Raiders free agency

Raiders Free Agency: Which Players Should Las Vegas Prioritize?

According to Pro Football Focus, the Las Vegas Raiders have five of the top 200 NFL free agents. That begs the question, which ones should they prioritize this offseason? Raiders free agency will be interesting, to say the least.

PFF recently listed Casey Hayward, Marcus Mariota, Zay Jones, KJ Wright, and DeSean Jackson as the top five in-house free agents that will be coveted in NFL free agency. Had the previous coaching staff and ex-general manager Mike Mayock been retained, the team would’ve likely preferred to retain most of those players. However, given the current regime change, it’s possible that only a couple of these pending free agents will return under new Las Vegas management.

Given the Raiders’ current cap situation, the team will be limited with regards to whom they can bring back. A Derek Carr extension would help, but the team also needs to start planning big contracts for Hunter Renfrow and Maxx Crosby. Of course, assuming that new general manager Dave Ziegler intends to lock down those players, they won’t come cheap.

Casey Hayward and Zay Jones should headline Raiders free agency

Casey Hayward was the team’s number one corner last season. Under Gus Bradley, Hayward flourished in Las Vegas. That was despite being seen as somewhat of an afterthought in free agency last year. Unfortunately, Bradley has moved on to the Indianapolis Colts. Will Hayward follow suit?

Even though he’s starting to get up there in age, Hayward proved that hasn’t slowed him down one bit. The bigger question is whether the organization sees him as a fit with a new defensive scheme. PFF predicts that keeping Heyward will cost the Raiders upwards of $6.5 million in guaranteed money for one year. It could be a wise investment considering the shape of the cornerback group.

As far as Jay Jones is concerned, did he do enough in 2021 to warrant more time as a Raider? Well, he had his share of clutch moments. By the same token, does Josh McDaniels see him as a viable offensive option moving forward? Everyone’s familiar with Jones and his rapport with Carr; the signal-caller vouches for him quite regularly.

Let’s say McDaniels does indeed view him as, say, the team’s third or fourth option. He’ll likely cost around $6 million a year on a three-year deal, with upwards of $9 million guaranteed. It will be interesting to see if this price tag might be too much for the new regime in Sin City.

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*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

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