NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2020 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from Bill Barnwell. The new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, which means free-agent signings can be made official after that. The first round of the 2020 NFL draft begins April 23.
Damarious Randall, safety
What it means: Hours after the Raiders' deal with cornerback Eli Apple fell through, Randall provides depth and experience in the secondary, what with Randall playing safety the past two years in Cleveland after beginning his career as a cornerback in Green Bay. Plus, it is almost like the Raiders simply acquired Randall in a trade, as Karl Joseph signed with the Browns. Randall is the second safety the Raiders will have acquired, as Jeff Heath came to Las Vegas in the first wave of free agency and Johnathan Abram, a first-round pick last season at No. 27 overall, is returning from a shoulder injury that limited him to one game last season.
What's the risk: Sure, Randall has 14 career interceptions, with a pair of pick-sixes, but 10 of those came as a cornerback in Green Bay. He did have four picks in his first year as a safety in Cleveland but did not have a pick in 11 games last season after tying for the team lead the previous season. He also was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Steelers on Nov. 14 and was left home for a game at the Steelers on Dec. 1 for missing a practice.
Nelson Agholor, wide receiver
What it means: The Raiders have addressed their need at receiver, but lack a pure WR1. Agholor, who turns 27 on May 24, has flashed brightly at times for the Eagles since they drafted him in the first round out of USC in 2015. But he has been inconsistent. And then some. The Raiders already have a No. 2 wideout in Tyrell Williams and a steady slot guy in Hunter Renfrow so Agholor, who did his best work in Philadelphia out of the slot and who had nine catches for 84 yards in the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII upset of the Patriots, should add some depth, so long as he finds a cure for a case of the dropsies.
What's the risk: As mentioned earlier, Agholor has drop issues. His receptions per target rate of 56% ranked 132nd in the NFL, per ESPN Stats & Information. He had a particularly costly drop late in a Week 2 loss to the Falcons. In five seasons, he has 224 catches, on 375 targets, for 2,515 yards. His average of 11.2 yards per catch is lower than Williams (16.1) and Renfrow (12.3). And a knee injury sidelined Agholor in five of the Eagles’ last six games last season. Still, he does have a nose for the end zone with 18 career TDs, five fewer than Williams, who also entered the NFL in 2015.
Carl Nassib, defensive end
What it means: Nassib brings more than depth to the edge; he also brings, well, production. Nassib can play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme as well as outside linebacker in a 3-4 -- versatility is key in the Raiders’ defense -- and last year he had six sacks for the Buccaneers despite losing his starting gig to Jason Pierre-Paul in Week 9. In 2018, he had 6.5 sacks for Tampa Bay after becoming a starter midway through the season. Nassib, who turns 27 on April 12, also forced three fumbles in two seasons with the Buccaneers, who signed him following his being waived by the Browns in 2018 training camp.
What's the risk: The Raiders have a good thing going with their Salt-N-Pepa combination of Maxx Crosby (10 sacks) and Clelin Ferrell (4.5 sacks) as rookies, so why mess with that chemistry? Bringing Nassib aboard should not alter anything but make the pass rush stronger. Especially since the addition of a hybrid player like Nassib should allow Ferrell to focus solely on playing the edge as opposed to flipping inside, as he was forced to at times last season. Nassib, a team captain last season, did not fret when he was displaced by Pierre-Paul last season, but what if he wants to make more of an imprint than being used for depth?
Jeff Heath, safety
What it means: With Karl Joseph coming off a season-ending broken foot and hitting free agency and Johnathan Abram having played one game after suffering a shoulder injury in the opener, the Raiders need depth at safety. Heath also brings solid special teams play and will be a favorite of Raiders' special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who coached Heath in Dallas. Still, Heath is a starter, having started all 44 games he's played since 2017, getting four interceptions in that time. Known for his hustle, Heath is the guy who knocked the ball out of Derek Carr's hand at the goal line in 2017 in an infamous play.
What's the risk: Heath is coming off shoulder surgery and 2019 was the second time in his seven-year career he did not have an interception (he has eight in his career). Pairing him with Abram, who played in all of one game last year, would be risky in terms of health and relative lack of recent production, no? Heath, who turns 29 on May 14, has a lot of wear on his tires, having played 106 career regular-season games while playing hard and playing hurt. He missed three games last season, the most he's ever missed.
Maliek Collins, defensive tackle
The Raiders have signed defensive tackle Maliek Collins from the Cowboys.
