The Las Vegas Raiders have had the fortune of having one of its best defensive players on a rookie contract. Not only is defensive end Maxx Crosby on a rookie contract, but he was a fourth-round pick so his salary is even lower. Despite leading the NFL in quarterback pressures with 101, per Pro Football Focus, Crosby only made $850,000 in base salary last season. He’ll get a big pay boost next season to about $4 million in salary but that’s not nearly enough for a defender who was named Second-Team All-Pro.
Crosby is only under contract for one more season and there’s no way the Raiders should let him test free agency. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, that’s not likely to happen. He is reporting that the team is already working on a contract extension for the star defender:
It was a quiet week at the NFL Scouting Combine, with all of the quarterback talk largely on ice and with the lack of a dynamic top college prospect. But behind the scenes, the Raiders were working to make defensive end Maxx Crosby one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league.
Contract extension talks have begun and are going well, according to league sources, and there is a very good chance Crosby will get a new deal before quarterback Derek Carr.
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How Much Could Crosby Get on Contract?
Crosby is set to get a massive pay boost. Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt is the NFL’s highest-paid defender with an average annual salary of $28 million. While Crosby was excellent last season, he hasn’t done as much as Watt yet so it’s unlikely he’ll reset the market. That doesn’t mean he won’t come close.
For Crosby’s next contract, it’s safe to assume that they’ll start at $20 million annually and make their way up. It’s hard to imagine he’ll get anything less than $20 million a year. He certainly deserves it. He’s a team captain, hasn’t missed a game in his career and is one of the hardest workers on the team. He’s not somebody the Raiders have to worry about losing the intensity after getting paid.
New Raiders Front Office Taking Different Approach Than Jon Gruden
One of the first things Jon Gruden did when he took over the Raiders in 2018 was trade superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears, who was holding out for a new contract. The team’s defense fell off a cliff after the trade and the pass rush was a mess until Crosby helped fix it last season. It’s clear that new general manager Dave Ziegler doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes as the last regime.
Crosby is arguably the face of the franchise right now. He’s the best defender they’ve had since Mack and is a massive fan favorite. Instead of angering the fan base and not giving Crosby what he wants, Ziegler appears intent on keeping the star pass rusher happy for a long time.