The Las Vegas Raiders entered free agency with a plan and took the right steps towards improving. After all the moves they made, they look in better shape ahead of the draft.
After a steady addition of mostly defensive players early in free agency, the Raiders inked a trio of offensive players this past weekend. For now, it seems like they won’t be making any more transactions and it’s worth looking back at how their free agency unfolded.
Despite the addition of playmakers in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Raiders showed they had many holes at the end of the season and that was evident in their 7-9 overall record. Not many knew how Las Vegas would tackle free agency and what players they would target. After a week, it’s now clear what their goal was and based on how they played their hand, they succeeded.
Last year, the Raiders drafted Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. The former was a Rookie of the Year finalist while the second one displayed flashes of talent and more consistency in the second half of the season. Furthermore, Maurice Hurst kept developing into a solid starter and the team re-signed Johnatan Hankins after last year. What was unforeseen was the Raiders adding Maliek Collins and Carl Nassib to their rotation. One of their most solid position groups became stronger after the addition of the two.
On the other hand, there were a couple of transactions that were simultaneously unexpected and surprising: The Raiders agreeing to contracts with Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. The contradiction lays in the fact the Silver and Black has neglected the position for a long time and even though it would be common sense to address that void, they’ve mostly tried to patch the position and sign washed up players in recent years. Not this time as they shot for the moon and ended up with arguably the available best linebackers.
Not all moves worked out in their favor as Las Vegas missed on cornerback Chris Harris and decided against over paying rising star Byron Jones. Also, Raider Nation is unsure of the impact Jason Witten will have and this past week signings are possibly just camp bodies or bottom-of-the-roster material. Other than that, the Raiders had a satisfactory free agency.
Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden might not get any trophies for the transactions they made and they probably don’t care as winning free agency doesn’t translate to wins in the regular season. What it’s clear is that the Raiders are a better team than they were two weeks ago and ready to make noise in next month’s draft.
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