The Oakland Raiders need help along the defensive line and the Kansas City Chiefs released Jaye Howard. Should the Raiders be interested in him?
The Oakland Raiders should keep a close eye on the waiver wire. On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs released defensive lineman Jaye Howard, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Chiefs have released Jaye Howard, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 22, 2017
Recently, the Raiders brought in another 300-pound defensive lineman, Ego Ferguson, for a workout, per Pro Football Talk:
Raiders worked out DT Ego Ferguson today per source.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 12, 2017
During the annual meetings in Phoenix, head coach Jack Del Rio spoke about adding another asset on the defensive line, per San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vic Tafur:
Del Rio always talks about trenches. I said defense hasn’t done much. He said he’s confident in Ward, Edwards and Autry, may add a piece
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 28, 2017
Clearly, the Raiders have their eyes on improving the run defense. The front office also has options in addressing the issue. General manager Reggie McKenzie can select from a talent-rich group of interior linemen through the upcoming draft.
On the other hand, the Raiders executive could do his due diligence in engaging with Howard, who’s coming off an eight-game season due to a hip injury. The former Kansas City Chief racked up 5.5 sacks during the 2015 campaign, which helped him earn a two-year, $10 million contract, per Spotrac. He started 14 games in that year — the most in any single season of his career.
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Overall, his sack numbers don’t look impressive, but he’s been a solid piece to the Chiefs run defense over the past few seasons. For that reason alone, the Raiders should at least consider him as a rotational defensive lineman. On a one-year prove-it contract, he’d have to put together a solid year for a bigger payout.
Last year, Oakland dipped into the Chiefs defense when signing cornerback Sean Smith to a four-year, $38 million deal, per Spotrac. Thus far, the 29-year-old cornerback has left much to be desired, but his underwhelming first-year performance shouldn’t discourage McKenzie from courting a potential asset from a division rival.
Of course, Howard’s hip injury will be the biggest concern. Nonetheless, if he checks out medically, Oakland may find a cheap way to instantly upgrade the defensive line with a player who’s a decent run defender and may explode in the sack category in a contract year.
According to Spotrac, Oakland holds the fifth-most in cap space at $31.6 million. Still, the team intends to pay quarterback Derek Carr shortly after the draft, per Tafur:
Reggie McKenzie: “I feel good” about getting Derek Carr extension done before training camp. #Raiders
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 21, 2017
Offensive guard Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack will also earn extensions in the near future, per NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Scott Bair.
If Howard dons silver and black, it’ll come on the cheap. As mentioned, a one-year deal would instill immediate incentive for a shot at the free-agent market in 2018. A two-year pact without dead money owed in the second year gives the team an out if he underperforms in his first season.