Raiders Urged to Avoid ‘Overpaying’ All-Pro Free Agent Lineman

josh mcdaniels

Getty Las Vegas Raiders HC Josh McDaniels.

A lot of focus this offseason will be on the Las Vegas Raiders‘ need for a wide receiver but the need for offensive line help might be even bigger. The team was 22nd in the NFL in sacks allowed and left tackle Kolton Miller is the only player who is guaranteed to be back as a starter. Pro Football Focus ranked the group the 28th best in the NFL. Needless to say, changes need to happen under new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo.

The Raiders used their first-round pick on Alex Leatherwood last season but his rookie year was so bad that the team might already give up on him. Due to the failures of drafting an offensive lineman early last year, perhaps Las Vegas will look to free agency to address the need. However, the team has to be careful with who they sign. Washington Commanders free agent offensive guard Brandon Scherff will be one of the most popular free agents this offseason. The five-time Pro Bowler is set for a big payday.

Despite his consistent success as one of the NFL’s best guards, David Kenyon of Bleacher Report believes that Raiders need to avoid “overpaying” for Scherff in free agency:

He would be a natural fit with the Las Vegas Raiders, who meandered through a season with ineffective rookie Alex Leatherwood.

Based on the market, Scherff is bound for a deserved payday. That could simultaneously be too high a number for a Las Vegas roster also in need of wide receivers and defensive tackles when considering Scherff has missed 22 games in the last four years.

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How Much Would Raiders Be Willing to Pay Scherff?

Richie Incognito should retire this offseason after having two straight injury-plagued years. Denzelle Good missed 16 games last year due to a torn ACL but is still under contract for next season. He could assume one of the starting guard spots. If Miller is at left tackle, Andre James is at center and Good is at right guard, the focus needs to be on adding a left guard and right tackle.

Scherff at left guard would have to be quite appealing to the team. Joel Bitonio and Joe Thuney are the two highest-paid guards in the NFL at $16 million annually. There’s no doubt Scherff will want to exceed that number. He could get could closer to $20 million from a team this offseason. While Scherff would be a big help, the Raiders shouldn’t pay anything more than $15 million a year considering his injury history.

Will Raiders Give up on Leatherwood?

Leatherwood was a huge disappointment for the Raiders last season. He started the year at right tackle until his poor play got him moved to right guard. He didn’t play much better at that position. With Jon Gruden, Tom Cable and Mike Mayock no longer with the team, there’s no allegiance to Leatherwood left.

However, he was a first-round pick for a reason. He didn’t show a ton of flashes but the Raiders should at least give him a chance to improve. Perhaps he could have a bright future at guard. Bricillo is a solid offensive line coach and should be able to help Leatherwood.

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