One of the biggest needs the Las Vegas Raiders will have heading into this offseason is fixing their pass rush. The defense only took the quarterback down 21 times in 2020, which was 29th in the NFL. Since Khalil Mack was traded, the Raiders haven’t come close to replacing his production.
Well, they could finally have a chance to replace him with a different superstar pass rusher. Von Miller’s days in Denver could be over. There have been conflicting reports about his future with the Broncos but it’s very possible he gets a chance to test free agency this offseason. The Raiders are very familiar with Miller. He has nine sacks in 16 games against them. Damian Lillard has been playing the role of Raiders’ recruiter this offseason and now he’s got his eye on Miller.
Miller has been one of the best players in the entire NFL for a decade. He almost single-handedly won the Broncos a Super Bowl in 2015 and has been a strong leader for the team. If Denver actually does let him go, Miller is going to be highly sought after.
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Signing Miller Could Come With Risks
When Miller’s healthy and on the field, there are few people in the history of the NFL who are better at rushing the passer. However, the Raiders do need to be careful before offering him a big contract. First off, he didn’t play a single game in 2020 and only had eight sacks in 2019, which was a career-worst in a season that he played in 10 games or more. He’s only 31-years-old so he could still have plenty left in the tank but it’s hard to see him being the dominant pass rusher he was in the first portion of his career.
Also, Miller has played as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense for most of his career. New Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley rarely uses 3-4 sets so Miller might not be a fit. Plus, the star pass rusher was put under criminal investigation in January, according to the Denver Post. What he’s being investigated for is a mystery but if it’s bad, he could face suspension. The Raiders also don’t like taking in players with legal baggage these days. While there’s no doubt Las Vegas would love to add somebody with his amazing pass-rushing skills, it doesn’t seem likely that the two sides will pair up.
Raiders Have Multiple Options to Address Their Pass Rush
Spending big money on defensive players isn’t exactly in Jon Gruden’s wheelhouse but that needs to change this offseason. The Raiders have got their offense in a nice spot and don’t need to keep throwing money at it. The defense is a major problem for the team and it starts up front. Bradley made it clear that he wants to build a strong defensive line and this year’s free-agent class of defensive lineman offers some good options.
The Raiders reportedly had an interest in trading for Yannick Ngakoue last offseason. They’ll now have a chance to sign him as a free agent. He’s good for at least eight sacks a season, which would be an upgrade over what the team has right now. Las Vegas could also look at J.J. Watt but that seems unlikely.
The Raiders also showed interest in Jadeveon Clowney previously. He’ll be a free agent once again and maybe the team can finally make a deal work.