Today Quinnen Williams became that latest pocket crashing defensive tackle to cash in with a big time extension.
This offseason alone has seen massive paydays for some dominant interior defensive linemen. Williams is merely the most recent. Here’s the full list:
Quinnen Williams: four-year, $96 million
Jeffery Simmons: four-year, $94 million
Daron Payne: four-year, $90 million
Dexter Lawrence: four-year $90 million
Javon Hargrave: four-year, $84 million
Ed Oliver: four-year, $68 million
Others expected to get the bag this offseason include Chris Jones, Christian Wilkins, and DJ Reader.
That would be nine defensive tackles getting major money. And it shows how much the NFL values dominant defensive tackles.
Then there’s the Raiders…
When’s the last time you saw the Raiders place much of any real value on the defensive tackle spot? The closest you will see these days is picking through the free agent scrap heap. Something they didn’t even do this offseason, sticking with the latest underachievers in Bilal Nichols and Jerry Tillery.
Five of the defensive tackles who either have received a big new deals or who are about to get one were selected in the first round of the 2019 draft — Williams, Simmons, Lawrence, Oliver, and Wilkins.
All but Williams were on the board when the Raiders wasted their fourth overall pick on Clelin Ferrell.
On that note, does anyone remember the last time the Raiders spent a first round pick on a defensive tackle? That would be 1997 when they selected Darrell Russell at number two overall. That’s 26 years, folks.
Since then the highest Raiders drafted DT’s to play for the team have been second rounders PJ Hall (57 overall) in 2018 and Lamarr Houston (44 overall) in 2010.
That means the last time the Raiders made a big investment of any kind in a defensive tackle was 2009 when they acquired Richard Seymour in trade with the Patriots. They got 3.5 years out of him before he hung up his cleats in 2012.
That’s more than a decade I’ve been screaming from the rooftops that the Raiders needed to make the interior defensive line a priority and they simply have not.
The best defensive tackles they had the past ten years was the group they fielded in 2021, when they took fliers on a bunch of castoffs and got lucky with a couple of them. And wouldn’t you know it, they had their best overall defense (14th in yards allowed) in a decade and made the playoffs. Then they let all of them leave the following offseason. And back to the 28th ranked defense.
It’s as if dominant defensive tackles make a big difference in the play of a defense. Crazy, right?
Not sure what needs to be said to convince the Raiders of what the rest of the league seems to have already figured out.