The Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line struggles were a bit surprising. After all, they had the highest-paid group in football, yet they only played all of three snaps together in the 2020 season. Injuries to Trent Brown and Richie Incognito negatively impacted the effectiveness of the offense, and particularly the run game. On the other hand, free agency will provide some enticing offensive line options for the Silver and Black.
This Las Vegas team needs to bolster their offensive tackle depth
Questions regarding Brown’s availability have plagued him since his arrival to the Raiders. While his play on the field was spectacular, the problem has been getting him on the field. It isn’t much of a surprise that the Raiders will be looking for another tackle, so moving on from Brown or trading him is probable.
Even if Las Vegas sticks with ’77’, depth at the position will still be a need. Matt Feiler from the Pittsburgh Steelers is likely to hit the open market this season. The converted guard is still young, and will be only 29 for the 2021 season, and likely won’t ask for much money. Feiler only allowed 1.5 sacks in 14 games started in 2020 and has the ability to play anywhere across the line. He would be a great grab for Gruden and gang.
The Raiders are in need of offensive guard help
Richie Incognito started to show his age, going on the Injury Reserve list early in the season. The depth, especially at the guard position, was tested all season. A couple of big-money guards will test the market this season, Brandon Scherff of the Washington Football Team and Joe Thuney of the New England Patriots. Both are expecting to receive a sizeable paycheck this offseason.
Comparable in both pass and run blocking, either will cost a pretty penny for the Raiders. However, you get what you pay for. Excelling in the run game will need to continue to be a focus of this offensive line. Both of these players will be viable options at guard if the Raiders can grab one at the right price.
Another option at the guard position with less of a price tag is Elijah Wilkinson of the Denver Broncos. A converted tackle, Wilkinson has the ability to play all across the line. On the other hand, he is still very raw, and with proper coaching can be a viable option to help with depth. Following the 2019 season, he signed a one-year, $3.26 million, and a contract similar to that or less would be ideal for the Raiders.
The Raiders’ offensive line was no stranger to adversity this past season. New faces entering the line almost every week, showed that talent was still needed on the line. Ultimately, the line was supposed to be the strength of the offense for the 2020 season, and it did not turn out to be that way. Continuing to bolster the line will be another important element to get the team back to the promise land.
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Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal