With some many holes in their defense and linebacker being the biggest need, the Las Vegas Raiders must not neglect their secondary, specifically cornerback, with free agency providing some interesting options.
Last season, the talk centered on Trayvon Mullen’s rise to prominence and deservingly so, but the other two cornerback spots aren’t set. Nevin Lawson is depth at best and Isaiah Johnson hasn’t shown anything to make the organization think he’s a cornerstone player. Keisean Nixon could eventually take over but so far he’s unproven.
The Raiders could solidify the cornerback position in free agency and allocate their draft pickt to other roster needs on draft night.
There are three names that come to mind when thinking of cornerbacks worth signing in free agency. All of them will likely ask for premium compensation because the demand outweighs the supply. However, if the Raiders decide to take a wager on any of them, they will probably get a return proportional to their investment based on the corners career production.
Chris Harris Jr.
After saying they will use the franchise tag on Justin Simmons and A.J. Bouye’s fresh trade, there is no place for Harris in Denver. The two-time All-Pro has played well and even though he’s 30 years old, a steep decline in production doesn’t seem to be near. If anything, he could eventually make the switch to safety, which he played in college and is acquainted with.
After switching positions, Jones’ career really took off. He’s still young and should be in his prime or about to get there. He can play corner opposite of Mullen and have the Raiders worry about other positions in the draft. What the Raiders can’t afford to do is have lofty expectations. Jones is good but not a Hall of Famer. As pointed out before, most free agents get retail compensation, but aren’t always the best at their position. That’s Jones’s case and something Las Vegas has to take into consideration.
Bradberry took time to develop. His career has grown steadily and it’s uncertain if he has reached his plateau, something that can make him appealing in free agency. Outside of Carolina, Bradberry isn’t the biggest name, which could have helped him better his game without media or fan pressure. By the same token, it’s uncertain how he would perform for one of the worst defenses in the league. He could break out or falter, but he will definitely be under way more scrutiny, right Raider Nation?
It’s up to the Raiders to decide how they will tackle free agency. If they refrain from signing a cornerback, it won’t be because of scarcity of options.
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