Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the rumors are the Las Vegas Raiders could use some help at linebacker? Actually, let me ask another question: can you even name a linebacker you’re positive will be on the Raiders’ roster come Week 1? Me neither.
The good news is that this offseason there are a plethora of ways for Vegas to upgrade this unit — whether it’s with one of their first two draft picks or the $50+ million they’ve got to spend in free agency if they want to. While we’ve already looked at their options at cornerback, now we shift our focus to the free agents available at linebacker…
Can you imagine if the Raiders had a linebacker who could actually be effective in pass coverage? With Travis Kelce in the division, it’s about time to make this a priority — and if that’s the case then Littleton is the best option out there. According to PFF he has the third-best coverage grade over the last two seasons. So what would he cost?
PFF projects Littleton will earn $48 million over four years, with $30 million guaranteed. That may seem like a big number — and one a team that has literally never prioritized the position may struggle to justify — but imagine the impact it would have on every level of the defense if you could pencil in a stud at middle linebacker.
Verdict: splash that cash.
Schobert was Cleveland’s fourth-round pick in 2016 and the 26-year-old had a nice start to his career before struggling a bit last season. Like Littleton, his strength is in coverage where he was one of the better linebackers in 2017 and 2018 before coming down to earth in 2019. As far as cost, the numbers are pretty comprable to Littleton: 4 years, $44 million with $27 million guaranteed.
The question here is whether 2019 was indicative of the player Schobert will be moving forward? Or whether it was an outlier that might allow the Raiders to get a discount on a guy they desperately need? While Littleton is the better bet, if he isn’t available I’d be all for locking Schobert up.
Jamie Collins Sr.
The former Patriot-turned-Brown-turned-Patriot has had an up-and-down career that pretty much is directly related to where it is that he is playing. In New England? High-end play. Cleveland? Not so much.
At 30-years-old, Collins is the cheapest option as far as upgrades go on the market, with PFF projecting a 2-year, $15 million deal. On one hand, I could see Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden falling in love with a guy from the Belichick tree — on the other, I could see them opting for youth and solving this problem through the draft.