The Las Vegas Raiders have focused on revamping their defensive line this offseason. While they have made a few additions in free agency, they are also bringing back some of their core players, including defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
Raider fans, Raider fans, Raider fans. What a start to the free agency period. First, the Raiders agreed to a two-year deal with Yannick Ngakoue. On the other hand, the news Las Vegas was moving on from Rodney Hudson didn’t have a positive reception. His release eventually turned into a trade with the Arizona Cardinals for a third-round pick. It doesn’t take away the sting but looks better than a straight release.
On the first (official) day of free agency, we have seen the Raiders bring back fan-favorite Johnathan Hankins. He is one of the best in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Moreover, he was one of the few solid contributors on defense last season. In his three seasons with the Raiders, ’90’ has accumulated 134 tackles (12 tackles for loss) and is constantly giving his all.
Consistency and familiarity will matter for the Raiders in 2020
A key for teams to have success going forward is familiarity and unity going forward. The Raiders haven’t had much of that in the last 18 years. Instead, they have had a consistent form of a revolving door with coaches and players. The majority of teams who have winning records year after year are generally the ones with players who have been together for years with the same coaching staff.
By re-signing Hankins, the Raiders keep a very solid player and a great locker room presence. Also, keeping most of their front four together should help. At least four of their defensive lineman from last year are coming back. It’s not the biggest move, but it’s one that teams who intend to be competitive make, as the last thing the Raiders or the fans would want to see is Hankins leave to a possible rival.
We all know the defense was a big deficiency for the Raiders last season. Nevertheless, Hankins wasn’t the reason why. He is also being brought back on a one-year deal and with the TV deals for the NFL kicking in next year, this is most likely a team and player-friendly deal.
If Hankins plays well, the Raiders most likely sign him to a real good extension next offseason, and if not, they are not attached to a long-term pact. Only a handful of Raiders players can consistently attract attention from more than one offensive player. Hankins is one of them, so it was a smart move to keep him from leaving.
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Top Photo: Erik Risberg/Associated Press