nate hobbs

Getty Las Vegas Raiders CB Nate Hobbs.

One of the best draft picks the Las Vegas Raiders have made in recent years was selecting cornerback Nate Hobbs in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s started 31 games for the team in three seasons and has emerged as one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the NFL.

Hobbs is entering the final year of his contract and it’s unlikely the Raiders let him test free agency. When asked which players could get a contract extension this offseason, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur offered some insight.

“I think [Nate Hobbs] is a lock. And [Robert] Spillane. Malcolm Koonce earned an extension as well,” Tafur wrote in a March 29 mailbag.

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II just became the highest-paid nickel cornerback in the NFL as he got a contract that pays him $10 million a season. It’s unlikely that Hobbs will get that much money but he could feasibly get something in the $8 million annual range. He’s also been asked to play on the outside in the past, which those cornerbacks make much more money. That could factor into his final asking price but it’s unlikely he makes more than Moore. Regardless, the Raiders should be motivated to pay Hobbs this offseason before his price goes up.

Robert Spillane Extension?

Vic Tafur also mentioned that linebacker Robert Spillane could be a lock for a new contract. The Raiders just signed him last offseason but only gave him a two-year contract so he’s on an expiring deal. He outperformed expectations in a major way last season.

Spillane led the team with 148 combined tackles while also catching three interceptions and notching 2.0 sacks. He was an all-around impact player for the Raiders last season and arguably the best linebacker they’ve had in years. Spillane is only making $3.5 million a year on his current contract and is likely in line for a big pay raise, especially if he plays well again in 2024.

He’s not enough of a pass rusher to command a massive contract but he should get closer to $10 million a year on his next deal. The Raiders may also want to let him play out his contract just to make sure that his breakout in 2023 wasn’t an anomaly.

Is It Too Early to Pay Malcolm Koonce?

Malcolm Koonce was the third player whom Vic Tafur mentioned could be in line for an extension. The young defensive end is a little bit more difficult to make a decision on. He was essentially non-existent his first two years in the league as he combined for just 2.0 sacks.

However, he was very impressive in 2023 and notched 8.0 sacks – 6.0 of which came in the final four games. Koonce appears to be an ascending player and the Raiders kept much of their defensive coaching staff intact so there’s no reason to believe there will be a falloff.

A possible extension is one of the trickiest decisions for the Raiders this offseason. If Koonce is great in 2024 and gets more than the 8.0 sacks he had in 2023, he’s going to get a big contract. Right now, his price would likely still be relatively low but it’s still risky to extend him. If the Raiders do decide to give him an extension, that will be a strong sign that they think his best football is ahead of him.

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