The 2021 Las Vegas Raiders did what many deemed impossible. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Owner Mark Davis has already decided to not keep the Raiders’ playoff staff together, but what about the team’s pending 2022 free agents?
Many Raiders have contracts expiring this offseason, making them free agents in 2022 and able to sign with any NFL team. While many key players are still under contract, here are the 2021 Raiders that may have played their last down in Las Vegas.
The Silver and Black have many offensive contracts expiring in March when free agency opens. Among them are a few key players from 2021. Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota is one of the most notable. Mariota has been a part of the Raiders for two seasons, serving as Derek Carr’s backup. He started one game in 2020 due to an injury to Carr but didn’t get a lot of action in 2021.
The infamous “Mariota Package” showcased his strengths sporadically, showing the league he still has gas left in the tank. If he doesn’t resign in Las Vegas, Mariota may be one of the most sought-after free agent QBs this season.
RBs Jalen Richard and Peyton Barber will also be on the market. Richard has served as the Raiders’ third-down running back for many years, while Barber was new to the Silver and Black in 2021. Both players made some impressive plays this season, but Barber’s special teams mix-up in the playoffs may be enough for new head coach Josh McDaniels to send him on his way.
Both WR Zay Jones and WR DeSean Jackson may be on new rosters in 2022, along with TE Derek Carrier. The offensive line may also see another revamp as G Richie Incognito, C Nick Martin, T Brandon Parker, and G Jermaine Eluemunor will all be free agents.
The Raiders’ defense saw a massive improvement from 2020 to 2021, partially thanks to former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but mostly due to the player additions made last offseason. Some of those key players, however, have already seen their contracts expire.
CB Casey Hayward Jr., DL Solomon Thomas, and OLB K.J. Wright were all new to Las Vegas in 2021. They made the most of their season, bringing in career numbers for many of them. Now, they may have a new team again in 2022 other than the Raiders as free agents.
CB Desmond Trufant, DT Johnathan Hankins, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Gerald McCoy, and DT Darius Philon will also see the end of their contracts this year. Hankins, Jefferson, and Philon were all key pieces in the Raiders’ defense, helping propel them to wins on many occasions. McCoy was injured in the first game of the year and didn’t have a chance to leave his mark in Las Vegas, while Trufant was only active for the final few games of the season due to injuries.
Because the defense played so well last year, look for head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to re-sign some of these key pieces. 2022 free agency will begin March 16, 2022.
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