ll be interesting to see how Raiders general manager Mike Mayock addresses the defense. Rookie standouts Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell proved to be foundational pieces and Maurice Hurst Jr. was a key contributor last season, but you can never have too much talent. This is specially true on defense, as depth is crucial in the long run of a season.

Related: Why The Raiders shouldn’t bother with Robby Anderson

Potential DEs Raiders should consider looking at

Let’s take a look at some potential free agents who could provide that depth along the defensive line. Keeping in mind we don’t know how much the Raiders are looking to spend at the moment.

Jabaal Sheard

A second round pick in 2011, Sheard played magnificently for the Colts in the last three years. His sack total alone in that span is 15.5 while starting 44 of his 45 games played. He’s relatively healthy at 30 years old and the Raiders still need pass rushing help in spite of Maxx Crosby’s breakout rookie year.

Whether Indianapolis brings him back is yet to be seen, which makes us wonder how much Mayock will be looking to allocate to free agency. Sheard’s last contract had an average of $8.5 million per season according to Spotrac, expensive depending on how you look at it. If Mayock isn’t looking to spend, he’ll be relying on Arden Key and Benson Mayowa, an upgrade wouldn’t hurt here.

Robert Quinn

Quinn is one of the most intriguing free agent prospects due to the current restructuring the Cowboys is going through. What makes it more compelling is the defensive end’s connection with current Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. The veteran shined in his lone season with Dallas under Marinelli, registering 11.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles.

Going after him would be a no-brainer but the money might be an issue here. This is because Spotrac currently estimates Quinn will get an $11.8 million-a-year average this free agency. Anything good in life can be pricey and pass rush in the NFL is no exception.

Shaq Lawson

Mayock has gone the Clemson route quite often and Lawson (though not a draft choice) could join some fellow ex-Tigers. The Bills former 2016 first round pick has had somewhat of an underwhelming career. At least from what was expected from the 19th overall selection in that year. His 16.5 career sacks, 108 tackles, and 38 quarterback hits indicate he’d make an impact with the Raiders. He wouldn’t be replacing anyone on the defensive line, but would still be elevating that unit. If Buffalo does move on from Lawson, the money issue remains and it’s uncertain at this point how much he’s worth. Spotrac currently projects he will have an annual salary of $7.6 million.

Jordan Jenkins

The Jets will probably be making several cuts and Jenkins could be among them. A former third round pick from Georgia, the veteran could provide a pass rushing boost at a relatively cheap price, at least when compared to the likes of Quinn and Sheard. Another big thing with Jenkins is he’s still very young at only 25 years. His career total of 20.5 sacks and 40 quarterback hits is impressive and would fit Marinelli defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s vision.

All of these gentlemen are talented and would add tremendous depth. To rely on Key and Mayowa would be foolish even with Marinelli’s guidance. If the Raiders want to take their pass rush to another level, they must to invest a little (or a lot).

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