HENDERSON, Nev. -- No doubt there's been a certain Patriot Way about the manner in which new Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels has built his coaching staff. Offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo followed McDaniels from New England to Southern Nevada. Same with offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was in New England from 2009-15.
So yeah, with Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler having cut his personnel teeth in New England and with the start of the NFL league year around the corner, it makes sense to look at which pending Patriots free agents could be potential targets for the Raiders' regime, right?
Right. A look, then, at six Patriots (one for each of McDaniels' Super Bowl rings with New England) who could be Raiders, in no particular order ...
Offensive lineman Ted Karras
What, not sexy enough? The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Karras doesn't have to be to fit into McDaniels' vision as a rock-solid anchor on the interior of the line who can play both guard spots, as well as center. Plus, with Bricillo replacing Tom Cable, the Raiders could appeal to Karras. And if last year's first-round draft pick, Alex Leatherwood, can move back to right tackle, Karras could slide into right guard.
Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon said Karras defined New England's "toughness" last year, and what coach trying to instill his own culture wouldn't want that on his team? Plus, Karras, who turns 28 next week, would not break the bank.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer
Come on, seriously? And then some. But no, Hoyer wouldn't be Derek Carr's replacement -- he'd be more of a backup, someone to help Carr with the transition to McDaniels' offensive system. Hoyer, who turns 37 in October, is close with McDaniels but has also set up family roots in New England, so getting him to move cross country might take some convincing. But really, shy of say, Tom Brady and/or Jimmy Garoppolo, no other QB on the market knows McDaniels' system better than Hoyer.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson
OK, now we're talking. Except, with the heady contract Jackson is seeking and should receive, it's hard to see Ziegler and McDaniels paying that much of a premium given how they are just starting their own venture. Still, Jackson is one of the most intriguing free agents in this year's class. His 25 career interceptions, including eight last season, since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Maryland in 2018 are tied with Lester Hayes and Everson Walls for the most by any player in his first four seasons (since 1970).
Jackson, 26, was a Pro Bowler and a second-team All-Pro selection last season. With 32-year-old Casey Hayward Jr. also a free agent and Trayvon Mullen Jr. limited to five games due to injury, Jackson would no doubt solidify the position in Las Vegas. But at what price?
Safety Devin McCourty
Yes, the Raiders have a cornerstone free safety in Tre'von Moehrig, last year's second-round pick. And strong safety Johnathan Abram is coming back from a season-ending shoulder injury. The 5-10, 195-pound McCourty, who has 31 career interceptions, is not a safety you want in the box, but he can play multiple spots and while Graham's base defense has 3-4 tendencies, nickel is all the rage. And McCourty, who turns 35 in August and has only known New England since the Patriots drafted him in the first round out of Rutgers in 2010, is a culture guy, no doubt.
He has been a team captain in each of the past 11 seasons and has started all 188 regular-season games in which he's played. He's also started 24 playoff games, tied for fourth-most in NFL history behind Brady (47), Jerry Rice (29) and Peyton Manning (27). McCourty has also played an NFL-high 11,446 snaps since 2010. Locker room culture matters, especially for a new regime, and he could be a fit at the right price.
Running back James White
The quintessential third-down pass-catching back ... if McDaniels is more comfortable going with a 30-year-old coming off a season-ending hip injury than re-signing 28-year-old Jalen Richard. The 5-10, 205-pound White, who was part of the Patriots' All-Dynasty and 2010s All-Decade Team, set single-season franchise records by a running back with 87 catches for 751 yards in 2018 and also holds three single-game Super Bowl records -- receptions (14), most points scored (20) and most touchdowns (three) -- all set against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. A vet minimum deal might do the trick should the Raiders go with White over, say, Richard.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower
The Raiders already have an alpha middle linebacker in Pro Bowler Denzel Perryman, but might they be in the market for another, given Graham's new scheme? The 6-3, 260-pound Hightower turns 32 next week and is versatile enough to play both on and off the line of scrimmage. But you have to wonder if McDaniels would prefer Graham employ a more sleek and athletic multiple defense that would make Hightower's skillset obsolete.
And one more ... for kicks and giggles.
Right tackle Trent Brown
Don't laugh, or dry heave. Brown got the payday he wanted from the Raiders back in 2019 and did not live up to the contract -- he played in 16 of 32 games for the Raiders -- and got himself traded back to New England. Good riddance, said most of Raider Nation. But when the 6-8, 380-pound Brown is motivated, there is no right tackle in the game more dominant.
Thing is, that rarely happened. Even in New England last year he missed eight games after injuring a calf in the opener and kinda, sorta crawled to the finish. But what if Brown, 29, was motivated enough to play right tackle for the Raiders, keeping Leatherwood inside. Imagine the possibilities. Nah, never mind. Commence laughing, or otherwise.