The Las Vegas Raiders need to address many questions this offseason. Among them is whether guard Richie Incognito figures in their plans in 2021. While he played at a high level in 2019, he missed most of the 2020 season with an Achilles injury. Will he be back with the organization or will he get the boot?
Incognito is making strides in his recovery from a surgery where he had to remove a loose bone fragment in his ankle, per Vic Tafur of the Athletic. The Raiders’ offensive line is certainly better with the veteran in the lineup. However, they are in need of cap relief, and releasing him would free up $5.75 million in cap space with no dead money.
A third-round pick in 2005 by the Los Angeles Rams, Incognito was a late bloomer. After spending time with the Rams and the Buffalo Bills early in his career, he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2010. There, he became infamous after partaking in ‘the bully scandal‘.
Incognito then missed the 2014 season and signed with the Bills in 2015. He kept his head down and went on to become one of the most dominant guards in the NFL. After a contract impasse, he retired and unretired to play for the Raiders in 2019. That year, he was a key cog in Las Vegas’ offensive line, playing 12 games and appearing in 75 percent of the team’s total snaps on offense. Also, he earned a 74.0 Pro Football Focus overall grade.
How valuable is Richie Incognito for the Raiders?
The Raiders could release Incognito, and get some cap relief but there would be a significant drop-off in production at left guard. Las Vegas could convert his base salary into a bonus to get cap space or ask him to take a pay cut if they want to keep him. It really depends on what the team’s brass wants to do, as there are different ways to retain him.
Keeping (or releasing) Incognito may not be at the top of the Raiders’ ‘to-do’ list this offseason. Nevertheless, they need to take care of it in a way that benefits the team.
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Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal