As the Las Vegas Raiders continue stumbling through the 2022 NFL regular season, there are glaring holes within the roster. While part of the blame with regard to their 0-3 starts falls on coaching, the team itself is lacking at some critical positions. At some point, you’d think general manager Dave Ziegler would make a significant move, other than just adding practice squad-level players. With that being said, not all is lost. There are still free agents available that can help right now.
Raiders News: Free Agents That Can Help Right Now
The most obvious position needing some assistance is the defensive line’s interior. If the Raiders are serious about winning some games, much less making the playoffs, they’ll need to add a true veteran presence in the middle. Not just one for show, but one who can help with the lackluster pass rush from the inside. Or they could opt for a proven commodity, one that’ll stop the run on every down he’s on the field.
No. 1 – Ndamukong Suh, DT
By now, Ndamukong to the Raiders has been covered at length; he was the story of this offseason prior to training camp getting underway. However, it still rings true that the Raiders could desperately use his services right now. He riled up Raider Nation at one point by mentioning he had been in touch with certain players from Las Vegas. Nevertheless, nothing came to fruition. At one point, you had conflicting reports by beat writers and national reporters on whether all of the conjecture was simply hearsay or had weight to it. Obviously, as it turned out, Ziegler must’ve had no real interest, or else Suh would be in Silver and Black already. That doesn’t mean the Raiders shouldn’t have him on speed dial. Suh is, after all, just waiting for the right call.
No. 2 – Darius Philon, DT
Darius Philon wouldn’t exactly qualify as “new blood,” but his impact late last year can’t be ignored. The new regime in Las Vegas opted not to bring him back. As a result, Philon has been sitting back, waiting for an opportunity. At one point, Philon alluded to the fact that he’d be a better, younger, and cheaper option than Suh. Take that however you’d like, but the man clearly wants to be a Raider. His 17 pressures and 74.6 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade could be of major use right now.
No. 3 – Sheldon Richardson, DT
A former first-round selection back in 2013, Richardson was often the subject of articles by Raiders blogs begging for him to come aboard. Age and declining production have brought those wishes down a notch or two. All the same, Richardson still recorded 37 pressures last season and four sacks on top of that. He’s certainly versatile, having lined up all over the defensive line throughout his different career stops. The fact is, Maxx Crosby needs help. Other than No. 98, no one on the line has been impressive, certainly not Chandler Jones.
Other notable free agent defensive tackles
No. 4 – Vernon Butler, DL
No. 5 – Robert Nkemdiche, DT
Should the Raiders add a linebacker?
No. 6 – Blake Martinez, LB
The Raiders could certainly use an infusion of talent in their linebacker group. Blake Martinez is familiar with Patrick Graham’s defense and, prior to the 2021 season with the New York Giants, was a tackling machine. He recorded 417 on his own from 2016 to 2020, adding to that 22 pass deflections and four interceptions. Needless to say, Martinez knows how to make plays. In 2020, per PFF, Martinez accumulated a 73.9 coverage and a 75.2 run defense grade. According to their metrics, he had 58 “stops.” Depending on how Graham plans on deploying Martinez, this signing would make sense. He’s already visited the Raiders; maybe a move is imminent.
No. 7 – Dont’a Hightower
Adding help at cornerback wouldn’t hurt the Raiders right now
Nate Hobbs has been a revelation this year for the Raiders. Quickly becoming the CB1 for the Silver and Black, the rest of the group, however, has been decimated by injuries. Anthony Averett is still recovering from his ailment, whereas Rock Ya-Sin was injured during Sunday’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans. To say this group needs a veteran would be an understatement. None of the names available are what you would call “sexy” names. Rather, they’d provide depth and, we should emphasize, they would not be an every-down player.
No. 8 – Kevin King, CB
No. 9 – Davontae Harris, CB
And finally… Rhodes at the time of this publishing was visiting with the Buffalo Bills.
No. 10 – Xavier Rhodes, CB
*Top Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images