The Las Vegas Raiders were busy early on in free agency, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So far, they reached agreements with quality free agents and they haven’t overpaid while doing so. It seems like none of these contracts will be liabilities in the coming years.
Here’s a look at every Raiders signing as of Thursday night.
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, 3 Years, $21 Million
This was a great under-the-radar signing to kick off the legal tampering period. The Raiders will give Kwiatkoski $13.5 million in guaranteed money, and the linebacker deserves every cent. He depends on his excellent instincts to make plays. He’s a great tackler and can cover the pass as well. His intensity and skill will add a lot of value to Paul Guenther’s defense.
Ladies & gentleman… Nick Kwiatkoski:
— Raider Cody (@RaiderCody) March 19, 2020
Marcus Mariota, QB, unknown contract details
Mariota is an interesting signing and has the potential to benefit the Raiders in a big way. We don’t know the details of the contract yet, but Las Vegas added an elite athlete to their offense; even if he ends up not seeing the field often. Mariota is always capable of a big play, and he can be used as a running threat in certain situations. Worst case scenario? He motivates Carr and becomes a potential threat to his starting job.
Cory Littleton, LB, 3 Years, $36 Million
Littleton was one of the best free agents available this offseason, and the Raiders got him on a great deal. He is one of the best coverage linebackers in the league. The Raiders run the most two-linebacker defensive sets in the league, so the abilities of Kwiatkoski and Littleton to defend both the run and pass will have a massive impact on the defense.
Maliek Collins, DT, Details Not Disclosed
We don’t know the details of Collins’ contract yet, but we do know that the Raiders got a solid pass rusher, who will turn 25 soon. In his first injury-free season, he posted four sacks and 20 tackles. He will be a nice depth piece, and a good addition to a young, promising defensive line.
Jason Witten, TE, 1 Year, $4.75 Million
Witten will look odd in a Raiders uniform, and it will take a while to get used to seeing him wear something other than blue and white. It’s unclear what his role will be on the organization, but the veteran will have a positive influence. Also, he did put up solid numbers last year, so he’s got some gas left in the tank. His signing could unfortunately mean that Foster Moreau’s injury is worse than we thought.
Jeff Heath, S, Two Years, $8 Million
Another former Cowboys player joined the Silver & Black this offseason, Heath will give the Raiders some depth in the secondary, which will be helpful after losing Karl Joseph to Cleveland. The safety had 63 tackles last year, and started every game for Dallas. He has eight interceptions over his seven-year career.
Carl Nassib, DE, Three years, $25 million
Nassib is another good depth addition. The former Hard Knocks star had an impressive six sacks in 2019 despite only starting half the year. He recorded 12.5 sacks and 63 tackles in his two-year stint with Tampa Bay, and his ability to play defensive end in a 4-3 defense and linebacker in a 3-4 adds depth to the Raiders defense.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 24, 2019
Eli Apple, CB, Unknown Deal
Apple is the owner of another contract who’s details we don’t know yet, but like most of Las Vegas signings so far, he can be a great depth piece. After being drafted as a top-10 pick by the Giants and later playing for the Saints, Apple will look to find some consistency in his third NFL home. In his young career, he has shown great promise, but also a lot of inconsistency that has frustrated both Giants and Saints fans.
The Raiders are off to a great start so far in free agency. They’ve signed quality players at many different positions, but have restrained themselves from paying retail for any of them. Their addition and more signings throughout the offseason should make a big impact in the coming season.