Though the focus for the Las Vegas Raiders is on the draft right now due to the NFL Combine, free agency is quickly approaching. In just a couple of weeks, the team will get a chance to make some notable signings. The team made the playoffs last year but has some major holes. One position that will need to be addressed is defensive tackle.
Not a single defensive tackle who played significant snaps for the Raiders last season is under contract for 2022. They could try to bring some of them back but there’s a new defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham. He may just want to start over at the position. If that’s the case, the Raiders could get a future Hall of Famer on a reasonable deal.
Calais Campbell is a six-time Pro Bowler and made the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue played with Campbell in Jacksonville and Baltimore so he’s familiar with the defensive lineman’s ability. He wants to see the veteran come to Las Vegas and join “the dark side.”
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Is Campbell a Fit With Raiders?
Campbell has spent most of his career as a defensive end but has a lot of experience playing inside at tackle. The Raiders are set at defensive end with Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby but could use a player like Campbell on the interior. Now, not too much should be expected of him. He’s going to be turning 36-years-old when the season starts and coming off his least productive season since he was a rookie.
However, he’s an excellent leader and still pretty durable despite his age. The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year has never missed more than four games in a season. He’s a guy who can help build a culture with the new coaching staff. He’s not getting 14.0 sacks in a season again but he’d likely be gettable on a cheap deal. He’d be a really smart addition for the new brass.
Should the Raiders Bring Back Any Free Agent DTs?
As noted earlier, the Raiders are really lean at defensive tackle heading into free agency. The only player on the roster is the recently signed Andrew Billings. With a defensive coaching staff coming in, there could be some big changes coming. That said, Graham and company shouldn’t just forget about the players who were on the team last season.
Johnathan Hankins has been with the team for four seasons now and was actually coached by Graham when he was with the New York Giants in 2016. He’ll have a good shot of getting brought back. Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas were also solid for the team. They should both get looked at this offseason. Darius Philon was a good player for the Raiders last season but he suffered an injury late in the year and may want to follow Gus Bradley to the Indianapolis Colts.