The Las Vegas Raiders went hard after a number of top free-agent cornerbacks but only ended up with Eli Apple in the end. Chris Harris Jr. was among their top targets and they even made a good offer, but he ended up signing with the Los Angeles Chargers. Harris was recently on the Rapsheet and Friends podcast and explained why he didn’t join the silver and black.
“I know that they already had a nickel with Lamarcus Joyner,” Harris said. “[The Raiders] made it clear to me that they wanted to keep him in there so it was really based on fit and knowing where I’m going to play.”
The Raiders’ interest in Harris was always questionable if they were planning on keeping LaMarcus Joyner at nickel corner. Harris has made a career as one of the inside corners in the NFL, but it sounds like they wanted to put him on the outside. Joyner struggled quite a bit in that role last season. If what Harris is saying is true, it seems like a huge missed opportunity for Las Vegas. They could’ve put Joyner at safety and Harris on the inside. That sounds a lot more appealing than what they currently had.
Harris Turned Down 3-Year Deal From Raiders
Apparently, Harris didn’t like the idea of playing on the outside as the Raiders offered him a better deal. They were willing to lock him up for three years while the Chargers only gave him two. He just felt like the fit was better with Los Angeles.
The Raiders will now have to continue to face Harris twice a season for the next couple of years. He spent almost a decade haunting the team with the Denver Broncos and he’s going to get the chance to continue to do it. Joyner is going to really need to step up if the Raiders are going to continue to put their trust into him. He was banged up a lot last year. Perhaps if he’s healthy, he’ll start stepping up his play.
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Raiders Struck out on Top CB Targets
The Raiders went into free agency with the mindset that they wanted to land a top cornerback. They offered a ton of money to Byron Jones, tried to sign Harris and considered a trade for Darius Slay. Unfortunately, they struck out on every target. The Raiders clearly weren’t in love with their defensive backfield from last season.
Gareon Conley got traded, Daryl Worley is still free agency and Karl Joseph signed with the Cleveland Browns. It makes sense why Las Vegas would want to overhaul position because they didn’t do well in pass defense last year. The problem is that they weren’t able to bring in any big names, so now they’re back to square one. As of now, it looks like Eli Apple and Trayvon Mullen will be the starters. Mullen has a ton of potential and looked really good at times last season. Apple has started a lot of games and while he’s not perfect, there are certainly worst players the team could have. Drafting a cornerback early seems inevitable, but it remains to be seen if the Raiders will be able to get someone who could compete for a starting spot from day one.