The Oakland Raiders need help pressuring the quarterback, which is why they should make a play for Robert Quinn when he hits the market.
Given that the Oakland Raiders defense tallied a woeful 13 whole sacks last season – which was dead last by a long shot – it seems pretty fair, and completely obvious, to say that they need some help getting to the quarterback. A lot of help.
Although most of the attention is focused on the 2019 NFL Draft right now and names like Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell, Rashan Gary, and Josh Allen floating around out there in connection to the Silver and Black, we should also be keeping an eye on the veterans that hit the open market. Specifically, veterans that can help give this team some credibility or a semblance of a pass rush.
There are a lot of veterans already out there – or soon will be, at any rate – and one more name just popped up on the radar that should be perking the ears of general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden. Reports have new Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores cleaning house and one of the veteran victims of said house cleaning is defensive end Robert Quinn.
The longtime St. Louis/Los Angeles Ram and one-year Dolphin should absolutely merit some consideration from the Oakland brain trust given that he could potentially put some teeth into this defensive front and also serve as a key mentor to promising youngster Arden Key and whoever else they draft this year.
And make no mistake about it, even if they do have interest (and they should) in and are able to sign Quinn, they should still draft somebody to team with Quinn and Key on the edge.
Quinn, going into his ninth year in the league, would seem to tick a lot of the boxes Gruden likes – at 6-4, 257 pounds, he’s got good size. He’s got excellent speed and bend around the edge, and is relentless. He’s a grinder and we all know how much Gruden loves that. Quinn is also a veteran with a lot of success and experience on the field – something else Gruden loves.
With the Rams having to cut guys loose all over the place as they assembled a team of high-priced, high-powered mercenaries – who still came up short in the Super Bowl – the Dolphins were able to snag Quinn off their roster for a song and a dance.
And on a terrible Miami defense, the former fourteenth overall pick had a solid season in which he started every single game, notching 38 tackles (25 solo), a pair of forced fumbles, nine quarterback hits, and 6.5 sacks – or, you know, half the total number of sacks logged by the entire Raiders defense.
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Quinn’s pending release by Miami is likely a cost-cutting move, given that they’ll save close to $13 million dollars by sending him packing. And with the Raiders sitting on what could be a warchest of nearly $80 million once they start making their own cuts, they’ll have the money to sign him if they were so inclined (and again, they should be so inclined).
By all accounts, Quinn is a consummate professional, solid locker room guy, and terrific teammate. He’s a leader on defense and can be a tone setter. Over his eight seasons in the league, he’s averaging over eight sacks a year with a high of 19 back in 2013 – a run of three straight years of double digit sacks.
With the Raiders in desperate need of guys who can actually get to the quarterback and Quinn needing a new place to call home, the fit is an excellent one. But that fit goes beyond just that. He’s a veteran, but not one in the very twilight of his career. Quinn can still play and contribute at a very high level.
As an established player who has shown he can be dominant, he would lend instant credibility to a young defensive line anchored by Key, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall and the relatively young-ish Justin Ellis.
He would help shape and mold the young guys and help transform this defensive line into a competent one. Perhaps even a much better than average one – which would be a major step up from where they’ve been.
There are a lot of veteran names being bandied about right now but some of those edge rushers are going to be tagged by their existing teams, so expect that herd to be somewhat thinned. But with Quinn about to get his official walking papers from the Dolphins, the Raiders have as good of a shot as any team at landing his services.
Desperate for established pass rushing help, Mayock and Gruden would be nuts to not at least give Quinn a look-see. They should absolutely make a play for the veteran pass rusher.