Raiders 2024 free agency tracker: Offseason moves, signings

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Monday, April 15, 2024

NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2024 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The new league year began at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which means free agent signings can be made official after that. The first round of the 2024 NFL draft begins April 25 on ESPN.

Here's a breakdown of every 2024 NFL free agent signing by the Las Vegas Raidersand how each will impact the upcoming season:

Christian Wilkins, DT

Wilkins agreed to a four-year, $110 million deal with $84.75 million guaranteed to leave the Dolphins for the Raiders.

What it means: Raiders Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby has a new best friend on the interior. Wilkins is coming off a career-best nine sacks and 23 QB hits, so his disruption from the inside will only free up Crosby, who had a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2023, for even more opportunities to wreak havoc. Especially in a division with Chiefs quarterbackPatrick Mahomes. Throw in continued growth from DE Malcolm Koonce, who had eight sacks, and last year's first-round pick Tyree Wilson, who also played on the inside, and the Raiders' pass rush suddenly looks more than dangerous.

What's the risk: More bodies are needed on the interior of the Raiders' D-line, what with three defensive tackles hitting free agency in starters Bilal Nichols and John Jenkins and top backupAdam Butler, who was the most productive of the trio with 5.0 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Wilkins is an upgrade on the D-line but the Raiders need to continue adding pieces, be it in free agency or the draft. And while Wilkins' sacks went up last year, his tackles went down, from 89 and 98 in 2021 and 2022, respectively, to 65 last season.

Gardner Minshew, QB

The Raiders will sign Minshew to a two-year, $25 million deal with $15 million guaranteed.

What it means: The Raiders checked that vet-QB-with-starting-experience-to-compete-with-Aidan O'Connell box and all but took themselves out of the running for a Justin Fields trade by signing Minshew. But that doesn't mean Las Vegas won't still try to trade up in the draft from No. 13 to acquire the likes of LSU's Jayden Daniels. While O'Connell has more experience in the Raiders locker room, Minshew is more mobile and, thus, can extend plays better than O'Connell. Minshew may be more of a "Band-Aid" than O'Connell at this stage of his career, but the 27-year-old Minshew, with 38 more career games played, is only two years older than last-year's fourth-round rookie.

What's the risk: What if the Raiders can't get their desired QB in the draft? Is Minshew really that much of an upgrade over O'Connell? Minshew only has 15 career wins, but two came against the Raiders, one in the franchise's final game in Oakland and the other last year. Speaking of which, some locker-room feelings may have to be ironed out because it was in that New Year's Eve game in Indianapolis when Raiders Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby took umbrage with Minshew not taking his hand to help him up after a play, calling him a "little-ass boy" and harassing him the rest of the game.

Alexander Mattison, RB

The Raiders have signed the former Vikings running back.

What it means: Mattison joins presumptive starter Zamir White in the Raiders offensive backfield and, with 19 career starts, is the second-most seasoned RB in Las Vegas behind special teamer Ameer Abdullah, who has started 23 games in his nine-year career. Las Vegas is remaking its running back room after former All-Pro Josh Jacobs left for Green Bay in free agency. Mattison, a third-round pick in the same draft the Raiders drafted Jacobs, rushed for a career-high 700 yards last season while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also had a career-best three touchdown catches. Jacobs never had a TD reception with the Raiders.

What's the risk: Mattison has yet to establish himself as an every-down back, despite the Vikings giving him every opportunity to do so. Meanwhile, White performed admirably in four starts with Jacobs out to close last season, rushing for 397 yards and a TD while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. They are both power-type between-the-tackles backs not known for breakaway speed. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy authored the Nos. 1 and 2 rushing attacks in the NFL the last two season with Chicago, so you'd think he'd want a little more versatility, maybe?

Adam Butler, DT

What it means: New general manager Tom Telesco was impressed enough from afar of Butler's strong finish to the season that he saw enough value in returning him to the fold on a one-year deal to pair with premier free-agent signee Christian Wilkins. Three of Butler's five sacks came in the Raiders' final three games as he came off the bench all season, though he played in all 17 games. Despite being a backup, Butler was a more effective interior defender than starters, Nichols and Jenkins,with a career-high nine QB hits.

What's the risk: Is Butler the new starter next to Wilkins, with whom he was teammates in Miami in 2021? Butler has only started one game since the end of the 2020 season and sat out the entire 2022 season. The other DTs on the roster -- Byron Young, Matthew Butler, Nesta Jade Silvera, Marquan McCall -- have a combined 32 games played, with no starts. There's not a lot of starting experience at DT on the roster. Young was a third-round pick who only played in six games as a rookie last season while Matthew Butler was a fifth-rounder in 2022 who has played in eight total games. Silvera, a seventh-round pick last year, got in two games.

Andre James, C

The Raiders re-signed James, who has been their starting center for the past three seasons, to a contract. Terms were undisclosed.

