On Wednesday, Raiders’ General Manager Mike Mayock said this time of year – with about a week prior to the beginning of the season – is “fluid.” Players being waived to open up spots, players being moved to injured reserved and looking at the waiver wire to see what other teams have done. On Friday, the Raiders cleared cap space by the restructuring of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue contract.
Clearing cap space was also one of the team’s goals this offseason and it has continued over the past few days.
Ngakoue contract clears $8 million toward the cap
In total, the Silver and Black converted $12 million of his salary into a bonus, which clears $8 million for the team’s cap space.
Last season, the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens.
During that time, Ngakoue started eight of the 15 games he played, forced four fumbles and recorded 8.0 sacks. He also recorded 23 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.
Ngakoue was a third-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016 and was there for four seasons until 2019.
As a Jaguar, he started 62 of 63 games, recorded two interceptions, 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 42 tackles for loss.
His best year came during his sophomore season when he recorded 12.0 sacks and started all 16 games, highlighted by leading all players with six forced fumbles in 2017.
To top it off, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was part of a Jaguars team that won the AFC South and reached the Conference Championship.
With his experience as one of the many newcomers to the Raiders’ defense in 2021, Ngakoue is expected to be an impact when opposing teams have the ball.
Raiders expected anywhere from 7-11 wins
With an extra game on the schedule, there will no longer be a team finishing the season 8-8.
However, with an extra game, the playoff format was also changed. Each division playoff is expanded one team from six to seven. As a result, there will be three games on wild card weekend for both the AFC and the NFC. Unlike years past, only the No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the wild card round and automatically advance to the divisional round.
With the season approaching, predictions are being made for every player and each of the 32 NFL teams. From Super Bowl picks to MVP selections, people are choosing which option is best.
Another topic of forecasts ever year are win predictions.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Raiders win total is currently seven victories in 2021.
Among the AFC West opponents, the seven wins is projected for the Raiders to finish behind all three teams. The Kansas City Chiefs lead at 12.5 wins, Los Angeles Chargers at nine wins and the Denver Broncos at 8.5 victories.
CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr went through a game-by-game prediction for the Silver and Black. Kerr expects the Raiders to win eight games and will grow its stretch of five straight years of not finishing above .500.
On the other hand, The Black Hole+, part of Fan Nation and Sports Illustrated, is more optimistic than Kerr.
Hondo S. Carpenter Sr. from The Black Hole+ expects the Raiders to go on a five-game winning streak and begin the year 6-1 prior to the bye week.
Ultimately, Carpenter Sr. has the Silver and Black winning 11 times. Eleven wins should bring a playoff spot as it would be the highest in team history since 2016 when the team also made the playoffs.
The Raiders begin the season inside Allegiant Stadium on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13 at 5:15 p.m.