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2024 Free Agency Preview: Biggest Positional Needs for the Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Another season has come and passed. Another quarterback experiment. Another head coach fired. This time they even fired the general manager too. The Raiders can move cities, but the Raiders will always be the Raiders. This team is in a massive transitional period. They have a new general manager, new head coach, new offensive/defensive coordinators, and soon they'll have a new quarterback. That kind of upheaval often takes time for a team to land on their feet. When that team is the Raiders, you can't be certain they'll ever get there.

Previous Divisional Editions breaking down each team's 2023 season, their offseason assets, and their top-three positional needs going into the 2024 NFL Season can be found here:

This team has a plethora of needs across the roster. Some of their offseason decisions, specifically their choice of general manager, already present plenty of questions. This rebuild is going to take more than one offseason to get right, but each offseason is a battle they must win if they're going to ever get back to relevancy in the NFL. If you want to take advantage of all of our great premium tools, please use promo code, "BOOM" to receive a 10% discount. 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Season Review and Offseason Assets

It’s a good thing owner Mark Davis is loaded because he is blowing a ton of cash on failed general manager and head coaching hires. Jon Gruden was a colossal bust. Josh McDaniels was just as bad. Unlike Gruden, McDaniels didn’t even complete his second season. The team hired their interim head coach, Antonio Pierce, to the permanent position. That move sat very well with the players.

Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby campaigned for him very strongly. Crosby went as far as to say he would demand a trade if Pierce wasn’t hired. Did that impact the decision? Who knows and it doesn’t matter. Pierce is now the guy. They also hired Tom Telesco, the former Chargers’ general manager who was fired last season. We don’t know who Pierce is yet, but we do know who Telesco is... and woof!

He had been the Chargers’ general manager since 2013. His drafting resume is awful. Since 2013, Telesco made 28 picks on day three (Rounds 4-7). Just one of them received a contract extension with the Chargers. He’s made 23 picks in Rounds 1-3. Seven of them received contract extensions with the Chargers. Two of them received the franchise tag. He’s made 51 draft selections and only eight of them received extensions with the Chargers. That’s a 16% hit rate. If you’re reading this, YOU could draft better than Tom Telesco. In all seriousness though, why did the Raiders hire this guy? Was it solely because he drafted Justin Herbert?

He would’ve drafted Tua Tagovailoa had the Dolphins taken Herbert ahead of him, so how much credit should he get for that? In any case, his resume is so sinful that Las Vegas shouldn’t have even let him in. Despite being hired with Philip Rivers already in place and drafting Herbert, both excellent quarterbacks, Telesco's Chargers went 84-95 over his 11 years. It's astonishingly bad that you could have a losing record after being gifted those two quarterbacks, but Telesco did it. Good luck Raiders! Even if you find a franchise quarterback, Telesco has proven he's bad enough that he can make it not even matter.

The Raiders finished 23rd in points scored and 27th in yards gained. Their quarterback play was disastrous, about on par with Telesco’s drafting resume. Their defense was much better, finishing ninth in points allowed and 15th in yards given up. This team has some decent pieces, but until they get the quarterback position right, none of it is going to matter.

Las Vegas has just over $48 million in cap space this season. Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be cut and his two-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs could void his $11 million in guarantees for the 2024 season. Cutting Hunter Renfrow will save the team $8.2 million. After these two moves, the team will have north of $70 million in cap space. They could restructure the contracts of Adams ($25.3 million cap hit) and/or Crosby ($24.4 million cap hit) to create even more space. The Raiders’ only free agent who will garner significant interest on the open market is Josh Jacobs. Reports have indicated that they’re at least interested in trying to re-sign him.

The Raiders own the No. 13 (first-rounder), No. 44 (second-rounder), No. 77 (third-rounder), No. 113 (fourth-rounder), No. 147 (fifth-rounder), No. 210 (sixth-rounder), No. 221 (seventh-rounder), No. 225 (seventh-rounder), and No. 227 (seventh-rounder) overall picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

 

Biggest Needs

1. Quarterback

There is no greater need for the Raiders than at quarterback. Jimmy G will be a cap casualty and Aidan O'Connell is not the long-term answer. Last year, the Raiders finished 25th in completion percentage, 23rd in passing yards, 22nd in passing touchdowns, 26th in yards per attempt, and 28th in quarterback rating. They finished with the sixth most interceptions despite being 23rd in pass attempts. Their passing offense contributed just 17 expected points, which ranked 22nd. Their offense was 26th in yards per play, 26th in scoring percentage, 24th in third down conversions, and 25th in points per drive.

Considering this offense had Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and the 10th-best offensive line according to PFF’s final ranking, they should have been much more potent. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the quarterback is such a huge driving factor in the offense’s success and their quarterback play was dreadful. I expect the Raiders to entertain the idea of moving up in the draft to select the quarterback they prefer.

2. Offensive Line

This unit played well last season, but it’s about to go through a major transition. Greg Van Roten (34 years old), Andre James (27 years old, former UDFA), and Jermaine Eluemunor (who will turn 30 during the 2024 season) are all free agents. These three players logged 2,894 snaps and made 50 starts (James missed one game). Thayer Munford, drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 draft, played 49% of the team’s snaps in relief of starting left tackle Kolton Miller.

During what essentially was half a season’s worth of playing time, Munford allowed four sacks, 19 hurries, and 28 total pressures. Given the shaky performance, it’s unknown if he’ll be viewed as a potential right tackle replacement. There are no other replacement options on the roster, so the team is looking to add at least two new offensive line starters. Due to Munford’s age, draft capital, and up-and-down performance last season, it makes sense to have veteran insurance at right tackle.

3. Defensive Tackle

The Raiders will have Maxx Crosby, Malcom Koonce, and Tyree Wilson all returning at defensive end. The defense is well-stocked there, but they need help at defensive tackle. John Jenkins, Bilal Nichols, and Adam Butler are all free agents. These three players logged 1,736 snaps. They also combined to have 7.5 sacks, 137 tackles, and 16 tackles for a loss. The depth at that position consists of Jerry Tillery, Matthew Butler, and Byron Young. Young is a third-round pick from the 2023 draft and Butler is a fifth-rounder from the 2022 draft. These three players logged just 614 snaps. The team may elect to move Butler and Young into a starter’s role. However, given how much playing time and production the team has to replace, they could look to add more talent to this position.

Other Positions of Need: Cornerback, Running Back

 

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