Raiders

Source: Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, Raiders agree to terms on contract

Source: Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, Raiders agree to terms on contract

The Raiders need linebacker help, and they need it in bulk.

That’s required after another lackluster season at the position and a renewed commitment to get it right.

The Raiders cut veteran Tahir Whitehead recently for salary-cap savings. Vontaze Burfict’s now on the street, in poor standing with the league and questionable at best to return, leaving openings across the starting lineup the Raiders plan to fill from the outside this offseason.

That complete positional overhaul now is underway, with the first addition already in the fold.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski agreed on terms of a contract with the Raiders, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday afternoon. Kwiatkoski is scheduled to earn $21 million over three years with $13.5 million in guarantees, per NFL Network. He also reportedly has $3 million in attainable guarantees. 

As a reminder, players can’t formally sign contracts until Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT, when the league year begins. Pacts can be agreed upon between now and then, during a free-agent negotiating window often called legal tampering.

With the coronavirus outbreak, it’s uncertain when Kwiatkoski can come to Alameda, take a physical at the team facility and sign his deal.

Getting a commitment from a 26-year-old thumper with a bright future is a great start to this free agent period. The career reserve proved last year he has a starter’s quality. He played well after taking over the Bears middle linebacker spot in Week 10, as a physical player with sure tackling ability.

He had 51 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception last year, along with 13 total quarterback pressures.

Signing Kwiatkoski doesn’t eliminate the prospect of signing another free-agent linebacker. The Raiders have eyes locked on former Rams linebacker Cory Littleton, an ideal cover man who can do it all. His market should be strong on the open market, but the Raiders plan to be involved and seem set on making a defensive splash (or two) in free agency.

We’ll see in time exactly where Kwiatkoski fits into the lineup. He can be a super sub or a three-down player depending on other linebackers added in free agency or the NFL draft.

[RELATED: Why Raiders must have clear upgrade to move on from Carr]

Kwiatkoski clearly is excited about playing for the Raiders in their new Las Vegas home. He posted this on social media shortly after agreeing on terms.

Raiders shut out of Pro Football Focus' top 50 NFL player rankings

Raiders shut out of Pro Football Focus' top 50 NFL player rankings

The Raiders challenged for the playoffs last season, but if the data-driven Pro Football Focus player rankings are to be believed, Las Vegas’ new NFL team may struggle to do that again.

No Raiders made PFF’s top 50, but nine players from their three AFC West rivals were ranked.

Five of those were from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs — quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 2, defensive tackle Chris Jones at No. 16, tight end Travis Kelce at No. 19, wide receiver Tyreek Hill at No. 22 and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz at No. 23.

Read more on Las Vegas Review-Journal

Raiders' iconic Al Davis Memorial Torch debuts at Allegiant Stadium

Raiders' iconic Al Davis Memorial Torch debuts at Allegiant Stadium

It’s an old tradition that will carry on in the Raiders’ new Las Vegas location.

The Al Davis Memorial Torch will continue to be lit in honor of the late long-time team owner. It was debuted on Wednesday through the massive retractable lanai doors in the backdrop at Allegiant Stadium:

It’s a more updated version of the original torch, but the message remains the same. According to Raiders.com, that vision is “the fire that burns brightest in the Raiders’ organization is the will to win.” That was a quote by the late Davis and before every home game, fans pay tribute to him with a flick of the flame.  

Former Raiders and celebrities have created the flame including Bay Area-native rapper MC Hammer, former Super Bowl-winning head coach John Madden, Marshawn Lynch and many, many more.

[RELATED: Raiders moving training facility from Napa to Nevada]

Current owner Mark Davis admitted he was sweating a little bit on the construction of the 65,000-foot, $2 billion stadium amid the July 31 deadline.

But for now, at least a part of Al Davis will be there. 

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]