What are the Las Vegas Raiders doing? This offseason has been a disaster for the team. They’re further away from contending than they were last year, but they aren’t in rebuild mode either. Here are all their worst moves from the start of free agency.
Overpaid Kenyan Drake
The Kenyan Drake deal may go down as the worst of the entire offseason. Drake said the Raiders had “head and shoulders” more interest in adding him than any other team, which means they likely were bidding against themselves. They ended up giving him 11 million guaranteed over two years. It’s not a crippling move, but it’s just so unnecessary.
Yes, Josh Jacobs is coming off a disappointing season, but so is Drake. They were better off just drafting a mid-round running back, one who would likely have more juice and more time left at a fraction of the cost. The cap impact of the Drake deal isn’t a disaster, but the reasoning behind doing it at all is.
Overpaid Yannick Ngakoue
The Raiders’ biggest free agent is edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. The gave Ngakoue a two-year, 26 million dollar deal. He’ll have the 12th-biggest cap hit of any defensive end next season. This is also an overpay. Ngakoue is one-dimensional, he’s lacking counter moves after his speed rush fails, and he’s a negative against the run.
The Vikings found this out quickly, and after just six games they cut their losses and traded him for less than they got him for. Baltimore then decided he wasn’t worth bringing back. Ngakoue is best utilized as a rotational speed rusher in obvious passing situations, and that role isn’t worth the $13 million cap hit he incurs.
Botched Marcus Mariota’s trade value
After paying Marcus Mariota low-level starter money to back up Derek Carr last year, the Raiders predictably need him to take less to be on the team next year. It has been reported that they’ve asked him to take a pay cut, and if not he won’t be on the team next season.
This report is bad for the Raiders.
Whatever Mariota’s trade value was, it’s now severely hurt now that other teams know the Raiders will just release him anyway. The Raiders probably could not have gotten much for Mariota on that contract, but they could’ve moved him for at least a Day 3 pick. Now they’ll likely get nothing.
Downgraded the offensive line
On the offensive line, they traded away Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson to receive fifth- and second-round picks. Brown almost certainly will play better than a fifth-round rookie, and the Raiders’ projected starter at right tackle is Brandon Parker, who PFF graded as one of the worst tackles in the entire league last season. They have Andre James and Nick Martin in place at center to replace Hudson, but it’s still a downgrade. The offensive line, a strength for the Raiders last season, is now a question mark at best. The running backs lack explosiveness. The wide receiver room might be the weakest in the league. Darren Waller is amazing, but he might not be enough to help out Derek Carr.
Didn’t upgrade the secondary
The secondary is the Raiders’ weakest unit. The cornerback duo of Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen aren’t putting fear in anyone. Jonathan Abram was one of the worst coverage safeties in the league last year. The Raiders’ pass defense ranked 26th in the league by DVOA. There have been lots of solid corners available in free agency, but Vegas hasn’t made a legitimate upgrade yet.
They still have the draft, but that front office doesn’t have a good track record there. They can’t afford another big reach. The Chargers, Chiefs, and Broncos have all made better moves this offseason. The Raiders don’t look like any kind of threat to win the AFC West.