Raiders Add To Defensive Line, Sign Vernon Butler

After sitting out the first several days of free agency, the Raiders have been aggressive in attacking needs in the last few weeks. In the most recent move, Las Vegas has added to their interior defensive line with Vernon Butler. A former first-round pick, Butler spent the last two seasons with the Buffalo Bills after being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2016.

At 6’4″ and 330 pounds, Butler is a massive man. Similar to former Raiders defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, Butler will be a force in the run game. He fits in nicely with the Raiders’ other interior defensive line addition, Bilal Nichols, who is more of a pass rusher. With so much of the Vegas defensive line devoted to the passing game, Butler could have a role right away.

Despite his first-round billing, Butler has never been much more than a role player and depth piece. In fact, he has never played more than 46% of the snaps in a season. His best year came in 2016 with the Panthers when he started nine games, forced three fumbles, and had six sacks. Through his two-year career in Buffalo, he had no sacks and just 29 tackles.

After the loss of Quinton Jefferson and the potential losses of Darius Philon, Soloman Thomas, and Hankins, the Raiders need help on the interior. Butler fills a need and, at just 27 years old, is young enough to develop new areas of his game. Signed to a one-year deal, Butler will get to prove himself in Las Vegas.

Top photo: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

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