There have been numerous rumors about different Las Vegas Raiders players. particularly about who should or should not be getting extensions before the 2022 NFL season kicks off. The latest name that has popped up is defensive end Maxx Crosby, who is about to begin the final year of his contract.
The Raiders notoriously traded away an elite pass rusher in 2018 shortly before the season began. Khalil Mack was not only the best friend of current quarterback Derek Carr but the leader of the defense. The team took years to recover and had to rebuild their defense, especially the defensive line, from the ground up. The Raiders did not properly utilize the capital they received from the Mack trade and will always be judged for that transaction.
The Raiders currently have an elite edge rusher in Crosby, and he will be going into this upcoming season in his final contractual year. After having led the NFL in pressures (100 per Pro Football Focus), it’s obvious Crosby has outperformed his initial contract. In fact, he also recorded 30 quarterback hits and 13 tackles for a loss. There’s no doubt Crosby played a pivotal role in helping the Raiders return to the playoffs.
Maxx Crosby is going to get PAID 💰 pic.twitter.com/p5JbZtTAGh
— PFF (@PFF) March 6, 2022
Maxx Crosby is about to get paid…
It’s not unusual in the NFL for a player to be extended prior to their final year on their contract; playing with the lingering doubt of whether or not a contract extension is coming can be awkward for both the player and management. It can also create feelings of ill will between the two. In short, it’s better to reward strong play and make that player feel they are wanted and welcome by their franchise. Crosby should be no exception to this practice.
No. 98 has already cemented his place as a top rusher, which some will dispute, as he recorded “only” eight sacks. Crosby is a constant disruption on the line of scrimmage, runs to the ball, and is an every-down player that can break games open. Crosby’s presence on the field opens up opportunities for the rest of the defense; Yannick Ngakoue secured 10 sacks, Solomon Thomas had 3.5, and Darius Philon had two.
Las Vegas can’t have history repeat itself
Crosby’s statistics in 2021 are comparable to those of other defensive line greats such as Aaron Donald of the Rams, JJ Watt of the Cardinals, and Myles Garrett of the Browns. These players do not come around often enough, and while Crosby can perform on the field, he is also the de facto leader of the Raiders’ defense. Crosby leads the team both in his stellar play and in his conduct off the field, where he works to maintain his sobriety and sets an example for those also struggling with similar issues.
Aside from personally ostracizing Crosby without providing him with the extension he deserves, the locker room would be in shambles before the season started. If you think that statement is dramatic, how did the Raiders fare in the 2018 season after Mack was traded away? Spoiler alert: 4-12 and last place in the AFC West.
The Raiders need to secure their defensive leader
As the Raiders come off one of their best seasons in years while dealing with more adversity than most can handle, they need to secure a spot for their top producer on the defense. While most of the rumors have surfaced around Carr being extended, that will likely wait depending on who joins him in free agency and what space is needed to give him the offensive players he has vocalized (through his brother David) that he requires. Crosby should have another productive season in 2022, and if the Raiders want to wait on the extensive work, he could command more money than he would accept now.
It is the wisest thing for both sides to put pen to paper sooner rather than later. The Raiders are several pieces away from another playoff performance, and Maxx Crosby is a huge piece of that puzzle. Extend him.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images