Raiders Re-Sign or Realign: Stacy McGee is valuable as depth

September 10, 2012: Raiders owner Mark Davis jokes with general manager Reggie McKenzie before the game on Monday, September 10, 2020 at Coliseum in Oakland, CA. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 22-14.

The Oakland Raiders struggled when it came to the interior of their defensive line this past season. They weren’t terrible in the run game (though they weren’t good either). But that wasn’t the big issue, the big issue is that there was literally no pass rush coming from the interior of the defensive line. None. And it was a major reason why the Raiders finished last in the league in sacks with only 25.

But while the interior defensive line struggled, Stacy McGee actually had a fairly good season. He was one of, if not the only interior lineman to consistently collapse the pocket. McGee had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, which doesn’t sound THAT  impressive until you realize he only played 21% of the defensive snaps for the Raiders this season. The only defensive linemen to play fewer snaps were Mario Edwards, Jr. and Branden Jackson.

No, McGee isn’t the answer at defensive tackle. The Raiders still need to find someone who can upgrade their interior pass rush this offseason, but McGee showed he has value as a backup.

The former sixth round pick has had a rather up and down four years with the team. In his rookie season, McGee looked like a steal and a potential starter of the future. But after a poor sophomore performance, people began to wonder if his rookie year was just a flash in the pan. He played better in his third season, closer to what we saw from him as a rookie, but still not overly impressive.

Then, in his fourth season with the team, getting far fewer snaps than he’s gotten any other year and he has his best season, hands down. Before this year, his highest sack total for a season was 0.5 and he had not forced any fumbles in three years. And his tackle numbers this season were comparable to his best years when he played more snaps.

This leads you to wonder if McGee had a great year because it was a contract year. Many players have great years when they know they are about to engage in contract negotiations. The allure of money will often motivate a player more than anything else. And if that’s why McGee played so well this season, it’s something the Raiders would have to be concerned with if they re-sign him.

Even with a good season in 2016, McGee is nothing more than a solid backup or rotational lineman. If the Raiders can bring him back on a reasonable salary that reflects that role, then by all means do so. But if he is looking to cash in on this year’s success, it may be time for him to find some new colors to wear.

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james arcellana

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