3 surprise cuts the Raiders can make this offseason

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 13: Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski #44 of the Las Vegas Raiders tackles running back Ty’Son Williams #34 of the Baltimore Ravens during their game at Allegiant Stadium on September 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 33-27 in overtime. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Silver and Black were back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. But will a new head coach make some major roster changes?

It was a different kind of year for the Las Vegas Raiders. For only the second time since 2003 and the first time since ‘16, the Silver and Black were in the NFL playoffs. But what the team and franchise endured to get there was difficult in many ways.

Head coach Jon Gruden resigned after five games due to scandal. There were off-the-field issues when it came to a pair of 2020 first-round picks in wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and cornerback Damon Arnette. And neither are in the league at the moment.

After a 3-0 start, the Raiders slumped to 6-7. But interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and quarterback Derek Carr were the guiding forces to a season-ending four-game winning streak. The team finished 10-7 and would go on to a tough 26-19 decision to the Super Bowl-bound Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round.

So former Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the new sideline leader for the Silver and Black. Are there some tough decisions ahead?

3. LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Back in 2020, the former member of the Chicago Bears signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Silver and Black (via Spotrac). That year, he started a career-best 12 games and led the team with 81 tackles. But this was a defensive unit that finished 24th in the league vs. the run and 25th in total defense.

Twice in ’21, the team revised signing bonuses to help its cap situation. Meanwhile, Kwiatkoski would play in just eight games (0 starts), with one-third of his 21 tackles coming on special teams. And he would finish the year on injured reserve.

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