Things got a lot harder for the Las Vegas Raiders defensive back. They already had to deal with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice each last season and now a nine-time Pro Bowler has been added to the fold. The Denver Broncos traded for former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in an NFL-altering deal.
The trade, without a question, has to alter the Raiders’ offseason plans. They were only one of two teams to make the playoffs out of the AFC West last season but could very well be the fourth-place team in 2022 if they don’t play things right. With all the quarterback firepower in the division, Las Vegas could invest heavily in revamping the defensive backfield. Unfortunately for Kavon Frazier, that means he won’t be around next season. The team announced that they are releasing the veteran defensive back.
Frazier was signed to the Raiders late in the season and spent most of his time on the practice squad. He played in one game but only took special teams snaps. With the team bringing in a new defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham this offseason, there’s a strong chance that more defensive backs from last season aren’t brought back.
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Raiders May Need to Spend Big on Defense
Last year under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Raiders defense showed signs of improvement. However, in four games against Herbert and Mahomes, the quarterbacks threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception. The Raiders went 1-3 in those four games. The team has won five straight games against the Broncos but that’s been in large part due to inept quarterback play.
That’s not going to be an issue for a long time due to the arrival of Wilson. The Raiders are going to consistently face elite passing offenses and need to take that into account going forward. Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue will continue to bring the pass rush but the team still needs better play from their defensive backs.
DBs to Watch This Offseason
First of all, the Raiders need to consider bringing back Casey Hayward. He was the team’s best cornerback last season but is set to hit free agency. He’s 32-years-old so he won’t be getting a long-term deal but he’s healthy and proved he can still play at a high level. Plus, he’s got a ton of familiarity with the AFC West after spending the last six years with the Raiders and Chargers.
Perhaps the biggest move Las Vegas could make is signing New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson. He has 25 interceptions over the first four years of his career and new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels should be very familiar with him. He’d cost a lot of money but he’d give the team a young, shutdown quarterback for the foreseeable future. With the AFC West boasting such great quarterbacks, the Raiders can’t rely on a rookie draft pick to hold his own. The team has promising young cornerbacks in Trayvon Mullen and Nate Hobbs. Re-signing Hayward and signing Jackson would give the team a formidable secondary that has veteran leadership along with dynamic youth.