The Las Vegas Raiders added to their defensive backfield mere days after closing up shop on what was a questionable 2021 NFL Draft.
According to NFL insider Josina Anderson, the Raiders have signed former Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward.
This move reunites Hayward with former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was just recently hired to serve in the same role with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Hayward, 31, was a surprise release of the Chargers earlier this offseason. Simply put, he did not fit new head coach Brandon Staley’s defensive scheme. The former Green Bay Packers second-round pick earned Pro Bowl honors back in 2016 and 2017 before seeing his game drop off a tad recently. He’ll join the likes of Trayvon Mullen and first-round bust Damon Arnette at cornerback with the Raiders.
Here’s a look at three more moves embattled general manager Mike Mayock and Co. could still make as the NFL offseason gets going.
Las Vegas Raiders sign Melvin Ingram
Why not double down with another former Chargers’ Pro Bowl performer under the aforementioned Gus Bradley? Even after signing Yannick Ngakoue, the Raiders need help out on the edge. Former top-five pick Clelin Ferrell has been nothing short of a bust for the organization in two seasons.
As for Ingram, he recorded a combined 53 quarterback hits and 24.5 sacks in Bradley’s first three seasons as the Chargers’ defensive coordinator from 2017-19 before struggling to the tune of five quarterback hits and zero sacks in seven games this past season. With that said, he could be a solid addition.
Las Vegas Raiders add Charles Leno in NFL free agency
After shocking the masses by selecting Alex Leatherwood in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it seems like these Raiders are set to go with the Alabama product as a starter opposite the recently-extended Kolton Miller. While Leatherwood could turn into a good player, he was a major reach with the 17th selection.
Perhaps, Las Vegas uses its remaining financial resources to sign longtime Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno. A native of Oakland, the 2014 seventh-round pick was Chicago’s full-time starting left tackle for six seasons prior to being released earlier this week.
Las Vegas Raiders trade for Julio Jones
Hear us out. There’s still a darn good chance that Atlanta opts to trade this seven-time Pro Bowl receiver after June 1 due to salary cap issues. If that is indeed the case, it would not be a surprise if Jon Gruden and Co. put in a call to the Falcons. We already know that Gruden has in the past targeted (and signed) big-name receivers. There’s no real reason to believe he’s changed his MO recently.
Acquiring Jones in a blockbuster trade for Damon Arnette and a high-round pick in 2022 could make sense for the Raiders. He’d team up with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards to form a solid trio of pass-catchers for Derek Carr. It almost makes too much sense.