3 Stars the Raiders Should Target With New Cap Space

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL has set team salary caps at $182.5 million for 2021. That's down from $198.5 million last year, and leaves the Las Vegas Raiders with $40.8 million in salary cap space, per Spotrac. That's among the six highest teams with money to maneuver as the Raiders look to add free agents and other players to improve the roster.

The Raiders just traded massive offensive tackle to the New England Patriots. The deal will be completed after the start of the new league year on March 17. Releasing Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, CB Lamarcus Joyner and Guards Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson gives the Raiders nearly $30 million in cap space according to the calculator provided by OverTheCap.com.

Backup quarterback Marcus Mariotta is still on the Raiders roster, but the Raiders could add significantly more space if Mariota becomes a veteran who could be a cap casualty cut.

So the Raiders are going to be very active in free agency, and time will tell if they make better financial decisions and bring in more productive players. With that in mind, here are 3 Stars the Raiders Should Target With New Cap Space

3. Joe Thuney, G

Raiders QB Derek Car had his finest season in 2020, and RB Josh Jacobs was a second-year Pro Bowler. The release of non-productive offensive linemen means the Raiders will attack along the line in free agency. Joe Thuney proved himself one of the most reliable offensive linemen in all of football. He helped the New England Patriots win Super Bowls while playing all 90 games the past five seasons. He's been highly productive as one of the best run-blockers, and he gave up just 12.5 quarterback disruptions all year long. Thuney had the franchise tag placed on him a year ago, but the 29 year old is now a top free-agent target who could hit the jackpot in Las Vegas.

2. Trent Williams, OT

Trent Williams is a most coveted free agent, and the 33-year-old will be expensive. But the Raiders have the money if they want to swing for the fences on a premier offensive tackle who re-establishing himself as one of the league's best at his position in 2020. Williams had the highest overall production grade (91.9) at his position in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus. He also ranked as the best run blocker.

1. Yannick Ngakoue, DE

The Raiders' biggest needs are on improving its poor defense. They need pass rusher help, a run stopper, and would love to find a true centerfielder at free safety. Yannick Ngakoue would solve one of their needs, and it will require near a $15 million per year investment. Ngakoue played for the Vikings and Ravens in 2020, and had 8 sacks. He's been an ascending player since he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played under new Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Ngakoue makes sense as an addition that fits Bradley’s scheme and can produce.

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