The Las Vegas Raiders have made it known that they are a big fan of Dallas Cowboys talent this year. They made a run at Byron Jones and while they didn’t sign him, they struck deals with Jason Witten and Maliek Collins. Well, they weren’t done there as now they’ve agreed to terms with former Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, per ESPN’s Todd Archer.
Heath may not have been the biggest name on the Cowboys defense over the last few years, but he’s started every game he’s played for the team over the last three seasons. He’s not a flashy pickup, but the fact that he’s been a starter on the previously stout Dallas defense is a really good sign. Heath gets a lot of tackles and can play on special teams. This is another solid pickup by Mike Mayock.
Rod Marinelli’s Influence Is Clear
Based on the Raiders’ recent free agent moves, it’s clear that new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is going to have a lot of say on the team’s defense. He’s one of the best defensive minds in the game and during his tenure in Dallas, his defenses were almost always good. No, Marinelli is not the defensive coordinator. That job belongs to Paul Guenther … for now.
Jon Gruden values Marinelli quite a bit. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have fired promising defensive coach Brenston Buckner to make room for him. Now that the Raiders are heading into 2020 with much more defensive talent, the team will be expected to perform a lot better on that side of the ball. Guenther has had success in the past but has struggled greatly since joining the Raiders. With Marinelli waiting in the wings, Guenther’s leash is very short.
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Does This Move Mean Karl Joseph Won’t Return?
By signing a starting safety to probably line up next to Johnathan Abram, the odds of the Raiders re-signing Karl Joseph just got very low. The team liked him and he was a first-round pick not that long ago, so it’s a little surprising they didn’t give him stronger consideration. What likely did Joseph in is his pretty extensive injury history. In four seasons in Oakland, Joseph never played in all 16 games.
It looked like he was finally living up to his potential in 2019 as he made big plays at the end of back to back games that both led to wins. Unfortunately, he got a nasty injury against the Los Angeles Chargers that ended his season. If that injury doesn’t happen, there’s a much better shot he gets re-signed. Jon Gruden has been pretty ruthless with how he’s treated players he didn’t draft and Joseph is the latest causality. Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson are the only notable Raider draftees left on the roster that Gruden didn’t pick. Both of those guys have been the subject of trade rumors recently. Those two could still be safe, but it’s clear that Gruden wants his team to made in his image.