With the NFL Scouting Combine taking place, the Las Vegas Raiders are putting much of its focus on the draft. However, NFL free agency starts up soon on March 15. The team can solve many of its issues prior to the draft.
One of the biggest positions of need for the Raiders is linebacker. Divine Deablo is the only veteran linebacker under contract with 2022 undrafted free signings Luke Masterson and Darien Butler also signed to the team. All three of those linebackers are 25 or under so the Raiders may want to bring in an older veteran to bring some experience to the group. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David has been one of the best players at the position for years. With Tom Brady retiring, the Buccaneers might be looking to rebuild, which would mean moving on from the 33-year-old linebacker. Arjun Menon and Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus are predicting the Raiders to sign David in free agency:
There is a massive need to get a leader in the middle of this defense, and there might not be a better player to do so than David, who has been the epitome of consistency for the Buccaneers’ defense, stringing together six straight years with a 72.0-plus PFF grade. He would help rejuvenate the Raiders’ linebacker room, which has struggled to find a top-end guy at that position for years. The Raiders had bottom-five defense when opposing offenses threw over the middle of the field according to EPA per play and success rate allowed.
How Much Will David Cost?
David is the model of consistency for NFL linebackers. He has accumulated over 100 combined tackles in nine of his 11 seasons. He was also able to play all 17 games last season so there aren’t any injury concerns with him. He’s a three-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion who brings elite leadership abilities to a defense.
Now, his age is concerning. Linebacker isn’t a position where players remain elite until their late 30s. David likely only has a couple of years left of being a high-level player. That should keep his asking price relatively low. Spotrac has David’s market value at one year, $9.7 million. That’d be a fair price for the Raiders to pay to add a potential difference-maker on defense. The team could also get the yearly value down if they give him a two-year deal. A two-year contract worth $15 million may be enough to get David to Las Vegas.
Will Raiders Bring Back Denzel Perryman?
One of the few defensive free agents of the Raiders who has value is linebacker Denzel Perryman. He made the Pro Bowl in 2021 and was an impact player on the field when he was able to play in 2022. The concerns with him are mostly injury related.
Perryman has never been able to play an entire season throughout his career and missed five games last season. He also has issues in pass coverage but really makes a difference in the run game. He was one of the few players on the defense last year who could make plays. Considering his injury history, the price to sign him in free agency won’t be steep. The Raiders should strongly consider bringing him back as long as they add more linebackers who can cover.