The Las Vegas Raiders are in the midst of a crucial offseason. After starting strong behind Derek Carr and a solid offensive line featuring Pro Bowl C Rodney Hudson, the Raiders stumbled to the finish line and missed the playoffs altogether.
In 2021, their main focus is on improving the defense. While new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley may be able to fix some of their issues, there still remains a lack of talent. It’s the offense that is the strength of the team, even after losing wide receiver Nelson Agholor to the New England Patriots.
While only minor improvement was needed offensively, the entire makeup of the offensive line was changed after it was announced that the Raiders would be releasing Hudson in a surprise move, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
The #Raiders are releasing Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson, source said, a surprise in Las Vegas as their O-line receives a nearly complete facelift.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
Clearly, the Raiders plan on rebuilding the offensive line from scratch. But that still doesn’t fully explain the release of Hudson after six excellent years with the team.
He is one of the best centers in all of football, and at only 32 years of age, he still has a lot of good years ahead of him. There’s no doubt that he instantly becomes one of the most coveted free-agent offensive linemen.
In his six seasons with the Raiders, he was selected to three Pro Bowls. He has been one of the most consistent and available players in the game and was one of the clear strengths of this Raiders team.
Perhaps the move signals that the Raiders could be entering some sort of rebuild offensively — or that there were internal issues that were unknown to the public — but hopefully, there is some plan in place. It will be hard to replace Hudson via the draft, but that will likely be what they attempt to do in an effort to save some money long term.
Raiders sign Yannick Ngakoue
While the Raiders are exhibiting somewhat of a lack of direction offensively, they have found their anchor on defense. On the first day of free agency, they agreed to terms with OLB Yannick Ngakoue after a solid half-year with the Baltimore Ravens.