One of the most popular names linked to the Las Vegas Raiders all offseason was cornerback Stephon Gilmore. There were a few times it looked like a deal between the two sides was imminent. He’s very familiar with head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham from his time with the New England Patriots so it looked like an obvious fit.
However, the Raiders must have never made an appealing offer to him as he’s signing elsewhere. According to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, Gilmore is signing with the Indianapolis Colts.
Anderson later reported that the Raiders were among the teams that “showed interest” in signing Gilmore.
That doesn’t come as a surprise as Jordan Schultz previously reported that the Raiders were trying to sign him. That obviously didn’t end up being the case and now Gilmore joins a very good Colts defense. Though Indianapolis disappointed last season, the additions of Matt Ryan, Yannick Ngakoue and Gilmore should make the team much better.
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Gilmore Joins Former Raiders DC Gus Bradley
Interestingly enough, Gilmore is now joining former Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The former Defensive Player of the Year has thrived in man coverage throughout his career but will now be forced to play in a zone-heavy scheme. The Colts are giving Bradley some very good pieces to work with. He did a solid job fixing the Raiders defense last season but now he gets much better defensive talent to work with.
Ngakoue, Gilmore, Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner all have Pro Bowl pedigrees. Now, Gilmore would’ve made more sense on the Raiders’ defense. Graham’s style is much more tailored to the cornerback’s skill set in man coverage. That said, Gilmore will turn 32 during the season and wanted to get a least one more big payday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts are giving him a two-year contract worth $23 million. That’s more than the Raiders could’ve afforded after being big spenders this offseason.
Will Raiders Change Focus to Tyrann Mathieu?
Gilmore was one of the few remaining difference-makers left in free agency who would’ve been a fit with the Raiders. With him off the market, it’s difficult to see the team signing any big names in the coming months. However, there is one player still available who Las Vegas should be considering. Fans have been clamoring for the team to sign All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.
The 29-year-old is highly motivated after getting scorned by the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. The Raiders should be appealing to him as he’d be able to get revenge against his former team twice a season. Plus, he’d fill a need for the team. Trevon Moehrig proved that he should hold one of the starting safety spots this season but the other starter remains unclear. Mathieu would be a big upgrade over Johnathan Abram. He doesn’t have any connections to the new Raiders coaching staff but that shouldn’t matter due to his reputation as one of the best and tenacious defensive backs in the NFL.