Many Las Vegas Raiders players were on expiring contracts when the season began. Several of them competed this season without any sort of real long-term deal in place. That was true for several contributors on one-year deals that didn’t extend past 2022. Be that as it may, you can definitely find a few standouts on this Raiders roster who played their way to long-term commitments.
Given how the regular season went, you could also argue that several players shouldn’t be on that roster in 2023. For now, let’s focus on a handful of Raiders that should be brought back by general manager Dave Ziegler.
Who should be back for the Las Vegas Raiders’ offense?
RB Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option wasn’t exercised by the Raiders during the offseason. Jacobs decided not to whine about it and went on to have a remarkable year. Jacobs led the league in rushing yards, scrimmage yards, and rushing yards per game. He also tied his career high for touchdowns and set new ones for rushing yards, receiving yards, yards per game, and yards per carry. Not a bad year for a player who played in a meaningless Hall of Fame game.
People will assert that Jacobs was made by Josh McDaniels’ system and that he is replaceable. Oh, but let me quickly debunk that for those people. When Jacobs rushed for more than 100 yards, the Raiders were 4-1; when he didn’t, they were 2-10. Teams were not playing eight-man boxes against Jacobs now that he had an outside receiver to draw some attention to him. The statistics speak for themselves and indicate that Jacobs should remain a Raider.
WR Mack Hollins
There weren’t many high expectations for Mack Hollins going into the season. He entered what appeared to be a crowded Raiders receiver room, but Hollins was able to secure a larger role as a result of injuries. And he made the most of it by finishing the season with career highs in receptions, receiving yards, rushing yards, and touchdowns. Hollins’ impact was crucial in run blocking and on special teams. His price won’t be outrageous, so getting him back at a discount will be a good deal. You know what to do, Ziegler.
What about the Raiders’ defense?
DB Duron Harmon
Duron Harmon signed to be a rotational safety for the Raiders. However, it became clear when the season was over that Harmon was the Raiders’ top safety. The Raiders’ third-level defense was under Harmon’s control, which is a significant part of why they didn’t allow many big plays. With 86 total tackles, five pass deflections, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one defensive touchdown, Harmon quietly had a career year. Harmon should return to the Raiders in 2023, whether as a starter or a rotational contributor.
DT Andrew Billings
With a total of 39 tackles for the season, Andrew Billings is the perfect example of how statistics don’t always tell the whole story. But after Maxx Crosby, he was the Raiders’ second-best run defender. Billings doesn’t excel at pass rushing, but he is still an excellent two-down defensive lineman. Although the Raiders still have a problem at defensive tackle, having Billings back would offer them stability and a strong run stopper.
CB Rock Ya-Sin
Rock Ya-Sin joined the Raiders via trade and rapidly proved his value. Ya-Sin consistently had to cover the best receiver on the other team and performed admirably. He clearly has good man coverage, which is a plus. He does, however, have trouble in the zone, which Patrick Graham, the Raiders defensive coordinator, runs more frequently. Given that their cornerback room needs all the help it can get, the Raiders can’t be picky. Nate Hobbs may return to his natural position of slot cornerback if Ya-Sin returns as one of the Raiders’ outside corners.