The Las Vegas Raiders are trimming their roster ahead of free agency. Although they have released a few players to get cap relief, they may move on from players that are no longer part of their long-term vision. Lamarcus Joyner could be next on the list, and if the team parts way with him, they may need to find his replacement in the open market.
If Joyner stays on the Raiders’ roster in 2021, he will count $11.2 million against the cap. However, they can release him and free up $8.7 million in cap space with a $2.5 million dead cap hit. He has underperformed since signing a four-year $44 million contract in 2019, so he is definitely a candidate to get the pink slip.
On the other hand, some of Joyner’s struggles go back to former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. After all, he was playing out of position after lining up at safety with Los Angeles Rams. Moreover, the whole Raiders’ looked unprepared and disorganized in 2020, not just the Florida State product. Gus Bradley, who will now oversee Las Vegas’ defense could decide he wants to keep Joyner. Nevertheless, if they move on from Joyner, they will need to find a replacement this offseason.
The Raiders now have $4 million in cap room after releasing Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson. They can release a few more players, Joyner included, to make a few additions in free agency. Although they want to prioritize bringing back wide receiver Nelson Agholor and linebacker Nicholas Morrow, they could also pursue a slot cornerback in the open market.
The Raiders could find Joyner’s replacement in the open market
This year’s free-agent slot cornerback class will have a few interesting names and Brian Poole, Mike Hilton, are two of the best. They all have different kinds of skill sets but Hilton may be the best of the bunch. He had a penchant for limiting big plays and generating stops in 2020. Last season, he allowed 9.2 yards per receptions and just one touchdown. Meanwhile, he logged seven passes defensed, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.
On the other hand, Poole has thrived in the slot since joining the New York Jets in 2019, registering 102 tackles (six for a loss), 12 pass deflections, and three interceptions. Just like Hilton, there should be a market for his services in free agency. The slot may not get as much recognition as other positions but is quite valuable in today’s NFL. Thus, if the Raiders move on from Joyner, they will have to make sure they upgrade the position. Fortunately, they will have options in free agency.
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