It’s early in the offseason but the Las Vegas Raiders already been very active. They’ve moved off of several big-named starters and have created quite a bit of cap space. What’s getting lost in the shuffle is that the team has signed some familiar faces.
The team announced on Monday that they’ve decided to bring back safety Dallin Leavitt on a one-year contract.
Leavitt joined the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Due to a litany of injuries in the defensive backfield over the last two seasons, he’s been able to play in 24 games. With Erik Harris likely gone next season, Leavitt should have a strong shot at making the roster. He doesn’t have any sacks or forced turnovers in his career so he has some work to do if he wants to get a long-term deal eventually.
The plan probably won’t be to have Leavitt play a lot of games in 2021 but he’s a good guy to have on the practice squad in case the team gets hit with injuries.
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Raiders Shaking up Secondary
Based on how the last few seasons have gone, the Raiders need to shake things up in their secondary. They allowed the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL last season and clearly need to fix things. The team is tied to cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette, and safety Johnathan Abram. All three of those guys are young and were high draft picks.
Outside of those three, it’s anybody’s guess what the Raiders might do. LaMarcus Joyner was reportedly released, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He was a big source of the team’s pass defense problems and will likely be replaced by second-year cornerback Amik Robertson. Time will tell if that solves one of the team’s big issues.
Names to Keep an Eye on in Free Agency
The Raiders have to strongly be considering making some moves in the secondary. They brought A.J. Bouye in for a visit on Monday. He’s got a Pro Bowl under his belt and could be a good pickup. He’s dealt with injuries over the last couple of seasons. If he’s healthy, the Raiders should strongly consider bringing him in.
A big name to keep an eye on is Richard Sherman. He’s already gone on record saying he plans to meet with Las Vegas this offseason. Head coach Jon Gruden also couldn’t hide his admiration for the shutdown cornerback. If he’s not too expensive, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him in silver and black next season.
Free safety might be the biggest need of all for the Raiders. Harris is probably gone, Leavitt is not a starter and Jeff Heath is better suited to serve as a backup at this point in his career. John Johnson hinted he could be interested in joining the team because he went to the same college as general manager Mike Mayock. The Raiders haven’t had a ton of luck with Los Angeles Rams free agents but perhaps new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will be better equipped to get the best out of those players.