What it means: The Raiders are addressing the need for an interior pass rush and Collins has more than pushed the pocket since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2016. Collins has 14.5 sacks in 55 games, playing both defensive tackle spots -- Raiders defensive tackles Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall have a combined nine sacks in 59 combined games. Plus, Collins had a career-high 30 pressures last season, along with his four sacks and a fumble recovery, despite being limited with foot and knee injuries. Veteran Johnathan Hankins is the fourth DT and if Las Vegas decides to ride with just three tackles, Hall might have just been given a warning.
What's the risk: Production has never been a problem for Collins, even while dealing with those foot and knee problems. But what if those injuries become more than bothersome? He has missed only three games in his career -- all in 2018 because of a sprained knee -- and as Raiders coach Jon Gruden likes to point out, availability is often a player's best ability. Reuniting with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who is the Raiders’ defensive line coach, has to be a positive, no?
Jason Witten, tight end
The Raiders have agreed to a one-year deal with long-time Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
What it means: The Raiders are adding invaluable experience to a position that was already one of strength after breakout seasons by Darren Waller (90 catches for 1,145 yards) and rookie Foster Moreau (5 TDs in 13 games). In Witten, the Raiders are gaining an 11-time Pro Bowler and 2-time first-team All-Pro who has caught 1,215 passes for 12,977 yards and 72 TDs since entering the NFL in 2003. Last year, after a one-year sabbatical as an analyst on Monday Night Football, Witten played 75.4% of Dallas' snaps and had 63 receptions for 529 yards and 4 TDs.
What's the risk: Witten turns 38 on May 6 ,and while he should improve the Raiders’ red-zone production -- his 51 red-zone TDs since 2003 are the fifth-most among tight ends in that time frame, per AP -- his main job should be as a blocking tight end. Is he up for that grunt work? As ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer noted, Witten believes he had one of his better blocking seasons in 2019 in mentoring Blake Jarwin. And also from AP, Witten's 8.4 yards per catch was the third-lowest average by a tight end with at least 60 catches in a season since the 1970 merger.
Cory Littleton, linebacker
The Raiders have agreed to a four-year deal with Littleton, who comes from the Rams.
What it means: The Raiders are serious about rebuilding their linebacking crops and Littleton, a playmaker Las Vegas desperately needed, shows that commitment. Littleton, who should be the sideline-to-sideline guy they need in the middle of their defense, doesn’t turn 27 until November. He has led the Rams in tackles in each of the last two seasons and also has six interceptions the last three years. Raiders linebackers have a total of five picks the last six seasons. And Littleton’s 26 passes defensed are the most by any linebacker in the NFL the past three seasons, per AP. Plus, he has 290 tackles, 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries with four blocked kicks on special teams in his career. Yeah, he’s active.
What's the risk: We’re looking at a complete overhaul of the Raiders linebackers and what if, say, Littleton, a Pro Bowl special teams player in 2018, and Nick Kwiatkoski, the former Bears linebacker who did not become a full-time starter until late last season the Raiders agreed to terms with a day earlier, simply don’t mesh? The Raiders have had issues covering tight ends seemingly since they returned to Oakland in 1995 and the hope is the additions of Little and Kwiatkoski address said issue. Otherwise, it will be more of the same for Las Vegas. Still, it was a risk worth taking. If it was a risk at all.
Now that Marcus Mariota has agreed to terms with the Raiders, the NFL Live crew questions what might happen to Derek Carr.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback
What it means: The Raiders are all-but-out of the Tom Brady sweepstakes (if they were ever truly in them) as Mariota is the more athletic, not-afraid-to-extend-a-play-with-his-legs QB coach Jon Gruden prefers. Mariota was GM Mike Mayock's top QB coming out of the draft in 2015 but will presumably be slotted as Derek Carr's backup, along with Nate Peterman.
What's the risk: What if Carr is unnerved by a former Heisman winner joining the Raiders QB room and Mariota, a Honolulu native, is more popular in Las Vegas, considered the ninth Hawaiian island? And what if Mariota bristles with the notion of being a backup after being a No. 2 overall pick? Surely Gruden and Mayock have had these discussions and believe Mariota will only make the Raiders QB room stronger, and that Carr will rise to the challenge.
Nick Kwiatkoski, linebacker
The Raiders agreed to a three-year deal with the former Chicago Bears linebacker.
What it means: The Raiders already had deep holes at linebacker before last week's release of Tahir Whitehead saved some $6.25 million in salary-cap space. The addition of Kwiatkoski is not the end-all move for the position, but it is a nice start for both team and player, who tweeted an illustration of the Raiders' Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to announce his agreement. Kwiatkoski is coming off a breakout season in which he had 76 tackles, three sacks, an interception and eight starts at inside linebacker.
What's the risk: This can't be it, can it? The Raiders can't be satisfied with adding only Kwiatkoski