The Las Vegas Raiders can free up cap space with a variety of roster moves to make a big splash on the open market. Here are three free agents they should target.
In 2020, it looked like it was the year the Las Vegas Raiders would make it to the playoffs for the first time in Jon Gruden’s second tenure with the team. A late-season collapse ended those aspirations, as they lost three of their last four games.
The Raiders initially entered the league year $7.2 million over the cap, but are poised to gain some significant spending money in the foreseeable future. On Wednesday, the team shockingly released offensive guard Gabe Jackson and could potentially trade offensive tackle Trent Brown, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Add the possibility of the team releasing the likes of quarterback Marcus Mariota and safety Lamarcus Joyner, and they can have over $33 million in cap space. That puts the Raiders in the market to sign some of the top free agents. But who do they target?
Here are the three free agents the Raiders must try to sign immediately.
As mentioned earlier, the Raiders released offensive guard Gabe Jackson in what many viewed as a shocking move. But considering they freed up $9.6 million in cap space, it was obviously something that general manager Mike Mayock viewed that must be done. But how can they replace Jackson’s talent? That’s easy — sign Joe Thuney.
Thuney is in the top-tier of offensive guards this offseason. Brandon Scherff is the other, but it is highly likely that the Washington Football Team signs him to a long-term contract extension. While the Patriots have $62 million in cap space to spend this offseason, it might be difficult for them to retain Thuney.
This past season, Thuney played under the franchise tag and lived up to his free agency projections. In 980 snaps, Thuney allowed two sacks and was penalized just three times, per Pro Football Focus.
Thuney would be a stellar replacement for Jackson at the line of scrimmage. But they will likely have to enter a bidding war with the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins, who are both looking to protect their young quarterbacks next season.