After the Denver Broncos acquired Russell Wilson and the Los Angeles Chargers acquired Khalil Mack, the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t follow up with a big move of their own. Once free agency rolled around, the team didn’t make any notable signings. That all changed when the team signed All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones.
There were no rumors linking the Raiders to the superstar defender and signing him showed that they weren’t going to play it safe while the rest of the AFC West improves. However, Las Vegas didn’t stop there. In an even bigger move, the team acquired five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. It was a stunning trade that gave the Raiders arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Many were ready to count the Raiders out in the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs have gone to the Super Bowl in two of the last three seasons while the Chargers and Broncos improved in major ways this offseason. It looked like the Raiders were about to go from playoff team to last place in the division. Running back Kenyan Drake made sure to call out the AFC West narrative after the trade and put the division on notice.
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Raiders Stocking up This Offseason
Landing Jones and Adams this offseason are major moves for the Raiders. Josh McDaniels is still an unknown at head coach but he’s widely considered one of the best offensive minds and playcallers in the NFL. He clearly doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes he did during his first head coaching job with the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders also added one of the brightest young defensive minds at defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham. He’ll be a head coach one day soon but he’s got some great pieces to work with in Las Vegas for now. Things are changing for the Raiders as they look to get serious about making their first Super Bowl run since 2002.
Where Do Raiders Sit in the AFC West?
There’s no doubt the Raiders have improved over last year. As impressive as Rich Bisaccia was as the interim head coach, he doesn’t bring the same amount of upside as McDaniels. Also, Dave Ziegler is already proving to be an improvement at general manager over Mike Mayock, who never really got a fair shot. One of the needs that has haunted the Raiders for years has been wide receiver. The team now has one of the best in Adams. On defense, they now have an elite pass-rushing duo in Jones and Maxx Crosby.
However, the Raiders aren’t the only team to improve in the AFC West. They need to actually consistently compete with the Chiefs before they can be considered legit contenders for the division title, but they are every bit as good as the Broncos or Chiefs. Yes, Carr isn’t as talented as Wilson and Justin Herbert but he’s still one of the 12 best quarterbacks in the NFL. Last year, the Raiders finished with the second-best record in the AFC West. There’s a strong chance they finish that way once again in 2022.