Decisions, decisions. There’s going to be a lot on Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler’s and head coach Josh McDaniels’ plate this offseason.
First on the “to-do” list for Ziegler and McDaniels
The first task is to do a review and breakdown of the roster. A roster which boasts a staggering 34 in-house free agents (28 of the unrestricted free agent variety). Over The Cap has a solid list of the Silver and Black free agent crop.
Let’s get the restricted free agents out of the way. These are players with three accrued seasons in the league and an expiring contract who can get an offer from another team, with their original squad having the right of refusal, or get draft compensation in return for said player. This Raiders group consists of offensive guard Netane Muti, safety Roderic Teamer, tight end Jesper Horsted, and linebacker Curtis Bolton. Based on age alone, I can see each returning to Las Vegas without another team making them an offer in free agency.
Who Will Play For The Las Vegas Raiders in 2023?
The heavy focus will be on the unrestricted free agent crop for Ziegler and crew. The largest looming decision, without question, is running back Josh Jacobs. This piece, on the other hand, focuses on who the Raiders should let go and say deuces to. Let’s get it:
- OL Alex Bars: As a 14-game starter capable of playing inside and out on the offensive line, the Raiders would be wise to draft a prospect or sign another option in free agency as a replacement. Bars was overpowered in the Raiders’ final game by Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. No more, please!
- LB Denzel Perryman: When on the field, Perryman is a heat-seeker who can snuff out the run with the best of them. Keyword: When. Las Vegas should stop ignoring the linebacker position and instead invest draft capital or cap space in acquiring a new Mike linebacker.
- LB Jayon Brown: The Raiders gambled on Brown regaining form he had pre-injury with the Tennessee Titans and no dice. It’s time to draft or sign another linebacker in April or March, respectively.
- CB Anthony Averett: Despite playing well after being forced into action as a Baltimore Raven in 2021, Averett’s initial year as a Raider was beset by injury and ineffectiveness. He’s still got speed and cover skills, but Las Vegas needs to draft a cornerback to develop.
- RB Ameer Abdullah: As the third-down back and return man, the Raiders should get a better return on investment from 2022 draft picks Zamir White and Brittain Brown. His contributions could be easily replaced by White and even Brown.
- WR Keelan Cole: Las Vegas can elevate an undrafted free agent type currently on the roster. Or, they can sign another one after the April event. Maybe they draft a late-round prospect and get the same production. The veteran just didn’t sync well in the offense this past season.
*Top Photo: Sports Illustrated/Raider Maven