The market is thinning quickly on the defensive front ahead of free agency opening Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
- Remaining free agents
- NFC free agency grades
- AFC free agency grades
- Free agency winners and losers
- Seven riskiest free-agent signings
- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
- Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
- Collateral benefits: Players aided by free agency
Irvin was considered one of the top defensive stars available on the market, ranking fifth in Around The NFL's top 99 free agents list.
It became clear that Irvin would leave Seattle after becoming a surprise first-round pick in 2012. The Seahawks declined to pick up the fifth-year option on the linebacker.
Several teams flush with salary-cap space were rumored to be hot on Irvin's trail, including the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, both of whom boast former Seahawk defensive coordinators as coaches. Instead, Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who coached linebacker's in Seattle from 2010-2014, swooped in to land the 28-year-old, who owns 22 sacks.
General Reggie McKenzie needs to pair a pass rusher with stud Khalil Mack, and Irvin was one of the top names on the open market. During his four seasons in Seattle, Irvin was better in pass coverage and superior side-line-to-sideline run defender than a pass rusher. It will be intriguing to see how Norton deploys Irvin alongside Mack.
Irvin's versatility should allow the Oakland the option of adding another edge rusher in free agency or the draft. Would McKenzie contemplate bringing back Aldon Smith?
The Raiders have plenty of cap space. Hour before agreeing with Irvin, Oakland hammered out an deal to claim Kelechi Osemele, one of the top offensive linemen poised to hit the market, on a five-year, $60 million deal.
With Irvin off the board, Jason Pierre-Paul returning to New York, Mario Williams reaching a deal in Miami, Malik Jackson headed to Jacksonville, Tamba Hali staying in Kansas City and Charles Johnson reuniting in Carolina, much of the defensive line market has been sapped before the new league year even opens.