The Las Vegas Raiders desperately need to upgrade their safety positions but unfortunately, things aren’t pointing to a splash signing.
Seeing the Raiders’ pass defense get demolished week in and out was surely frustrating for fans. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther refused to put his players in better positions to succeed with Lamarcus Joyner coming to mind. Say what you will about the recently cut defender, but Joyner should’ve been a starting safety from Day 1. Instead, he lined up in the slot, and opposing receivers burned him on a regular basis. Also, Johnathan Abram, a promising player but far from perfect, appeared to have regressed in coverage. By season’s end, Jeff Heath had emerged as the team’s best safety though he too could be on the chopping block.
With Guenther now gone, Gus Bradley will be taking the reigns as defensive coordinator and he’ll need solid safeties considering his Cover 3 system. Las Vegas should become active buyers in free agency, with safety topping their needs. Unfortunately, it’s becoming unlikely the Silver and Black will be able to land a premier safety in the open market.
Raiders Won’t Have A Chance To Bid On Any Big Names
While the team could draft a safety such as Trevon Moehrig, opting for a proven player would be a smarter bet. The draft’s a plausible scenario, as several players that would’ve been available are being kept from hitting the open market. Thanks to the dreaded franchise tag, Justin Simmons, Marcus Maye, and Marcus Williams will all be returning to their respective teams. This isn’t to say it’s guaranteed that the Silver and Black would’ve landed one of them. Far from it, rather, it’s disappointing they won’t be able to pursue them at all.
However, Anthony Harris could still be a possibility for the Raiders as the Minnesota Vikings decided not to use their franchise tag this year. We’ll find out soon enough just how much of their resources will the Raiders be using to retool their defense. Considering the team hasn’t had a significant season since Jon Gruden’s return, 2021’s shaping up to be crucial.
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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal