With the Las Vegas Raiders preparing for the draft and free agency, their needs are very clear. They need to fix the defense and need to do it fast. Head coach Jon Gruden has built a top-10 offense but in the process, he’s also built a bottom-five defense.
While there will be plenty of temptations to add players on the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders have to put what resources they have into defense. Free agency is likely where the team will do their most damage, but they could also take a look at potential trades. Jake Rill of Bleacher Report believes that Houston Texans star J.J. Watt would be a good fit in Las Vegas:
Last season, Watt had 52 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception while starting all 16 games for the Texans. So even though he’s going to be turning 32 in March, he’s still playing at a high level, which is likely why it could take a sizable offer for a team to acquire him via trade.
But that could end up being worth it for Las Vegas, which ranked 29th in the NFL with 21 sacks this past season. Watt would not only add to that total, but he’d open up opportunities for others by drawing attention from opposing offensive lines, which could help improve the Raiders’ pass rush as a whole.
Watt to the Raiders would make sense for a number of reasons. He may not be the dominant pass rusher he once was, but he would still be the best one in Las Vegas. However, what he would bring to the team as a leader would outweigh his value on the field. A report recently dropped suggesting there is a lack of accountability involving the Raiders. It’s clear they need more leaders and Watt is one of the best in the business. If Houston isn’t asking too much in a trade.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Raiders Take Another Chance on an Ex-Eagles WR?
The Raiders will almost certainly focus on defense this offseason but that doesn’t mean they need to completely ignore the offense. It’s very possible the team losses Nelson Agholor in free agency this offseason. If that happens, the team might have a bit of a need at the position. Rill believes that the Raiders should take a chance on another possible former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver in Alshon Jeffery:
There’s a good chance that the Eagles move on from Jeffery, as they’re going to be looking to clear salary cap this offseason. So they could start by looking for potential trade partners. And if it appears there are going to be some interested teams, then the Raiders may want to try to get involved.
But if Jeffery ends up getting released, it could be an even better opportunity for Las Vegas to add him in a lower-risk move. Either way, it could end up being a high-reward addition for 2021.
Jeffery was considered one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL back when he was in Chicago. He eventually made his way to Philadelphia and hasn’t had a single 1,000-yard receiving season during his four seasons with the team. He’s now 30-years-old and might be past his prime. The Raiders shouldn’t trade any assets for him, but if he does get cut, he could be a decent addition on a small contract.
Finding Leadership Will Be Important for Raiders
There’s clearly a leadership void for the Raiders, especially on defense. The team does have some good young players who could develop into leaders, but it’s clear they need to bring in some proven veterans. They tried to do that last season by bringing in Jason Witten, but that didn’t have the desired effect.
The Raiders need veteran leadership from players who impact the game. Until they find that, it’s going to be difficult for this team to win a lot of games.