The Las Vegas Raiders need to upgrade their pass rush this offseason. Thus, it isn’t surprising to see them part ways with defensive end Arden Key. After all, you can’t build a new defensive front without tearing down the non-functional parts of the previous one.
In news that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the Raiders announced they have waived Key. If no team claims him off waivers, he will then become a free agent. Back in 2018, reports arose of him possibly being a steal. Alas, that wasn’t the case and this Las Vegas team has moved on from him after three unproductive years.
A third-round pick in 2018, the Mississippi State product failed to have an impact on the field. He appeared in 37 games with ten starts and logged 49 total tackles, eight tackles for a loss, a measly three sacks, and no forced fumbles. On the bright side, it’s possible that Key’s release paved the way for the Raiders to add another pass rusher in 2021’s draft.
The Raiders had seen enough of the ‘Arden Key’ way
Last season, Key garnered headlines after saying the Raiders needed no help upfront and saying he would now do things the ‘Arden Key’ way.
We got everything we need in that D-line room, we don’t need nobody else, we don’t need no Clay Matthews, we don’t need no Jadeveon Clowney, we don’t need none of that shit. … We got a lot of guys on (the defensive line) that can pass rush they ass off.
It looks like it’s the Raiders the ones that don’t need Key. You could argue that it was his approach to the game and a way to show confidence. One year later, it’s clear that his way wasn’t very effective and while there’s a chance he can flourish somewhere else, he hasn’t shown anything to make you believe he can do it.
The Raiders brought in Yannick Ngakoue this offseason. Also, Maxx Crosby should be fully healthy after dealing with injuries last season. Moreover, they could use one of their early-round picks on an EDGE rusher. It didn’t make much sense to keep Key around if he wasn’t going to keep improving and leaving him in the lineup also rob others of playing time.
It’s never easy to accept a mistake but it’s better to cut your losses and move on rather than doubling down on it. The Raiders knew Key wasn’t part of their long-term plans so they waived him. Now comes the difficult part, finding an upgrade. If they aren’t able to do it, parting ways with him won’t have mattered regardless.
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Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press