The Las Vegas Raiders suddenly find themselves with so many holes along their offensive line, particularly at the guard position. So why not take a chance on Kevin Zeitler?
As of right now, Las Vegas will not be counting on guards, Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito for the 2021 season. The team has yet to decide what to do with swing lineman Denzelle Good, though it’d be prudent to bring him back. Offensive line coach Tom Cable did an excellent job, all things considered, dealing with injuries all year. Right tackle Trent Brown’s gone so Cable’s unit will be undergoing a tremendous shift. Bringing in veteran guard Kevin Zeitler to join forces with Cable could help alleviate the Raiders’ issues at offensive guard.
The New York Giants opted to part ways with Zeitler recently, saving almost $10 million dollars in cap space. The 27th overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft, Zeitler was at one point, the NFL’s highest-paid guard. As a member of the Cleveland Browns from 2017-2018, Zeitler was part of the trade that saw Odell Beckham Jr.’s exit from the Big Apple. At 31, he still has the ability to be a starting guard in the NFL and under Cable, could see a return to form.
Would Zeitler be worth it for the Raiders?
Zeitler has been a starter at right guard for mostly his whole career and could assume that role for the Raiders. There’s a chance that Incognito returns on a team-friendly deal unless he gets an offer too good to pass up. Ideally, the Silver and Black could pick up Zeitler and re-sign Good, though this, in theory, would leave a need at right tackle. In that scenario, Las Vegas would need to draft a tackle in the first round, giving Cable a solid unit with Good as the starting left guard.
Per Pro Football Focus, Zeitler’s performance with the Giants last year was pedestrian with average grades across the board. An overall 2020 grade of 65.9 along with 68.7 in pass protection and 63.0 in run blocking is solid. However, back in 2019, Zeitler was graded 76.4 overall, excelling in protecting his quarterback, posting a 75.0 pass-blocking grade. To his credit, Zeitler only has five sacks attributed to him so he’d be exactly what the Raiders need. As with any free agent this offseason for Las Vegas, he will have to come in for the right price.
You May Also Like: What’s next for Raiders after releasing Richie Incognito?
*Top Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images