As we continue our look at potential 2021 cap casualties, next up are the Indianapolis Colts. The Las Vegas Raiders might be able to snag one upgrade this offseason depending on which route ‘Indy’ decides to take.
The Colts will be looking to return to the playoffs in 2021. However, they’ll have to decide whom they will bring back. Quarterback Philip Rivers has retired, so they’ll need to fill that void. There are also several playmakers on defense that will need new contracts. As far as the Raiders, they ought to strongly consider signing a free agent wide receiver, but also need to do something about their pass rush, or lack thereof.
Head coach Jon Gruden loves his proven veterans, and prying Justin Houston from the Colts could be an instant upgrade. The defensive lineman would satisfy two needs for the Raiders, reliable pass-rushing and veteran leadership on Gus Bradley’s defense.
What can Houston do for the Raiders?
Everyone’s familiar with the disaster that was the 2020 Raiders defense. The unit needs upgrades at several positions, though finding a safety and a pass rusher should be the priority. Assuming the Raiders’ brain trust drafts an interior lineman, they could use some of their resources to sign Houston. The 32-year-old sack specialist would be an excellent addition with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell in house.
Even though he’s lined up behind the line as an outside linebacker, the Raiders would be bringing him in for his pass-rushing prowess. Over the last two seasons, Houston has generated 19 sacks and 53 pressures playing off the edge since his arrival in ‘Indy.’ You can tack on three forced fumbles and 21 tackles for a loss in that stretch as well. If Raider Nation is concerned about his age, in his two seasons with the Colts, Houston’s played all 32 regular-season games.
As you can see in his film from last year, Houston isn’t slowing all that much. He still bursts off the line and can still cause havoc forcing turnovers. His game against the Houston Texans in Week 13 last year was a perfect example. In that contest, Houston forced a fumble, one safety, and three sacks.
The fact that Bradley isn’t known for blitzing means that the front four will need to generate pressure without help. A defensive front with Houston and Ferrell on the edges with a revamped interior could be compelling.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/Darron Cummings