Raiders make huge splash signing linebacker Cory Littleton

Raiders, Cory Littleton (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Raiders, Cory Littleton (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly made their biggest free-agent splash of the offseason signing linebacker Cory Littleton to a three-year, $36 million deal.

The Las Vegas Raiders have officially completed their linebacker overhaul reportedly signing free-agent linebacker Cory Littleton to a three-year, $36 million contract.

The deal was first announced by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport who reported that the contract includes a base value of $11.75 million per year with an AAV of $12 million per season.

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This comes a day after the team reportedly signed veteran linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to a three-year, $21 million contract on Monday. Kwiatkoski was a worthwhile addition, but fans were clamoring for a more significant upgrade.

Cory Littleton is that upgrade.

The Washington product entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Rams back in 2016. After starting five games in his first two years, the Rams decided to make him a full-time starter ahead of the 2018 season.

And in two years as a starter, Littleton has developed into one of the best coverage linebackers in the entire NFL. His impressive play earned him Pro Bowl honors in 2018 and he followed that up with an equally impressive 2019.

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Littleton was Pro Football Focus‘ seventh-ranked linebacker, eighth-ranked coverage linebacker, and No. 1 ranked tackler among all defensive players. He’s been one of the best linebackers in football over the last two seasons — and now he’s finally getting paid like it.

The Spring Valley, CA native’s new deal makes him the seventh-highest-paid linebacker in the NFL 1 a well-deserved payday for one of the league’s fastest rising stars.

The Raiders have now revamped their linebacker core in two days and the hope is that they have finally solved their linebacker problem that’s been an issue for years.

Last offseason, the Raiders opted for the stop-gap approach signing veterans like Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall. Marshall would be released before the start of the season while Burfict would play in just four games before being suspended for the rest of the year.

The hope is that the Raiders’ two newest linebacker additions have a bit more staying power.

Kwiatkoski is more of a typical run-stopping linebacker who has plenty of special teams experience, but he was surprisingly effective in pass coverage last year.

But in Littleton, the Raiders have landed the top linebacker on the market and a true difference-maker on defense.

Next. Raiders: Initial grade for the Marcus Mariota signing. dark

It will be a new era of Raiders football in Vegas — and they now have a new leader patrolling the middle of the defense.