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2023 NFL free agency: Five teams that most need to make major moves

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We know, we know. The Raiders produced a couple of blockbuster deals last offseason, when they traded for wide receiver Davante Adams and signed edge rusher Chandler Jones. What are the odds they’d be just as aggressive for a second straight offseason? The simple answer is this: They have no other choice. After deciding Derek Carr was no longer the right quarterback for the franchise, Las Vegas has to find somebody to stick under center next season. Drafting and developing somebody doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense, given that the Raiders will be living in the same NFC West as Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes for at least the rest of the decade, while Justin Herbert is an undeniable talent for the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver just hired Sean Payton to fix quarterback Russell Wilson. The Raiders aren’t doing anything in this division until they find somebody who can compete with all that. There are still reports they would be interested in trading for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, but signing free agent Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn’t be a bad Plan B. He worked with second-year head coach Josh McDaniels during their time together in New England, and he showed in San Francisco he’s a proven winner when he can stay healthy. 

Aside from quarterback, Las Vegas has to determine how to deal with a defense that was one of the worst in the league, ranking 28th overall and 26th in scoring. Jones, a four-time Pro Bowler, didn’t live up to the contract he signed last season, but Maxx Crosby, fresh off signing a lucrative four-year extension last season, remains one of the best edge rushers in the business. Where the Raiders really need to improve is at linebacker and in the secondary. The defense generated a league-low 13 takeaways in 2022, and it’s only produced 12 interceptions over the last two years (also worst in the league). The team needs players who can force fumbles and pick off passes. It wouldn’t be surprising if linebackers like Lavonte David of the Bucs and Bobby Wagner of the Rams or safeties like the Bengals’ Jessie Bates, the Eagles’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson or the Bills’ Jordan Poyer are on Las Vegas’ radar — as well as a trade prospect like Rams CB Jalen Ramsey. The Raiders have the fifth-most projected salary cap space in the league (roughly $39 million, per Over the Cap). They have some in-house business to address — specifically, how to work out a deal with franchise-tagged running back Josh Jacobs — but they had better be ready to make some more power moves.

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