The free-agent recruiting process for the Las Vegas Raiders is starting early this offseason. Jon Gruden recently made not-so-subtle hints to five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman that suggested his team could go after him. While Gruden could get in trouble for possible tampering, he has others to recruit for him.
Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has long been an unofficial recruiter for the Raiders and now he’s gunning for Sherman. Lillard recently sent a message to the star cornerback.
Obviously, the Raiders are no longer in Oakland, California so the “across that bridge” comment isn’t necessarily relevant. That said, Sherman makes a lot of sense with the silver and black. The team needs a leader in their secondary and he’s one of the best when it comes to leadership. He’s also very familiar with new Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, which should work in their favor. Sherman will have plenty of suitors in free agency so Las Vegas better put together a good pitch.
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Sherman Only Looking to Play 2 More Seasons
While Sherman will be sought after in free agency, he’s more than likely passed his prime. He’ll be 33 when the season starts and only played five games in 2020 due to a calf injury. He can still be an impact player but it’s unlikely he’ll continue to be a shutdown corner. Even he realizes his career is coming to an end. Sherman recently did an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and revealed how much longer he wants to play.
“I only want to play two more,” Sherman said. “I want to get on a competitive team. I think I still have a lot to give to the game. I think I still have a lot that I want to accomplish and I think I can go out there and help a defense come together like it should and reach their potential, reach the heights that the defenses that I’ve played on have reached.”
Sherman could certainly help a Raiders defense that has been struggling for years. His familiarity with Bradley makes him an even better fit. Sherman to the Raiders makes a ton of sense if the two sides can agree to a deal.
Raiders Still Need to See What They Have in Young CBs
Based on how last season went, it’s obvious the Raiders have a need at cornerback. The problem is that they’ve invested a first-round pick in Damon Arnette and a second-round pick in Trayvon Mullen. They need to give those two men a chance before they move on.
This offseason, the Raiders aren’t likely to draft a cornerback early or pay big money for a free agent. While Mullen and Arnette have struggled, there’s still time for them to develop. To start the season, Mullen looked like he had shutdown cornerback potential. He fell off in the second half of the season, but the potential is there.
Arnette also has potential but needs to get healthy. Adding a veteran like Sherman to the group would be really smart. He could certainly help guide Arnette and Mullen.