It’s no secret that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has been looking for pass-rush help after his questionable decision to trade Khalil Mack ahead of the 2018 season. It really has been a long time coming. This latest piece of Raiders news adds a whole new layer to that.
Las Vegas announced on Monday that it has signed former Pro Bowl pass rusher Vic Beasley to the practice squad while claiming fellow former Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Takkarist McKinley off waivers.
Let’s break down both of these moves as the 6-4 Raiders look to rebound following a narrow loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
Related: NFL Week 12 schedule, predictions
Raiders news: Team signs Vic Beasley
From former NFL sack champ to the practice squad within less than a half decade. That’s the situation the 28-year-old Beasley finds himself in after suiting up in just five games for the Tennessee Titans earlier in the season. Tennessee moved on from Beasley in short fashion, mere months after signing him to a one-year, $9.5 million contract.
The No. 8 overall pick of Atlanta back in 2015, Beasley has fallen on hard times recently. In fact, his short tenure with Tennessee was defined by drama that held the former Pro Bowler out of a majority of training camp due to issues that are not yet known.
Vic Beasley stats
As noted above, this Clemson product has hit a rough patch in recent seasons. Still only 28 years old, there’s hope that he can turn things around in Las Vegas. However, the trajectory is not great.
- 2015: Five quarterback hits, four sacks
- 2016: 16 quarterback hits, 15.5 sacks
- 2017: Five quarterback hits, five sacks
- 2018: Eight quarterback hits, five sacks
- 2019: 12 quarterback hits, eight sacks
- 2020: Zero quarterback hits, zero sacks
As you can see, last season represented Beasley’s best performance since his sophomore campaign back in 2016. That’s what led to Tennessee giving him nearly $10 million in guaranteed cash during free agency this past March.
At the very least, this is a low-risk investment for a Raiders team in need of a pass rush. Las Vegas has recorded all of 11 sacks in 10 game this season despite boasting a 6-4 record.
Raiders news: Team claims Takkarist McKinley off waivers
There was some thought given to the idea that Atlanta might trade McKinley ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline. Nothing came to fruition on that end. Instead, the team decided to waive this former 26th overall pick after he opted to call the organization out publicly.
What has followed is something else.
The Cincinnati Bengals originally claimed McKinley off waivers ahead of Week 10, only to waive him with an injury designation.
The San Francisco 49ers then opted to claim this former UCLA star before also waiving him with an injury designation. McKinley is reportedly dealing with a groin injury.
On the field, his performance in the NFL has been uneven, at best. McKinley, 25, recorded 25 quarterback hits and 13 sacks in his first two seasons. Unfortunately, he’s tallied a split of 20 and 4.5 in the 18 games since.
It remains to be seen how long McKinley will be a member of the Raiders. The hope here is that he passes his physical. If so, the young man will have a few games to prove himself before hitting free agency in March.
Las Vegas is set to take on the Atlanta Falcons this coming Sunday. Wouldn’t it be something if both of these new additions are on the field against their former team?
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