Raiders Sign Versatile Defensive Lineman

jon gruden

Getty Jon Gruden on the Raiders' sideline.

One of the more interesting signings the Las Vegas Raiders made during the season was the signing of defensive lineman David Irving. He had eight sacks over his last 10 games with the Dallas Cowboys before he was hit with a suspension for marijuana use. Rather than serve the suspension, Irving decided to retire from the NFL.

After taking almost two years off, Irving decided to come back and the Raiders were a logical fit due to his relationship with defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. He only played in two games during the 2020 season and was banged up most of the time. He’ll get another chance in 2021 to make an impact with the team. The Raiders announced that they’ve re-signed Irving.

Irving did receive some interest around the NFL as he had tryouts with the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. It appears that familiarity won out in the end as the Raiders were able to retain him.

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Irving Is a Low-Risk, High-Reward Signing

The Raiders were desperate for pass-rush help last season and tried really hard to find a solution. Irving, Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley were all brought in to try and fix the problem. Unfortunately, none of them had much luck.

Irving never really got a chance due to injury. Now he’ll get a shot to have a full offseason in Las Vegas and could be a sneaky good pickup for the Raiders. It’s been over two years since he notched a sack but he was a very solid player for the Cowboys. He really looked like he was coming into his own before he got hit with suspensions. The Raiders don’t have a ton of money to spend this offseason so picking up up a cheap option like Irving is smart. At worst, he doesn’t show a lot of skill in training camp and gets cut before the season. At best, he could be a strong pass rusher for the team.

Will Beasley & McKinley Re-Sign?

With Irving officially coming back, the Raiders could have some more decisions on their hands. Beasley and McKinley are also free agents but the team appears intrigued by them. The former was once the NFL’s leader in sacks but notched zero sacks in 2020, which was a first in his six-year career. He’s expressed interest in coming back but it’s hard to imagine that he recapture the magic that made him one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers for a brief time.

McKinley is interesting because the Raiders clearly liked him enough to claim him off waivers despite knowing about his injury issues. The former first-round pick has potential but has never notched more than seven sacks in a season. He’s a solid pass rusher but nothing indicates that he’s elite at getting after the quarterback. Between Beasley and McKinley, the latter seems more likely to return to the team in 2021.

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