Raiders Predicted to Sign Emerging Star Interior Pass Rusher to Multi-Year Deal

daron payne

Getty Washington Commanders DT Daron Payne.

The Las Vegas Raiders can’t rush the passer. The team is last in the NFL with 13 sacks this season and 9.0 of them are from Maxx Crosby. The pass rushing issues stem from the defensive line. Crosby is the only defensive lineman this season who has accumulated a full sack on the team.

He’s also the only player who has more than 1.0 sack. The Raiders aren’t going to win a lot of games if they can’t rush the passer. They’re getting almost no push from their interior pass rushers. Landing a defensive tackle who can push the pocket would be a massive help. The Raiders could look to address the need in the draft but there could be options in free agency.

Las Vegas should take a long look at Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne. The former first-round pick out of Alabama will be a free agent after the season and has 6.5 sacks this season. He’ll cost a pretty penny in free agency but Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report is predicting that he’ll end up with the Raiders on a multi-year deal:

Several teams could use an interior pass-rusher of Payne’s caliber. The Las Vegas Raiders are certainly among those teams. They are slated to have the ninth-most cap space available to improve a team that is 2-5 right now.

The Raiders are 28th in pressure percentage despite having an edge rusher like Maxx Crosby hunting quarterbacks. Payne has [6.5] sacks on the season. No other defender on the Raiders roster other than Crosby has more than one.

Why Raiders Should Be Cautious With Payne

Payne has been playing like a stud this season. 6.5 sacks in 11 games is a really good number for a defensive tackle. Only Chris Jones and Quinnen Williams have more sacks as interior pass rushers this season. Payne has been a solid pass rusher throughout his career but this has been his best season. His previously season-high for sacks came as a rookie with 5.0.

That should bring some concern to the Raiders. Payne could just be playing with extra juice because he’s in a free agent year. The fact that the Commanders haven’t signed him to an extension could be telling. Why would they want to let go of a dominant defensive lineman for nothing? It could simply be because they have other cheaper pieces they like. Regardless, the Raiders should certainly take a look at Payne and consider signing him if the price isn’t too steep.

Raiders Have to Add an Interior Pass Rusher

The Raiders have needed an interior pass rusher for years now but haven’t properly addressed the position. If the team finishes with a top-five draft pick, they have to be all over Jalen Carter out of Georgia. He could be the NFL’s next great defensive tackle. He could have an instant impact on the Raiders’ defense.

If they win some more games and don’t have a high draft pick, they’ll have to consider a player like Payne. Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave will also be free agents. The Philadelphia Eagles likely can’t afford to pay them both, which would open up the door for the Raiders to sign one. If the team fails to find a defensive tackle who can rush the passer, it’s hard to see the defense take a step forward next season.

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