What it means: The Raiders like what they have in James, a converted tackle who signed a two-year, $8.65 million extension with $4 million guaranteed in 2022. He has been as intriguing as he has been solid since replacing three-time Pro Bowler Rodney Hudson in 2021. James has started 48 of 51 games since -- he missed two games last season with an ankle injury, one with a concussion in 2022 -- and his return also means three of the Raiders' five starting O-linemen are under contract, with left tackle Kolton Miller and left guard Dylan Parham signed and right guard Greg Van Roten and right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor still unsigned.

What's the risk: Little, if the goal is to maintain continuity. Consider: James played 929 snaps last season and was flagged for just two penalties, a hold and a false start, while boasting a 96.5% pass block win rate in getting charged with seven sacks surrendered. James also had a 70.1% run block win rate.

Cody Whitehair, G

The Raiders signed the veteran lineman to a one-year deal.

What it means: Whitehair followed his old offensive coordinator Luke Getsy from Chicago to Las Vegas, which has an opening at right guard. A plug-and-play veteran who is intimately familiar with Getsy's scheme, right? Seems like it. And if so, the Raiders are set with four of five starters on the offensive line with LT Kolton Miller, LG Dylan Parham, C Andre James and Whitehair. Using an early draft pick on a right tackle could net the fifth starter, unless Thayer Munford Jr. is the guy there. Whitehair made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has played in 124 career games, starting 118 of them.

What's the risk: While Whitehair has played in Getsy's scheme and has eight years worth of NFL experience, he has started only three games at right guard. He has started 61 times at center and 54 games at left guard. Plus, after being moved to center in Week 6 last season, he was benched after several errant snaps and started just 11 games, a career low. If the Raiders put Whitehair at left guard, that would mean a switch to the right side for Parham, and another learning curve for the offensive line.

John Jenkins, DT

The Raiders agreed to re-sign the veteran to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million.

What it means: By bringing back not only Jenkins, who started all 17 games last season, but pass-rushing Butler to pair with Wilkins on the interior, the Raiders are putting an emphasis on getting push from the defensive line. Still, the 6-3, 327-pound Jenkins is more of a space-eater in middle as a nose tackle on run defense -- he had a career-high 61 tackles last year -- but he also had a sack and a memorable 44-yard scoop-and-score fumble recovery against the Chargers. Jenkins should start next to Wilkins, with Maxx Crosby and Malcolm Koonce on the edges.

What's the risk: Little, unless you want to make age an issue? Jenkins, who turns 35 in July, is entering his 12th season. So you have to wonder how much tread he has left on his tires. Still, while he has played in 133 regular season games for the Saints, Seahawks, Bears, Giants, Dolphins, Bears again, Dolphins again and the Raiders, the well-traveled Jenkins has only started 47 games. He looked reinvigorated last season but Father Time, like Mother Nature, is undefeated, no? As always, stay tuned.

Harrison Bryant, TE

The Raiders agreed to a one-year deal with the former Browns tight end worth $3.25 million, with a max value of $4 million.

What it means: Bryant replaces veteran Austin Hooper, who is headed to the Patriots, to provide a physical presence while being a backup to second-year TE Michael Mayer. Bryant, a fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2020, has started 30 of the 65 games in which he's played and has caught 89 passes for 791 yards and 10 TDs in his career, mostly as a backup to Pro Bowler David Njoku. Bryant had a 6-yard TD catch against the Raiders on Dec. 20, 2021, that gave the Browns a late 14-13 lead. He had at least three TD catches in three of his four seasons.

What's the risk: Mayer, a second-round draft pick in 2023, missed the Raiders' final three games and ended the season on injured reserve with a toe injury. So if it lingers, is Bryant the guy? While he played all 17 games last season, starting nine, Bryant had just 13 catches for 81 yards and four first downs, all career-lows. Mayer, meanwhile, had 27 catches for 304 yards and 19 first downs. New Raiders offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who said he was looking forward to working with Mayer, would have to scramble if Bryant was the starter, meaning something went horribly wrong with Mayer.

Ameer Abdullah, RB

The Raiders will re-sign Abdullah, who served as a backup running back and key special-teamer. Terms were not disclosed.

What it means: Third-and-Abdullah isn't just an ironic and trendy hashtag, plus, the Raiders value his versatility. Because while his stats last season -- 15 carries for 89 yards, 19 catches for 131 yards -- don't jump off the page, he is one of only 10 Raiders to play in all 34 games the last two seasons combined. And his value on special teams, both as a returner (he returned 26 kickoffs for 543 yards in 2022) and as a gunner (20 combined tackles the past two season) is, well, invaluable.

What's the risk: None, unless the Raiders plan on making the 5-9, 203-pounder who turns 31 on June 13, a feature back. And that's not gonna happen, no matter what goes down with Josh Jacobs. Abdullah is a key special teams and solid locker room guy who dabbles in catching passes out of backfield by necessity. So unless the Raiders have designs on a different role for him and his "Tekken" double-kick/twirl kick TD celebration, which earned him a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for making contact with an opposing player at Seattle two years ago, there is little to no risk in bringing Abdullah back.

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