It looks like Nevin Lawson will be missing time at the start of the season once again. The veteran Las Vegas Raiders cornerback finds himself in a bit of trouble. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lawson will be suspended for the first two games of the 2021 season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy.
This will now be the third suspension Lawson has been hit with in three years with the Raiders. In 2019, he missed four games for performance-enhancing drug use. In 2020, he missed a game for using his helmet as a weapon during the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. The fact that he has been suspended every year he’s been with the Raiders can’t sit very well with the team.
Lawson was just recently re-signed to a new contract. He figures to be an important part of Las Vegas’ secondary. He started nine games for the team last season and five games in 2019. Considering the fact the Raiders haven’t signed a veteran cornerback in free agency yet, Lawson could have a very large role this season.
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Will Raiders Keep Putting up With Lawson’s Suspensions?
The Raiders clearly like Lawson. There’s a reason they decided to bring him back for a third season. That said, it has to be concerning to see him suspended once again. He didn’t break the law or anything but it’s a headache that Las Vegas shouldn’t be dealing with.
With new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley coming in this season, it will be interesting to see how he handles this situation. It’s probable that the Raiders just accept the news and plan to see Lawson in Week 3. That could set a concerning precedent though. If the team doesn’t add another cornerback, they need Lawson, which means he’s probably going to stick around.
Raiders Should Still Add a Veteran CB
The news involving Lawson highlights the fact that the Raiders still need to sign a veteran cornerback. For whatever reason, they’ve completely dragged their feet in free agency. The team had a goal of fixing the defensive line this offseason and signed several. They should no longer be looking to address that position group.
The focus needs to be on the secondary for the rest of the offseason. The Raiders do have some young talent in Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Johnathan Abram. However, all three struggled a lot at times last season. It would be a mistake to rely on them to start the season.
The Raiders should be taking a look at Richard Sherman. He was recently spotted in Las Vegas and used to be coached by Bradley. He also exchanged some kind words with Jon Gruden shortly before the Super Bowl. The team could also revisit A.J. Bouye, who they brought in for a visit early in the offseason.
At this point in free agency, they aren’t going to find an elite talent at cornerback but having a savvy veteran around could help the young guys develop.