The Raiders once saw safety Karl Joseph, soon to be a free agent, as a building block. Both parties would be smart to reach a deal ahead of Las Vegas.
Joseph was trending upward before he suffered a season-ending injury against the Chargers in Week 10 playing in his rookie contract’s final year. In 2019, he had one interception an two passes defensed, both of them in his last two games. Also, according to advance statistics site Pro Football Focus, the veteran had a 69.9 overall grade last season.
Originally a first round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Joseph’s career never really took off. There could be many reasons why the safety hasn’t been able to join other top ranked players. The revolving door at the coaching staff can be the main culprit, as he has had almost as many coordinators (three) as years in the league (four). Regardless of the reason, the Raiders haven’t formally offered Joseph a second contract.
However, the team can get ahead of free agency and offer Joseph a one-year prove-it deal. The veteran can show he’s back from his injury, rehabilitate his game and then go back to free agency. If Joseph plays well, he will have the opportunity to cash in either with the Raiders or someone else. If the safety falters, the team won’t have any obligations and could move on from the veteran without any salary cap repercussions.
As of now, the Raiders have around $70 million in cap space and striking a contract in the range of five or six million with Joseph wouldn’t hinder their pursuit of other players this upcoming free agency, so it would be a low-risk high-reward move.
Joseph hasn’t become the force at safety the Raiders envisioned in 2016, but they should give him another look before giving up on him. A one year deal can accomplish that.
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