Malcolm Koonce On Raiders’ Extension Radar?

New Raiders general manager Tom Telesco has made a few key additions this offseason, but the team has a number of extension-eligible players who could make a case for new deals. An evaluation period for those contributors would not come as a surprise during Telesco’s first campaign at the helm.

Nevertheless, a small number of players could be in line for an extension. One of those is edge rusher Malcolm Koonce, whom The Athetic’s Vic Tafur notes is highly regarded by the team’s staff (subscription required). The 26-year-old barely saw any defensive time across his first two seasons with the team, but things changed in 2023. Koonce logged a 44% snap share in addition to a heavy special teams workload.

Seeing time both as a base end as well as a stand-up rusher, the former third-rounder enjoyed a strong third season in the NFL. Koonce racked up eight sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 23 pressures and three forced fumbles while playing 500 defensive snaps. As Tafur writes, Vegas’ staff is confident further development can take place moving forward, and as such an extension would be logical from the team’s perspective. One year remains on Koonce’s rookie contract.

As a result, the Buffalo alum is due $1.34MM in 2024. A new deal would no doubt check in at a much higher rate, depending on how optimistic the Raiders are regarding Koonce’s ability to develop into a full-time starter. The team has already made one of the league’s most lucrative edge investments with Maxx Crosby, and free agency brought about the high-priced addition of defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. With those two in the fold, Vegas already has plenty of money committed to the defensive front.

Koonce – who ranked 22nd amongst edge defenders with an overall PFF grade of 81.3 last season – could increase his market value with another strong season in 2024 and thus make a Raiders re-up more expensive next spring than it would be now. The team has plenty of financial wiggle room at the moment, but Telesco is not expected to make any more splashy moves this offseason.

Tafur names linebacker Robert Spillane as the player likely second in a hypothetical extension pecking order, and several other defenders are also candidates for a new deal. Koonce could play his way into the most lucrative one, however, so it will be interesting to see if the Raiders show urgency in pursuing an agreement.

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