Shortly after Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph played savior against the Los Angeles Chargers, it was revealed that he suffered a season-ending injury on the last play of the game. It was a disappointing ending to an otherwise euphoric moment for the veteran. Joseph hasn’t had the most consistent career. He’s suffered a couple of injuries and hasn’t played up to the level the Raiders expected him to when they drafted him in the first round.
Because of this, the team didn’t exercise his team option in the offseason and he’s now set to hit free agency in 2020. However, it doesn’t seem like he’s too keen to test the waters and would prefer to stay put.
“Of course,” answered Joseph when asked if he wanted to stay with the Raiders. “This is the team that drafted me. I love playing with this group of guys. I love playing for this coaching staff. I love playing in coach Guenther’s system. I think it’s a great system for me, for the safeties . . . it’s out of my control. All I can do is get healthy.”
Thanks to the injury, it’s unlikely he’ll get an extension before the season. It’ll be interesting to see what the Raiders decide to do.
Will Raiders Bring Him Back?
Rookie Johnathan Abram is the team’s safety of the future, but the Raiders need two. Based on his performances against the Detriot Lions and Chargers, it looked like Joseph was going to play himself into an extension. Those two games were some of his most impressive since joining the team. The injury complicates things quite a bit. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are clearly not completely sold on him. If they were, they would’ve picked up his team option.
Joseph isn’t perfect, but the Raiders haven’t shown the willingness to spend big on defense. If they want to bring in a top safety, it’s going to cost a lot. They could look to the draft, but how much does Gruden want the Raiders to draft a defensive back in the first round for the fourth time in five years? Joseph won’t be expensive and he’s shown improvement. At worst, he’s a low-end starter and once Abram returns, it could help Joseph reach his full potential.
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Joseph Laments Getting Injured
The worst part about Joseph’s injury is that it came at the end of the team’s best defensive performance of the season. They forced three interceptions by Philip Rivers and shut him down on the Chargers’ last drive of the game.
”As a team, we started to click as a unit, especially in the secondary,” Joseph said Monday. ”I don’t think it’s just me necessarily. It’s all of us playing good ball. As a team we’re starting to click. That’s what is most frustrating for me. We started to play some real good football and I wanted to be part of this team going forward. I believe we have a strong chance to go to the playoffs. That’s what’s frustrating for me.”
A playoff berth is looking very possible for the Raiders and Joseph getting injured will make it harder for the team to get there. Fortunately, they were able to add veteran D.J. Swearinger, which will help soften the blow. It should be a very interesting next six months for Joseph.