NFL Free Agency: 3 Linebackers That Raiders Should Consider

As free agency looms, the decision-makers in the Las Vegas Raiders’ front office look a lot different than they did a couple months ago. A new head coach and general manager will get their first shot at free agency. These changes translated into a new defensive coaching staff spearheaded by Patrick Graham. With a new philosophy and scheme taking hold of the Raiders, there are some linebackers that could be available in free agency that would be a fit.

Three linebackers that the Raiders should consider targeting this offseason…

De’Vondre Campbell

The Raiders have some cap room, but not a ton of it. With that in mind, we’ll likely see some cheap but good-value signings that help fill out the roster. One of those should be De’Vondre Campbell.

Campbell landed with the Green Bay Packers last season, and he made an immediate impact. His Pro Football Focus grade in 2021 was 84.3, which was second out of 89 total linebackers. Graham is also an excellent tackler, and he’s landed above a 75.0 grade in tackling in each of his past five seasons. In 2021, he finished with an astounding 146 tackles.

Campbell won’t cost too much on the open market, but it shouldn’t be surprising if he gets a deal worth about $5–7 million per year. If the Raiders are fortunate enough to sign him, expect him to sign a contract for about 2-3 years at that price.

Dont’a Hightower

Hightower was one of the few players to opt out of the 2020 season. As a result, many people in the league were concerned about his output in 2021.

He did have a bit of a slow start getting back into the flow of the NFL, but once he got settled, he shone. Hightower had 16 quarterback pressures (which the Raiders could use more of), which was the third most in the league among off-ball linebackers.

Hightower is getting up there in age, and he did struggle at points last year. He will enter next season at age 32, but since he took the 2020 season off, it’s fair to say his body is in far better shape than his peers at the same age. Dont’a is likely on the decline, but he is still a solid linebacker, and if the price is right, he would be a great signing for Las Vegas.

Leighton Vander Esch

If there’s one word that can describe Leighton Vander Esch’s four-year NFL career, it would be inconsistent. Still, when Leighton is playing well, he’s one of the best in the game.

Vander Esch had enough talent to land in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. He has had some rocky times throughout his career, but he still flashes that talent more than enough. In 2021, Leighton had three games earning above a 90.0 PFF grade, with two of those coming in the final month of the season.

Despite playing inconsistently, it’s likely that Vander Esch will warrant big money this offseason. Still, this is a weak free agent class at the linebacker position, and teams like the Raiders may view him as a low-risk, high-reward player. Because the class is so weak, Vander Esch will likely demand at least $7 million a year. As he enters free agency for the first time in his career, he’ll likely be looking for some kind of long-term deal.

[pickup_prop id=”19117″]

*Top Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Join The Ramble Email List

1 thought on “NFL Free Agency: 3 Linebackers That Raiders Should Consider”

  1. It may be a weak free agent class this year, but there is plenty of LB talent in this year’s draft. No sense overpaying if you don’t have to. However, Vander Esch or Campbell would be very nice pickups at the right price. Hightower I am less enthused about, given his age and mediocre recent performance – maybe as a spot pass rusher (and paid accordingly).

Share your thoughts here, Raider Nation...

Subscribe to RaiderRamble

Get updates from RaiderRamble via email:

Join 3,248 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: