Could Las Vegas be the winning ticket to the free agent jackpot?

Could Las Vegas be the winning ticket to the free agent jackpot?

Unlike past off-seasons under GM Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders should be much less active in trying to fill spots through free agency.  Overall the roster should remain very much in tact, but there are a few holes that the team will look to address with hopes it can push us over the top.  With two young franchise cornerstones to lock up soon, the Raiders will have some money to spend, but certainly not “Adam Jones in a strip club” type money.  Frequently teams in this type of situation turn to vet free agents, players who have value, but are interested in more than just fattening their bank account, they want that ring to put on their mantle before they retire.  When money becomes no object, bragging rights become king, and the Raiders could be that up-and-coming team that could deliver on that ultimate prize.

Enter Calais Campbell.

There is no need on the Raiders greater than a Defensive Tackle who can push the pocket.  Despite the DPOY in Khalil Mack, the Raiders were last in the league in sacks.  So many times, we were left shaking our heads as Mack and Irvin beat their man on the edge, only to see the QB take a few steps forward, buying enough time to lob a pass over the heads of our confused corners into the waiting arms of the WR (who had just smoked them on the deep route).

Campbell is the prototype for what Reggie McKenzie looks for in a lineman.  He’s as versatile as they get, having split time in both 3 tech and 5 tech.  We could use him inside in our 4-3 sets, or slide him outside when we switch up to 3-4 packages.  At 6’8, 285, Campbell is a freak, and despite his age (he’ll be 31 this year), is coming off an impressive campaign which included 8 sacks.  In most cases, a player on the wrong side of 30 is seen as a red flag, that’s the age when many players start to slow down, but this could be what gets him to the dark side.  Reggie is going to be looking for deals that don’t require a long term commitment of guaranteed money.

Here’s where useless trivia comes in handy:

Calais Campbell is an avid poker player, it’s one of his passions in life.  One of his desires is to be able to play poker more regularly.


“I think I’d be a lot better if I played more regularly. When I retire I plan to play a lot more,” he said.

Campbell made it clear that one of the things he’s looking forward to about retirement is the chance to play the WSOP Main Event.

“Those are two things on my bucket list, winning the Super Bowl trophy and winning the Main Event bracelet,” said Campbell.


Unless you live under a rock (aka Kansas City), you know that the Raiders filed to relocate to Las Vegas yesterday.  In all likely hood, that move will be granted in March, meaning the Raiders could be in Las Vegas by 2019, maybe even sooner depending on how the next few months shake out.  The odds always favor the house, and this situation could also be one that Las Vegas has on it’s side.

Skeptics will claim that the Raiders won’t be moving until 2019 at the earliest, but as I just wrote, we’re not quite sure if that’s how it plays out.  Lets say the worst case scenario (for a Las Vegas move) is 2020, Campbell would be 34 by then, not out of the realm of possibilities, Julius Peppers is 37.  If Campbell is sincere in his desire to play a lot more poker after he retires, than perhaps Las Vegas is a destination that appeals to him?  What better way to cement yourself into the community you plan to live in than playing for that NFL team?

Sure, I admit, I’m reaching a bit, I’d like to see Campbell put us over the hump and believe he could be that player who makes a difference.  He may not give a shit about poker or Las Vegas, or growing up in Denver, he could be a Broncos fan who’s not smart enough to even know where Las Vegas is on the map.  Throw all that aside, and of the available opportunities for a veteran DT to put a team over the top, none are better than the Raiders, regardless of whether you’re in Oakland or Las Vegas.

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