During the 2023 NFL free agency period, the Las Vegas Raiders will need to deal with a number of problems. Despite the fact that Dave Ziegler and his colleagues have a lot on their plates, there are several free agents who can immediately help them improve the Raiders’ roster. Their top priority in this year’s free agency should be defense, defense, and more defense. Having said that, let’s examine five free agents under 30 whom the Raiders ought to sign. Unsurprisingly, four of the five are defensive players.
Raiders Free Agency: Daron Payne, DT
Defensive tackle has long been a weakness for the Raiders. They haven’t had a solid pass-rushing defensive tackle since Tommy Kelly, to be more precise. The standout defensive tackle, Daron Payne, is expected to become a free agent this offseason, which is good news for the Raiders. According to Pro Football Reference, Payne just finished a career year in which he recorded 64 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits, and 25 quarterback pressures. Payne’s 11.5 sacks ranked 14th overall and third among defensive tackles.
Even though Maxx Crosby is already among the best players in the league, adding Payne would make Crosby an even greater threat to NFL offenses. The wonderful thing is that Payne and Crosby both turn 26 this year. Much of the Raiders’ defensive problems would be resolved if these two were Raiders.
Raiders Free Agency: Isaac Seumalo, G
It was clear that the interior of the offensive lineâ€”outside of the quarterbackâ€”is the Raiders’ biggest offensive weakness. Dylan Parham was playing out of position, Alex Bars was terrible, and Andre James was not good. Moving ahead, the Raiders will need to acquire two starting guards if Parham is, as seems likely, moved to the center position. Here is where Isaac Seumalo enters the picture.
According to ESPN, Seumalo was a member of the league’s top offensive line, which helped the Philadelphia Eagles rank third in yards per game last season. Per Pro Football Focus, Seumalo has finished with an average grade of 75 over the past two seasons and an 81.0 pass-blocking grade. Seumalo plays with a vicious streak, which the Raiders’ interior offensive line lacked the previous season.
Raiders Free Agency: Azeez Al-Shaair, LB
The linebacker position is another one of the Raiders’ pressing concerns. The Raiders did not have a reliable linebacker option this season outside of Denzel Perryman (whose contract is up for renewal). Azeez Al-Shaair is one name that stands out during this current free agency.
Al-Shaair might not be as well-known as his current teammates Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner, but he is a good player, nonetheless. He battled injuries and inconsistent play in 2022â€“2023, but in 2021â€“2022, he displayed his ability to be a tackle machine by recording more than 100 tackles. Al-Shaair is barely 25 years old, has shown flashes, and won’t fetch a high salary. These are the players who merit taking a chance on.
Raiders Free Agency: Kyzir White, LB
Another linebacker? Indeed, the Raiders’ linebacker situation is truly awful. Kyzir White began his professional career as a backup linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers, another AFC West team. White has, however, found his place over the past two seasons with the Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles. White has played more than 80 percent of the defensive snaps and had more than 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons, according to Spotrac. Being a leader is another outstanding attribute White possesses. He recently served as a captain for the Eagles’ strong defense, which helped them advance to the Super Bowl.
Raiders Free Agency: Jabrill Peppers, DBÂ
This season, the Raiders’ secondary was a complete wreck. They lacked any other safety who appeared at ease in Patrick Graham’s system besides Duron Harmon. For this reason, adding a player like Jabrill Peppers can benefit the Raiders’ secondary. Peppers spent three years playing for Graham, and he feels at ease with his system. The other safeties can become acquainted with Graham’s system more quickly if they have a player who knows it.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Doug Murray