With the Las Vegas Raiders planning to bring in a new defensive coordinator this offseason, the team’s defense will likely look very different in 2020. The biggest issue for the Raiders has been their secondary. The cornerbacks and safeties just haven’t played at a high level in several years.
Erik Harris has been with the team for four years now and started 12 games in 2020. He’s had some really good moments but he’s probably better as a depth option and not a starter. Harris is set to hit free agency and it’s looking like he won’t return. According to a recent Instagram story, Harris revealed that he sold his house in Las Vegas.
Obviously, Harris selling his house doesn’t mean that he’s definitely leaving the Raiders. However, it seems likely. The team is about to try and revamp their defense and Harris probably won’t be part of the effort. He’s a solid player but the Raiders need more skill in the secondary.
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Raiders Need Safety Help
If Harris actually is planning to ditch the Raiders, that’s going to make the need for safety help more pressing. Johnathan Abram has potential but he has a ton of work to do, especially in coverage. The Raiders can’t give up on him quite yet so he’s likely to start again next season.
Jeff Heath is a really solid veteran and made some big plays last season. That said, he’s a good depth piece. The Raiders need to find a good safety to start opposite Abram. If they can do that, the secondary will be in a much better spot.
Safeties the Raiders Could Target
If the Raiders are strictly looking at free agency to find a starting safety, Justin Simmons is their best option. The Denver Broncos Pro Bowler is at risk of getting hit with the franchise tag for the second year in a row. If he doesn’t, the Raiders should give him the big bucks. They were reportedly looking to sign him last year before Denver tagged him. Lining him up with Abram would be a big move.
Anthony Harris had a down year with the Minnesota Vikings but is still a very good safety. Thanks to his disappointing season, his price could be significantly lower than it would have been after last season. The Raiders could certainly do worse than signing him to a reasonable deal this offseason.
Las Vegas could also try to address the issue in the draft. The Raiders like to tackle needs in the draft so this is the likely route they take. Andre Cisco out of Syracuse is the probable top prospect as of now. He’s very strong in coverage which is exactly what the Raiders need. Cisco caught 13 interceptions in his three years in college. The Raiders are desperate for turnovers so a turnover machine like Cisco would be a great addition. Plus, they might be able to land him in the second round.