The Oakland Raiders are coming off a disappointing 2017 campaign that saw them fall well short of reaching the playoffs. This has placed a huge importance on the front office to reshape the roster to contend once again next season.
Much of the focus has been funneled toward improving their defensive unit that had its fair share of struggles in last year. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, Oakland has agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with veteran defensive tackle Justin Ellis.
#Raiders DT Justin Ellis has agreed to terms on a 3-year, more than $15M deal, sources say, pending review of the final contract. More $6M guaranteed. A key building block in Oakland stays in place. 💰🔏
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2018
Ellis has spent his first four seasons with the Raiders since being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He has since become a key cog in the defensive line as an effective factor against the run and is coming off his most productive season yet after registering a career-high 48 total tackles while playing in all 16 regular season games for the first time.
The 27-year-old was set to hit the free agent market after completing his four-year, $2.7 rookie deal and could have received some intriguing offers to play elsewhere. Ellis isn’t necessarily a splashy move, but it does keep some stability along the defensive line that is headed by All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack, who is expected to sign a lucrative contract extension at some point over the offseason.
Although Oakland is a bit limited financially with $19.1 million in salary cap space, the team is expected to address their issues on the defensive side of the ball. Things could pick up once the free agency begins early next week with a plethora of defensive talent available on the open market.