The Las Vegas Raiders’ defense needs help upfront and will probably work with a limited budget this offseason. Nevertheless, they need to look for ways to bolster their defensive line and should consider adding free-agent defensive lineman Jurrell Casey.
The Denver Broncos released Casey, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. They acquired him last offseason from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a seventh-round pick. At the time, it looked like a solid move but the defensive end played just three games after sustaining an arm injury, and moving on from him will give Denver $11.8 million in cap space. Although free agency is still a few weeks away, he can already sign with anyone he pleases as he was released.
A third-round selection by the Titans in 2011’s draft, Casey played 142 games over his ten-year career. In that span, he’s logged 507 total tackles (85 for a loss), 51 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and 15 passes defensed. Moreover, he earned five straight Pro Bowl designations from 2015 to 2019, and up until last season, the USC product had missed just five games and doesn’t have injury red flags. Also, he has lined up inside and outside, so he will be able to fit different defensive schemes.
How could Jurrell Casey fit the Raiders’ plans in 2021?
Nobody will deny the Raiders need to upgrade their defense. Moving on from Paul Guenther and hiring Gus Bradley to oversee the unit is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, that in itself is not enough. If Las Vegas wants its new defensive coordinator to succeed they will need to get him a few weapons. Maxx Crosby should get back on track and Clelin Ferrell should be more effective with better coaching but the team’s brass can’t bet all their chips on their third-year defensive ends. Thus, the addition of the veteran defensive lineman makes sense.
The Raiders are currently $9 million over the cap and are in need of some breathing room. However, some creative accounting should help them get out of the red. Casey won’t make the $11.8 million he was going to make with the Broncos had he not been cut. In fact, Las Vegas could offer him a one-year, prove-it deal with a chance to become a free agent in 2022 and a shot to cash in one last time.
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