The Las Vegas Raiders are clearly very committed to creating cap space this offseason. In recent days, the team has released beloved starters in Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson. They also let go of wideout Tyrell Williams earlier in the offseason. Now, it looks like another starter has been shown the door.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday, the Raiders are releasing starting nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner.
This is probably the least surprising move the team will make this offseason. Joyner hasn’t had much success since joining the Raiders, frequently struggling in coverage and failing to make many impact plays. He was a safety during his first five years with the Los Angeles Rams but the Raiders thought he could make an impact as a slot corner. That turned out to be a huge mistake and waste of money after signing the former second-round pick to a four-year, $42 million deal in March 2019. Joyner only had eight pass breakups in 28 games with the Raiders.
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Raiders Tried to Trade Joyner
The 30-year-old Joyner struggled a lot with the silver and black but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. The smart move would be for him to go back to playing safety wherever he lands next. He was never an elite safety, but he was a capable starter having recorded at least 49 combined tackles in six of his seven NFL seasons.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Alber Breer, the Raiders actually tried to trade him before cutting him. Obviously, they didn’t find any takers with free agency right around the corner on March 17. Joyner was simply making way too much money for a player who hasn’t impacted a game in two seasons.
Oddly enough, the Raiders never even tried him at safety despite having a major need there late in the season. Perhaps they didn’t buy into the notion that he was a solid option at the position. His time with the Raiders certainly hurt his value in free agency.
The likely replacement for Joyner is hopefully already on the roster. The Raiders want last year’s fourth-round pick Amik Robertson to play in the slot. He struggled during his rookie year but with a season under his belt, perhaps he can step up in 2021.
Raiders Have Been a Disaster in Free Agency
With Joyner getting cut, the Raiders are close to putting a bow on an all-time bad 2019 offseason. In Mike Mayock’s first year as general manager, the team traded for Antonio Brown, signed Trent Brown and the aforementioned Williams and Joyner. Only Brown is still on the roster and he’s now available in a potential trade, according to Rapoport last week.
The 2020 offseason wasn’t much better for the Raiders. Outside of the signing of Nelson Agholor, the team made some really questionable moves. Another for Rams standout, Cory Littleton, was wildly dissociating last season and the Carl Nassib signing might be one of the worst of the decade. Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden both know football, but they need to do a lot better in the coming weeks.
They haven’t hit on a lot of their draft picks and haven’t had much success in free agency. The Raiders are not going to build a winner if they keep wasting money and draft capital. 2021 could be a make-or-break year for Mayock.