The Las Vegas Raiders concluded their 2021 season last Saturday after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Week in and week out, the Raiders showed how dynamic their team was this season. Each player had a distinct role, and the Raiders needed all of them. After fighting their way through the season, here were the Raiders’ MVPs this year.
WR Hunter Renfrow
If you watched any Raiders games this year, you saw WR Hunter Renfrow light up the field. Over the course of the season, Renfrow gained more and more respect from those outside of Raider Nation. He ended the year regarded as one of the league’s best route runners.
Renfrow ended the season with 103 receptions, 1,038 yards, and 9 touchdowns. After starting the season as the Raiders’ WR3, Renfrow’s position quickly changed. After the release of former first-round pick Henry Ruggs III, he stepped naturally into the WR1 role and thrived the remainder of the season.
The 26-year-old proved how dynamic and necessary his skill set is to the Raiders’ offense. In such an uncertain offseason, one thing is extremely clear: Hunter Renfrow has earned his contract extension.
K Daniel Carlson
In the last two seasons, the Raiders’ offense has been notorious for struggling in the red zone. Despite having a hard time finding the end zone, the Raiders have scored points nearly every time they are within the 20-yard line. That is all thanks to the record holder for most points scored in a single season in Raiders’ history.
Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson was the most reliable player on the Silver and Black this year. Carlson went 40/43 on field goals in 2021. His last missed kick of the season was in Week 9 against the New York Giants.
In 2021, Carlson went 9 for 9 on lead-changing field goals with less than two minutes left in the game or in overtime. On top of that, Carlson hit five game-winning walk-off field goals. It almost became a Sunday tradition to see Carlson nail the game-winner as the clock ran down to zero.
“Experience definitely for me, it feels a little more comfortable than my first game-winner maybe. It’s just fun,” Carlson said when asked if the common recurrence of walk-off kicks makes it easier.
Without Daniel Carlson, the Raiders could have sat at 5-12 instead of 10-7, or worse. Simply put, he was one of the most crucial players on the roster in Las Vegas this season. Carlson received the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week on four different occasions this year. The Raiders rewarded him for his impressive performance during the season with a four-year contract extension.
LB Denzel Perryman
After being acquired by Las Vegas just weeks before the regular season, LB Denzel Perryman changed the Raiders’ defense for the better. Despite missing two games due to injury, Perryman led the league in tackles for much of the season.
Perryman ended the season with 154 tackles, the most by any Raider player in franchise history. Perryman also forced one fumble. He was voted to his first-ever Pro-Bowl this season, along with Raiders punter AJ Cole and DE Maxx Crosby.
Perryman’s stats were impressive, but his veteran presence also helped change the Raiders locker room. One of the youngest units in the league worked hard to improve their defense this year, after being ranked 28th in 2020. Perryman’s experience and leadership were sure to be credited for aiding in their impressive turnaround.
Perryman has one year remaining on his contract, but it is likely he will be extended.
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