The Las Vegas Raiders are paying big bucks to a few big names as they relocate to Nevada for the 2020 season, but all in all, they're still one of the NFL's youngest rosters and, thus, chockfull of rookie or close-to-minimum deals. So when it comes to identifying the biggest bargains on their roster, there are actually quite a few candidates who fit the bill.
Carr becoming the NFL's highest-paid QB in 2017 seems like ancient history now, but he still ranks 11th in terms of 2020 salary cap hits; his $21.5 million total tops guys like Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz. Carr may be a good/serviceable QB, but it'd be foolish to suggest Gruden would take him over those other signal-callers.
Mariota, meanwhile, has mostly been hailed as a smart addition to be Carr insurance, but his $9.125M cap hit isn't cheap. It ranks 20th among all QBs, ahead of starters like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's almost double what the Bears will pay Nick Foles ($5.3M) to compete with Mitchell Trubisky. It's more than three times as much as the Cowboys will pay Andy Dalton ($3M) to back up Dak Prescott, not to mention what the Browns are giving Case Keenum and the Saints are giving Jameis Winston.
That said, the Raiders do have their fair share of bargains, especially when you jump to the other side of the ball. Here are five of their best contracts going into 2020:
All cap figures are courtesy of Spotrac.
1. S Damarious Randall
2020 salary cap hit: $2.1 milion
Randall hasn't been the most reliable presence, apparently falling out of favor in both Cleveland and Green Bay and missing 14 games over the last four years. When he's on and healthy, however, he's a playmaker, with 14 interceptions and almost 50 pass deflections already under his belt. He's also got cornerback experience and is a sure bet to start most of the 2020 season opposite Jonathan Abram, who may need insurance of his own coming off a shoulder injury.
His $2.1M cap hit might seem standard for a potential starter, but consider he ranks 56th among 2020 safety salaries, including behind four other Raiders safeties. That's a bargain, regardless of whether Randall gives Vegas 12 or 14 or 16 games of playmaking in a secondary that needed a lot more of it in 2019.
2. DT Maliek Collins
2020 salary cap hit: $6.25 million
His departure from Dallas was the reason the Cowboys dipped into the aging D-line market to add Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. And make no mistake: While both of those DTs may have bigger names, the Raiders should be pleased they opted to pay Collins. His tackle totals have never been gaudy, but he's held his own against the run while flashing as an ascending pass rusher; he graded out as a top-10 interior rusher in 2019, per PFF. He'll be an unquestioned starter, and as a bonus, he's still only 25.
It gets even better when you realize how Collins' salary stacks up with the rest of the league. Ranked 22nd among 2020 DT cap hits, he's a good $2-3M cheaper than more questionable veterans like Solomon Thomas and Star Lotulelei. And while top dollar is expected of the NFL's elite DTs, Collins' $6.25M hardly seems unreasonable in contrast to the major paychecks of guys like Aaron Donald ($25M), Fletcher Cox ($23.8M), DeForest Buckner ($23.3M) and Chris Jones ($16M).
3. WR Hunter Renfrow
2020 salary cap hit: $753,987
A 2019 training camp darling, Renfrow ended up being much more than that during his rookie season, finishing as Carr's most reliable target not named Darren Waller. His 605 yards and four touchdowns weren't world-breaking, no, but 49 catches -- and a 69 percent catch percentage -- in 13 games as the Raiders' slot receiver was a solid showing for a fifth-round pick. With Henry Ruggs and more speed infused into the Vegas offense, Renfrow's opportunities over the middle should theoretically increase in 2020.
Salary-wise, you can't do much better, either, considering he's on a late-round rookie deal. Even a slight improvement on his 2019 numbers would count as a bargain considering his rate.
4. WR Nelson Agholor
2020 salary cap hit: $887,500
He may be best known for his bouts with drops -- and subsequent lambasting at the hands of Philadelphia Eagles fans. But between stints as one of Philly's favorite targets for ridicule, the former first-rounder had quite a bit of success operating out of the slot. This is the same man who posted back-to-back 60-catch seasons, scored eight touchdowns during the Eagles' Super Bowl run and led the Birds with nine catches in that championship win, even if 2019 was plagued by injuries and mental miscues.
Will Agholor make the roster? That's unclear, because Renfrow, Ruggs, Tyrell Williams and fourth-rounder Bryan Edwards all seem like locks. There's a reason 31 other teams declined to pay him more than the veteran minimum, too. And yet, at age 27, Agholor assuredly still has plenty left in the tank. If he can return even close to his 2017 form, he'll be a true comeback candidate.
5. CB Prince Amukamara
2020 salary cap hit: $887,500
At 31, Amukamara's best days are behind him, especially after a so-so 2019 Bears campaign prompted Chicago to cut him loose despite holes at corner. It's not like he's been incredibly bogged down by injuries, though, having appeared in at least 14 games in four straight seasons and starting 30 of 32 games since 2018. Put it simply, you can do a whole lot worse if you're looking for a plug-and-play veteran on the outside.
Like Agholor, his vet minimum suggests the rest of the NFL is ready to gamble with younger alternatives, but for the Raiders, what's the downside here? First-rounder Damon Arnette is waiting in the wings opposite Trayvon Mullen, and the team also spent a fourth-rounder on Amik Robertson. At less than $900K, Amukamara is a bargain of an insurance policy.