The Las Vegas Raiders appeared to be on their way to brighter days entering the 2022 season. But just like a night at the casino, things changed quickly for Las Vegas, as the team endured a disappointing season under first-year head coach Josh McDaniels.
The Raiders finished an ugly 6-11, but nine of their losses came in one-score games. Given how they were in nearly every game, it's not a stretch to believe they will be back in the playoffs in 2023 if they make the necessary changes this offseason. Las Vegas has a decent starting point with several talented players -- specifically Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Maxx Crosby -- already on the roster.
Speaking of that, here are the three things the Raiders can do to fix the issues that plagued them in 2022, starting with the most important position in sports.
Sign Tom Brady
Tom Brady is the face of one of the most famous losses in Raiders history, so it would be an incredible twist of fate to see the seven-time champion wearing silver and black during what would likely be his final act.
Why would Brady join a team that's coming off such a rough season? For starters, he would be reunited with McDaniels, whom he won six Super Bowl with in New England. McDaniels knows Brady better than anyone, so it's safe to say that he would put Brady in an offense that would be geared toward his strengths and preferences.
Similar to his arrival in Tampa, Brady would get a chance to play with two of the best players at their position in Vegas in Adams and tight end Darren Waller. Brady would also have one of the best slot receivers at his disposal in Hunter Renfrow.
There's already enough in Las Vegas to possibly lure Brady there. But the Raiders would be wise to make immediate changes in order to further entice Brady to come to the desert. Which brings us to the next thing the Raiders need to do this offseason.
Re-sign Josh Jacobs
Don't overcomplicate this, Raiders. Jacobs is one of the NFL's best running backs who this season became the second player in franchise history to win an NFL rushing title. He wants to stay in Las Vegas despite the Raiders declining to pick up his fifth-year option last offseason. Las Vegas should make the layup and keep Jacobs in silver in black. In doing so, not only would they keep one of the league's best backs, it may be enough to lure a top-rated quarterback (cough, Brady).
While the position has been labeled as a disposable one, Jacobs showed last year that he is a special player. Despite teams gearing up to stop him, Jacobs rushed for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. He also caught 50 passes while clearing 2,000 all-purpose yards. At 24, Jacobs' prime years should still be ahead of him.
Jacobs' 2022 rushing total is second to only Marcus Allen's 1985 season as the greatest single rushing season in franchise history. The Raiders infamously mistreated Allen before ultimately having a messy divorce with the future Hall of Fame running back. They should avoid making the same mistake with Jacobs now.
Bolster the pass rush
Take Maxx Crosby's 12.5 sacks away, and the Raiders tallied just 14.5 takedowns this season. Chandler Jones was the only other Raider who had more than two sacks. That's obviously not good, especially for a team that plays inside a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
Acquiring a veteran like Jadeveon Clowney would be a start, but the Raiders would be wise to bring in several talented pass rushers. A possible option in April's draft is Kansas State's Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who is currently slated as a Day Two draft pick. Anudike-Uzomah recorded 25.5 sacks during his final two seasons with the Wildcats.