Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recently spoke rather candidly of where his team needs to improve, and among the most important areas was linebacker.
The 29-year-old Whitehead spent his last two seasons with the Raiders, recording 234 tackles, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble in 32 games. His Pro Football Focus grade (55.2) places him just behind standout linebackers Anthony Barr (55.6), Tremaine Edmunds (58.5) and Leighton Vander Esch (58.6), providing quantitative proof Whitehead could offer some value to a team in need.
That team won't be the Raiders, but his release does offer some financial relief. Whitehead accounted for $7.29 million in cap space in 2020, per Over The Cap, and his release will save the Raiders $6.25 million of that total, bringing their projected total north of $55 million just before free agency begins.
Whitehead will get an early shot at free agency with a little over a week to go before the pool is flooded with eligible players. The Raiders will turn the page in the meantime ahead of free agency and a draft in which they own two first-round picks and could use one to select a promising prospect in a class featuring at least a few of them at the position.