The flood gates have opened and big NFL deals are getting made by the minute. The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to aggressively target defensive talent this offseason and they’ve got plenty of money to spare. They’ve struggled in the defensive secondary for years, but it appears they’re no longer content with letting teams pass all over them. According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Raiders are pursuing Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones.
This is far from the first time the Raiders have been linked to Jones as there have been a number of reports that they like him. He’s got a Pro Bowl pedigree and is about to get a massive payday. The Raiders have the cap space and the need to upgrade at cornerback and Jones is probably the best option available.
If the Raiders miss out on Jones, all hope is not lost. Per Anderson, they’re also showing interest in Chris Harris Jr.
Harris has spent almost a decade torturing the Raiders, but they’d be happy to have him. He’ll be a lot cheaper than Jones and should still have some strong years left. His age is concerning, but he hasn’t shown signs of steep decline. If it doesn’t require the team to break the bank, the Raiders should pursue Harris aggressively.
Raiders Looking for Safety Help?
Last year’s starting safety Karl Joseph is a free agent and while the Raiders like him, they are letting him test free agency. If he gets a decently sized offer, Las Vegas will probably let him walk. That would open up a gaping hole at safety. The Raiders have Johnathan Abram and they’re excited about him, but they need to put somebody next to him. According to Anderson, Damarious Randall is a player they are looking in to.
Randall is a solid player and has started most of the games he’s played. However, he’s never played a full 16 games season, which is a big red flag. Would he be a clear upgrade over Joseph? Probably not. That said, he could be cheaper and the Raiders seem more interested in spending money elsewhere. If Joseph finds that his market isn’t very lucrative, he could find himself back with the silver and black in 2020.
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Darius Slay on the Trade Market
If the Raiders completely strike out on cornerback in the free-agent market, they still have options. Based on what ESPN’s Adam Schefter has been saying, Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay could be available on the trade market.
Slay is one of the best cornerbacks in the game and is probably better than the players who are available in free agency. He’s due for a massive payday soon, so he’ll probably only be traded to a team that’s willing to pay him. The Raiders could be that team if they miss out on Byron Jones. Slay will likely cost a second-round pick in a trade, which the Raiders don’t have. Perhaps two of their third-round picks get it done.