The Raiders only have one restricted free agent heading into this offseason’s signing period.
Defensive lineman Denico Autry is in that spot after playing 742 defensive snaps despite dealing with a wrist injury most of the year. The Raiders hope to keep the versatile defensive lineman around, but they’ve left themselves vulnerable to losing him on the open market.
They gave Autry an original-round contract tender, a league source confirmed on Wednesday morning. That tender gives the Raiders the right to match an offer sheet accepted by Autry, or receive a draft pick commiserate with the defensive lineman’s draft slot if they don’t. Since Autry went undrafted, the Raiders wouldn’t get anything back if Autry left.
A market should develop for Autry, who can play anywhere on the defensive line, and has 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He is also adept at batting passes and field goal attempts at the line of scrimmage. Solid rotational pieces are important at defensive tackle, and while the Raiders will certainly supplement that position group this offseason, losing Autry could be a setback on the interior.
According to ESPN, the original round tender is worth $1.797 million. First-round or second-round tenders are more expensive but virtually secure that player’s services.
The Raiders lost a restricted free agent last season, when they declined to match Benson Mayowa’s offer sheet from Dallas. He was also an undrafted player who received an original round tender, meaning the Raiders didn’t get anything in return. He had 25 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble for the Cowboys last season while the Raiders struggled to find reliable reserve edge rushers behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.