The new-look Oakland Raiders are an exciting bunch, featuring superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown, fellow wide out Tyrell Williams, Super Bowl champion tackle Trent Brown, and safety Lamarcus Joyner. Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock were big players in free agency, pursuing many of this year’s top free agents.
The team has added several weapons so far, but free agency is far from over. Even though the Raiders have been aggressive, there’s plenty of marquee talent left on the market. Offensively, Gruden and Mayock have given Derek Carr a bounty of weapons for next season, but there a plenty of holes still left to fill on the defensive side. While many of this year’s top pass rushers were either franchise tagged or re-signed, there are a handful of quality pass rushers still available; let’s take a look at the top remaining free agents according to NFL.com.
EDGE, Justin Houston – The former Kansas City Chief has hit the free agent market. Eight seasons, four Pro Bowls, a First-Team All-Pro selection, 78.5 sacks, 381 tackles, and 10 forced fumbles later, Houston is bidding farewell to the only team he’s known in the NFL. At 30 years old, Houston’s best years are probably behind him, but for a pass-rush needy team he would be a quality addition. Wherever he lands, I’m happy he likely won’t be terrorizing the AFC West anymore.
DT, Ndamukong Suh – The Los Angeles Rams’ big free agency push last year got them to the Super Bowl, but it didn’t get them a ring. Suh was among some of the big names to join the Rams in 2018, signing a one-year deal with the team. Given the amount of talent and cap space LA has, Suh probably won’t find himself in a Rams uniform next season. Suh is in his early thirties, but he’s still finding ways to be productive, finishing last season with 4.5 sacks, 59 tackles, and the powerful defensive tackle hasn’t missed a game since 2011. He’s a good run stopper and has the ability to create interior pressure on the quarterback.
EDGE, Ziggy Ansah – This is a guy I’m hoping Gruden and Mayock target. We all know the Raiders need help on the edge, and Ansah would provide just that. Injuries plagued the BYU product last season, but he’s put up at least 12 sacks two separate times in his career, with a career-high of 14.5. The Detroit Lions made top free agent defensive lineman Trey Flowers a priority this offseason, which will probably push Ansah out the door. I think Raiders Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther would welcome him with open arms.
TE, Jared Cook – Consistent. Since joining the Silver and Black in 2016, tight end Jared Cook has been the model of consistency. The former South Carolina Gamecock led the team in receiving back-to-back years and established himself as Carr’s go-to receiver. Even though Cook is testing free agency, I don’t think there’s any doubt the Raiders would welcome him back in 2019.
LB, Zach Brown – Just a couple years ago, Brown actually visited the Raiders during free agency, but he decided to sign with the Washington Redskins. During his time there he totaled 223 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three passes defensed, and started in 25 games. Once again, Brown finds himself back on the market, and the Raiders could use additional help in the middle of the field. Tahir Whitehead was the Raiders’ leading tackler in 2018 with 126 tackles, but the next closest player was linebacker Marquel Lee with 68. Whether the Raiders draft a linebacker or sign Brown, the position could use some added depth.
If you want to take a look at NFL.com’s full list of the top 101 free agents from the 2019 class, take a look, here.
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