HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Las Vegas Raiders have 27 unrestricted free agents about to hit the market, tied for the second-most in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, two fewer than the Arizona Cardinals.
Las Vegas, which went 6-11 under the new management of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels last season, also has more than $43.9 million in salary cap space, third-most in the league. So while the Raiders will be active with other teams' UFAs when the negotiating window opens at noon ET on March 13 before the start of the new league year March 15, they also have to take care of their own.
"We have kind of a major order of business with this current group," Ziegler said at the combine.
Consider: Las Vegas has so many UFAs, there's one at every position group. A look, then, at the most intriguing ...
RB Josh Jacobs
Silver and Black: Jacobs, the first Raiders running back to lead the league in rushing yards (1,653) and yards from scrimmage (2,053) since Marcus Allen in 1985, will be slapped with a franchise tag, all but ensuring his return. And that's a good thing, right? After all, he said he wanted to return to Las Vegas, and the Raiders wanted him. But, as Jacobs said, it "has to make sense."
Jacobs set McDaniels' running back-by-committee philosophy on its ear with his breakout season and would have preferred a long-term deal, rather than being tagged, and seemingly earned that distinction after having his fifth-year option bypassed by McDaniels and Ziegler last offseason. They have until mid-July to reach a long-term deal. Stay tuned.
Silver and Blecch: Slapping that one-year, $10.091 million franchise tag for running backs on Jacobs would seemingly settle things down for a few months. But the Raiders would run the risk of having a discontented All-Pro back if they don't reach a long-term deal. And as hard as Jacobs ran last year, it also took a physical toll. Running backs take as hard of a beating as any position in the league and there's a reason their shelf lives are relatively short.
QB Jarrett Stidham
Silver and Black: In what might be the most practical -- albeit not the sexiest -- move, the Raiders could re-sign Stidham, who shredded the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense in his first-ever NFL start. Then they could take a shot on a QB in the middle rounds of the draft and go heavy on defense with the rest of their projected 11 picks. Stidham looked more comfortable in McDaniels' offense in two starts than Derek Carr did in 15 games. And for good reason -- it's the only system Stidham has known since entering the NFL in 2019.
Silver and Blecch: Sure, Stidham won over the locker room in general, All-Pro receiver Davante Adams in particular, with his tough play against the Niners. But there was no game tape on him for San Francisco to prep for, either. And after two games, Stidham had almost as many INTs (3) as TDs (4). Stidham showed he is more than a capable backup in McDaniels' system, but Raiders owner Mark Davis might prefer a splashier option at the most important position in team sports.
OL Jermaine Eluemunor
Silver and Black: Eluemunor was a constant on the Raiders offensive line, starting 15 games at right tackle, one game at left tackle and one game at right guard. There is value in his experience in McDaniels' system, as he allowed just three sacks. Bringing him back as a swing option, given his versatility, seems more than sensible.
Silver and Blecch: As consistent a presence as Eluemunor was, he was flagged for 10 penalties. The Raiders might prefer a plug-and-play first-round pick at right tackle (Ohio State's Paris Johnson Jr.? Northwestern's Peter Skoronski?), which would open up the possibility of Eluemunor moving inside to right guard, as Alex Bars is also a free agent.
TE Foster Moreau
Silver and Black: Moreau took advantage of Darren Waller's unavailability, with career highs in starts (14), catches (33) and receiving yards (420). Moreau has also been a prized member of the Raiders special teams since being drafted in 2019 and is considered a team leader in the locker room.
Silver and Blecch: While Moreau had career highs in catches and yards, his two TD catches were tied for a career low. And while he had the trust of Carr, the Raiders are obviously on the lookout for a new QB. Plus, ball security concerns and a deep tight end draft class beckons.
WR Mack Hollins
Silver and Black: Hollins, a career complementary piece, became one of Carr's favorite targets last season, with his career highs in catches (57), receiving yards (690) and receiving TDs (4), all ranking second on the Raiders. All while being one of the most feared special teams "gunners" in the league and punter AJ Cole's best friend by downing kicks near the goal line. A true locker room "glue guy" for the Raiders, to boot.
Silver and Blecch: No disrespect to Hollins, but if he's second in so many receiving categories on a team with Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, something's wrong. And there was, with those two former Pro Bowlers missing so much time to injury last year. Hollins deserves a bump in pay, but his production probably goes down with healthy seasons from Waller and Renfrow.
DL Clelin Ferrell
Silver and Black: Look, it's not Ferrell's fault the Raiders reached in taking him at No. 4 overall in 2019. They needed an edge rusher and he was the second-ranked guy at the position on their board when it came time to pick. He has had stretches of being a solid complementary side piece to Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby, who was taken 102 picks after Ferrell in that draft, but to return, his new contract would likely not resemble anything like that of a former first-rounder.
Silver and Blecch: Ferrell started 26 games in his first two seasons. He has started four since, all last year. And 4.5 of his 10.0 career sacks came as a rookie. He has been a solid special teams player, but that's not why the former regime of GM Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden took him so high.
LB Denzel Perryman
Silver and Black: Perryman, acquired in a late-training camp trade in 2021, has been a steadying influence for a notoriously unsteady unit. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2021 and has had 11 games with at least 10 tackles since joining the Raiders, tied for 10th in the NFL over the past two seasons. He entered last season wanting a new contract and Las Vegas has four other free agents at linebacker.
Silver and Blecch: The injury bug that took so many bites out of him earlier in his career finally got him in a Christmas Eve loss at Pittsburgh, with a left shoulder injury ending his season. In all, he missed five games in 2022 and while he did have a sack and two INTs, his 83 tackles were 71 fewer than a year earlier.
CB Rock Ya-Sin
Silver and Black: Ya-Sin, acquired in a trade with the Colts for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, showed flashes of being that physical shutdown cornerback the franchise has long wanted. His seven passes defensed were the second-highest total of his four-year career and he also had 45 tackles (37 solo) with the first QB hit of his career. Bringing him back for a second consecutive season in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's system wouldn't be the worst idea.
Silver and Blecch: If the best ability is availability, the 11 games Ya-Sin played in were a career low and he ended the season on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in Week 13. He did not have an interception for the second straight season, either.
S Duron Harmon
Silver and Black: Harmon's two INTs, including a 73-yard pick-six, were tied for the team lead, and his 86 tackles were a career high as he also had five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Beyond that, Harmon started 16 games and settled down the secondary after the release of former first-rounder Johnathan Abram.
Silver and Blecch: Solid if not spectacular, Harmon turned 32 on Jan. 24 and has played for four different teams over the past four years. Might he have finally found a home after spending the first seven years of his career in New England? Harmon also gave up 21 catches on 25 targets as the nearest defender.
And ... the 19 other Raiders UFAs, in no particular order: RB Ameer Abdullah, FB Jakob Johnson, WR Keelan Cole, OL Brandon Parker, OL Alex Bars, OL Jackson Barton, OL Hroniss Grasu, DE Tashawn Bower, DE Jerry Tillery, DE Isaac Rochell, DT Andrew Billings, DT Kyle Peko, LB Jayon Brown, LB Micah Kiser, LB Jordan Jenkins, LB Harvey Langi, CB Anthony Averett, CB Sidney Jones IV, S Matthias Farley.