Las Vegas Raiders Free Agency: Jeff’s Dream Scenario
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alright friends, the time has come: the tampering period is about to start and so rumors are about to become reality. If you’ve been following along, we’ve highlighted the players available who would fit a need within the current Las Vegas Raiders roster. Of course, none of this factors in what the Raiders will do in the draft — but it’s important to remember the two go hand-in-hand.

The challenge, of course, is that you can’t avoid a position in free agency assuming that position can adequately be filled at pick No. 12 or 19, and especially not into the third round and beyond. You can make educated guesses — this is required, in fact — but that’s it.

And so, without further ado, here’s my plan for free agency for the Raiders. According to Spotrac, the Raiders currently have $51.58 million in cap space.

Step one: release Tahir Whitehead, add $6.25 million in cap space (new total: $57.83 million in space)

Whitehead is a fine player, but isn’t worth anywhere near the amount he is being paid. He could be replaced for half that price if you wanted an equivalent player — but the goal here is more using that money towards an upgrade.

The Raiders must have been on the same page, as they went ahead and release Whitehead last week.

Step two: sign Byron Jones, CB (estimated contract according to PFF: 5 years, $80 million)

Jones is an elite corner that will pair up with Trayvon Mullen for the foreseeable future. Combined with Lamarcus Joyner at slot corner and the youthful depth already under contract, the Raiders will boast an impressive defensive back room.

Step three: sign Cory Littleton, LB (estimated contract according to PFF: 4 years, $48 million)

Last year the Raiders made three splash signings on Day 1 of free agency, this year I’m hoping they make two. Littleton slots into the middle linebacker spot where he has become one of the better off-the-ball linebackers in the league. If the Raiders fall in love with a guy like Patrick Queen in the draft, they could pair the two together — otherwise they can look to find another linebacker later in the draft.

Step four: sign Tre Boston, S (estimated contract according to PFF: 3 years, $24 million)

Between Boston and Littleton, the Raiders are officially equipped to defend tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield. Boston pairs with Jonathan Abram, playing an effective center field that allows Abram to roam near the box and play underneath.

Step five: sign Nelson Agholor, WR (estimated contract: 1 year, $4.5 million)

The Raiders are going to come out of the draft with a No. 1 receiver in this scenario — and Agholor is a solid candidate to bet on as a bounce-back guy. He’s a nice, versatile receiver that can compete to be the team’s fourth receiver. This signing doesn’t really move the needle, but it adds some nice depth to a room that has struggled to stay healthy in recent years.

Step six: sign Case Keenum, QB (estimated contract: 1 year, $6 million)

The Raiders are going to do SOMETHING at quarterback this offseason, and in this scenario (the most likely one, which involves Derek Carr remaining in Vegas) they pick up a veteran quarterback who can challenge Carr and step in if needed. Keenum just feels like a Gruden guy to me — tough, underdog, veteran, etc. 

End Result: $46.5 million spent (AAV), leaves just over $11 million in cap space, which is probably fairly close to what they should expect to spend on their draft picks if they stay where they are

This still leaves the Raiders in need of some reinforcements along the defensive line, as well as for a No. 1 wide receiver. In this scenario, they’ve got flexibility beyond that to simply grab the best player available. If they find a lineman they like, could someone like Gabe Jackson be in jeopardy of being cut? That would save the team $9.6 million in space. With two first round picks and five total in the top 100, the Raiders would be in excellent shape heading into the 2020 season.