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What should the Raiders do with their pending free agents?

The Raiders have $34.1 million in salary-cap space, the fourth-most in the NFL.

They could use that money to solidify their offensive line or cornerback room in free agency. Or they could earmark it for their pending free agents and carry it into next offseason.

The Raiders’ defensive turnaround last year came with good news and bad news.

The positive side is they should once again be one of the NFL’s stingiest units. The downside is they have six key defensive players entering the last year of their contracts and their play warrants a raise.

Here’s a look at the Raiders’ pending free agents and the decision the team faces with each:

Nate Hobbs, cornerback

Hobbs has been an impact player since the Raiders drafted him in the fifth round in 2021.

He’s performed well in the slot, but he’s versatile enough to play other roles as well.

“He plays everywhere,” Raiders senior defensive assistant Rob Ryan said. “And he’s smart, he’s tough. He’s dependable and has courage. I love those guys that will hit an offensive tackle 200 pounds bigger, whip his tail and come off and make the tackle. It’s like, ‘Nobody tell him you’re not supposed to do that.’ Like, this guy is fantastic. So, any system, any team would be lucky to have him for sure.”

Hobbs, 25, finished with 86 tackles and seven pass breakups last year. The Raiders’ defense reaches a different level when he’s on the field. That’s why they would be wise to prioritize locking him up to an extension.

Robert Spillane, linebacker

Spillane was a backup before joining the Raiders, but thrived after being given the opportunity to start.

His improved pass defense helped him contribute on all three downs. He played 97 percent of the Raiders’ defensive snaps last year, finishing with a team-high 148 tackles and adding three interceptions.

Spillane is the heart and soul of the team’s linebacker room and shouldn’t break the bank. It would make sense if the two sides were able to agree to terms on a deal that keeps him with the Raiders.

Tre’von Moehrig, safety

The Raiders’ two starting safeties are both entering the last year of their contracts. That could leave the team with a tough decision when it comes to which player to prioritize.

Moehrig had a career-high 83 tackles and three interceptions last season. He’s just 25-years-old and still has room to improve. Keeping him around seems like the right call. It’s just a matter of whether Moehrig is willing to do a deal in the near future or wants to wait until after the season when his value could be higher.

“Tre’von is the most talented safety in football,” Ryan said. “Now he’s just got to bring it and he’s getting better each time.”

Malcolm Koonce, defensive end

Koonce, 26, proved he could rush the passer last season with eight sacks, 23 pressures, 34 hurries and 17 quarterback hits.

There are some questions about whether he can perform consistently over a full season. But the Raiders can’t afford to let him leave.

Koonce’s price would skyrocket if he delivers another productive season. The Raiders could try to lock him up early, though he might want to wait and bet on himself.

Marcus Epps, safety

Epps was everything the Raiders expected him to be after signing a two-year, $12 million deal in 2023.

He rarely came off the field last season, playing 91 percent of the defensive snaps while making 66 tackles. He was also a great locker-room leader and helped Moehrig and the rest of the secondary get better.

Epps, 28, still has some prime years left. But the Raiders may be forced to choose between him and Moehrig, while letting a younger, cheaper player like Chris Smith II, Trey Taylor or Isaiah Pola-Mao take over a starting spot in 2025.

Divine Deablo, linebacker

Deablo, 25, feels like a guy the Raiders should look to re-sign after he made a career-high 106 tackles last season.

The team has done a good job building out its linebacker room with young players, however. Luke Masterton, Amari Burney and Tommy Eichenberg are potential future starters that all come with reasonable price tags.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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