Raiders’ extension of Maxx Crosby sends right message

Raiders' extension of Maxx Crosby sends right message

On Friday, the Las Vegas Raiders gave edge rusher Maxx Crosby a four-year extension, and it’s a smart move for the new front office.

Dave Ziegler hasn’t been the Las Vegas Raiders’ general manager for two months yet. He’s already making a big impact.

Before the weekend began, Ziegler signed Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby to a four-year extension worth $98.98 million, including $53 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network. The contract comes on the second anniversary of Crosby becoming sober.

Today Is A Special Day… 2 Years Sober🦅🖤 pic.twitter.com/FbBoIjTH4g

— 🦅MaddMaxx🦅 (@CrosbyMaxx) March 11, 2022

Crosby is coming off the best year of his career, notching 108 pressures to lead the league, joining Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt as the only players to amass 100 pressures in a single season over the past 15 years, per Pro Football Focus.

Only 24 years old, Crosby has gone from Day 3 pick to premier pass-rusher. In three years with the Raiders, Crosby has 25 sacks, showcasing abilities that should peak throughout the life of his extension.

While this is obviously a life-changing moment for Crosby, it’s a course-setting one for Ziegler.

The Raiders have long been adrift as a franchise. They are without a playoff win since 2002 and the AFC West is only getting more difficult with Russell Wilson being traded to the Denver Broncos this offseason. If Las Vegas is going to compete with three teams who have superior quarterbacks in its own division, Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels need to be perfect in their execution of both free agency and the draft.

By making Crosby’s extension the first big move of his tenure, Ziegler sends a strong message: perform here, and get paid here. For decades, the Raiders have spent lavishly on those outside the organization only to have one free-agent flop after the next. Crosby is home-grown and now is the highest-paid player in the building not named Derek Carr. It’s a positive step for a franchise that, despite a playoff appearance last season, needs many more.

In the next week, Las Vegas has roughly $18 million at its disposal in free agency before the NFL Draft on April 28. What Ziegler does to build around Crosby on the defensive side could well determine whether the Raiders enjoy a second straight postseason berth or backslide with tougher competition and a second-place schedule to deal with.

There’s plenty that remains unknown for the Raiders and their new GM, but the first move was the right one.

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Author: Lucas Carlson