The Las Vegas Raiders don’t have a lot of cash to spend right now but they can free up a lot of space with ease. If they can move off the contracts of LaMarcus Joyner, Trent Brown and Marcus Mariota, then the team is back in business. Tyrell Williams has already been let go so they’ve taken the first step in creating space.
This offseason, the Raiders need to spend money on the defense. The offense is solid so the team shouldn’t waste their time throwing too much money trying to add to it. One of the biggest needs is at free safety. Erik Harris is probably gone and Jeff Heath is better as a backup. Luckily, there are a few guys the Raiders could target in free agency. One name to keep an eye on is Marcus Williams. Pro Football Focus recently predicted that Las Vegas would sign him to a four-year, $57 million contract:
The Raiders will be in the market for a fresh new safety to play the single-high role in Gus Bradley’s defense, and Williams — a West Coast native — is a prime candidate for that job.
Williams has established himself as one of the top cover safeties in the game since he entered the league as a second-round pick out of Utah in 2017. He has earned the fourth-best PFF grade at the position over the last four years, and the total WAR Williams has accumulated in that span is the fourth-most among all defenders.
Williams makes a lot of sense with the Raiders. He’s excellent in coverage and is only 24-years-old. With the New Orleans Saints in cap hell, they probably can’t afford to pay Williams. Las Vegas should swoop him up and pair him with Johnathan Abram.
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Safety Might Be Raiders’ Biggest Need
There’s going to be a lot of talk about how the Raiders need pass rush this offseason. The team just doesn’t get after the quarterback. That said, they probably can’t invest too heavily in edge rushers. The Raiders used a first-round pick on Clelin Ferrell two years ago and Maxx Crosby has flashed a ton of potential. Neither man is elite, but the defense is probably worse in other spots.
They desperately need another safety. Abram only played one game during his rookie year and was among the league’s worst safeties in 2020. Due to his status as a first-round pick, the Raiders are going to have to roll with him again next season. That makes it even more important to find a very good free safety to pair with Abram. The only other need that is as pressing as safety is defensive tackle.
Other Targets if Williams Goes Elsewhere
If the Raiders miss out on Williams, there should be other safeties the team targets. Justin Simmons is probably the biggest name set to hit free agency. He’s one of the best safeties in the NFL and signing him away from the Denver Broncos would be beneficial to the Raiders in a number of ways.
Las Vegas could also take a look at Anthony Harris. At 29-years-old, he’s older than Simmons and Williams but does have a track record of success. The Raiders couldn’t go wrong by adding somebody with his experience.