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Ranking the top 5 players Las Vegas Raiders should re-sign in the 2023 offseason


The NFL will see a notable increase in the salary cap for the upcoming season. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the total will rise from $208.2 million in 2022 to $224.8 million this year. Now, teams will begin to budget with concrete numbers, earmarking cap space for offseason moves.

The Las Vegas Raiders can do a little bit of housekeeping before the new league year begins in March.

Before general manager Dave Ziegler goes shopping on the open market, he should retain some of his own impending free agents to maintain depth, a potential starter and a key offensive playmaker.

If Ziegler chose to re-sign five in-house free agents, who should he retain this offseason? Let’s rank the top potential keepers by priority from lowest to highest.

5. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham

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Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 17, Jarrett Stidham made his first NFL start in a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers and left a strong initial impression, throwing for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against the league’s No. 1 defense in points and yards allowed. But in the following outing against the Kansas City Chiefs, he came back down to earth, throwing for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception and lost a fumble.

Stidham didn’t make a solid case to start in 2023, but he showcased enough potential to hang around and potentially grow into a decent backup regardless of whom the Raiders add to the quarterback room this offseason.

Stidham’s mobility along with his four years of experience in head coach Josh McDaniels’ system make him an appealing developmental quarterback option, specifically for the Raiders.

For anyone who prefers wideout Mack Hollins in this spot, just remember, he posted career highs with Derek Carr, who’s on his way out of Las Vegas.

4. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery

Jerry Tillery’s production with the Raiders doesn’t stand out (10 tackles, eight solo, three pressures), but his presence helped unlock edge-rusher Chandler Jones, who made more of an impact in the pass rush after the team claimed the former Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle off waivers in November.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones racked up 19 of his 32 quarterback pressures between Weeks 12 and 16; Tillery made his Raiders debut in Week 11. That’s not a coincidence.

This past season, defensive tackle Bilal Nichols flashed on snaps few and far between. Vegas’ defense needs a more consistent push through the middle. Tillery isn’t an All-Pro talent, but he’s only 26 years old with the skill set to provide quality depth on the interior. Forgive him for the boneheaded unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Week 14 on what would become a game-winning drive by the Los Angeles Rams.

3. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin

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Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rock Ya-Sin had a decent year before he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the final five regular-season games. He allowed just one touchdown and an 82.6 passer rating in coverage, which is his career best in four campaigns.

In 2022, Ya-Sin broke up seven passes, but he didn’t record an interception, which is something the cover man rarely did in his three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (two interceptions in 41 games).

At this point in his career, Ya-Sin isn’t a lead cornerback, and the Raiders need defensive backs who can force turnovers. However, he’s only 26 years old and has the ability to fill a role as a physical No. 2 cornerback on the perimeter. Vegas would still need to acquire a top boundary defender via free agency or the draft to join him and Nate Hobbs, who may be better suited in the primary slot position.

2. Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor

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Sep 25, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;Las Vegas Raiders guard Jermaine Eluemunor (72) leaves the field after warmups before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Jermaine Eluemunor led the Raiders’ offensive linemen in penalties (10), per Pro Football Focus, but the good far outweighs the downside in his 2022 performance. He lined up mostly at right tackle with a start at left tackle and right guard, which underscores his value.

In his career, Eluemunor has played a significant number of snaps at all three positions, though he became a reliable pass protector at right tackle in 2022, allowing just three sacks and 26 pressures in 940 snaps. By the way, he gave up just one sack after Week 2.

In his first year as a full-time starter, Eluemunor had his best year. Perhaps he blooms into a high-end quality right tackle midway through his career with an opportunity to lock down a steady starting role. Solid pass-protecting tackles don’t fall from the sky every offseason; he’s earned a new contract and a chance to retain his starting job.

1. Running back Josh Jacobs

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Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unless Josh Jacobs wants to reset the market at running back, his rank atop the list of potential players to re-sign goes without question. He won the 2022 rushing title with 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns.

If Jacobs wants to become the highest-paid running back by annual salary, he would top Christian McCaffrey’s $16 million pay rate, which is a steep price because of the turnover for players at that position.

Nonetheless, Tom Brady, the league’s oldest quarterback, would appreciate a top ball-carrier because his Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad had the fewest rushing yards per game in 2022. Even if the Raiders go with a younger quarterback to replace Carr, a viable ground attack could help him tremendously.

In 2021, the New England Patriots fielded the sixth-ranked scoring offense with then-rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who, at times leaned on the team’s eighth-ranked ground attack. McDaniels has had a top-10 rushing offense in five of his last seven years as an offensive play-caller. He likely values Jacobs as a cornerstone asset to the offense.

Maurice Moton covers the Raiders for Sportsnaut. You can follow him on Twitter at @MoeMoton.

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