It’s about goddamn time, Las Vegas Raiders!
Forgive me if I offend your delicate sensibilities with that opening line. However, combine that opening line with the title of this piece and I’d say it’s bloody apt. It just goes together swimmingly, like biscuits and tea.
Tell me you’re aren’t aghast at the Raiders finally adding quality talent to the quarterback and linebacker rooms? No? Time to get your pulse checked then, mate.
Reloading at Linebacker
The Raiders brain trust of head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock took a calculated approach and made a concerted effort to bring in Marcus Mariota, Nick Kwiatkoski and Corey Littleton aboard in free agency. Gruden and Mayock proved their words of “upgrade every position” wasn’t mere rubbish or poppycock.
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Say what you will about Mariota — first-round bust, way too chillaxed Hawaiian, etc. — but he’s a crystal clear upgrade over quarterbacks that shared a room with Derek Carr.
This past season you had Glennon — boasting a neck longer than the excuses fans make for Carr — and DeShone Kizer — not permanente and is currently being passed off by teams — as the other signal callers in the room. Is there a word worse than atrocious? Because that’s the Raiders depth at quarterback was.
Let’s prance over to linebacker now, shall we? Did much-maligned defensive coordinator Paul Guenther have an accident in his pants when the news filtered out the Raiders added two quality off-ball linebackers?
Hell might have actually frozen over with Kwiatkoski and Littleton becoming Raiders. The Silver & Black has been in desperate need of playmakers and the two new additions help flush away the awful performances of Tahir Whitehead. Kwiatkoski is the run-stuffing middle linebacker who can drop into coverage (just don’t ask him to cover, say Travis Kelce) while Littleton can do everything (tackle, stop the run, rush the passer and cover) well. He’s sneaky in coverage and is a takeaway specialist. Defensive turnovers have been devoid in Raiders Land since Guenther became the captain of the defense. It’s been absent like competition for Carr.
Let’s flip back to quarterback — linebacker will be sprinkled in here too.
The addition of Mariota shouldn’t preclude the Raiders from drafting another signal caller this coming draft. The Raiders are reportedly enamored with Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Ditto for linebacker. If a quality one is there for the taking, take ‘em.
Just because the team added two quality prime talents, Las Vegas should keep rolling the dice.
You have to gamble to make money.
Lord knows the team has to fire the dice down the table at wide receiver, running back and safety in April. The Raiders scarcely added any resources at those three positions and the draft is where it’s going to be at. Hype up the signings of Nelson Agholor and Jeff Heath all you want, but a free agent wide receiver and a safety don’t move the needle.
So, while we’re at it:
- Best free agent signing: Corey Littleton 3 years, $35.25 million ($22 million guaranteed)
- Worst free agent signing: Jason Witten 1 year, $4 million ($3.5 million guaranteed)
- Underrated free agent signing: Carl Nassib 3 years, $25 million ($17 million guaranteed, per NFLN)
- Best contract (for team): Maliek Collins 1 year, $6 million ($5.75 million guaranteed)
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