The NFL Draft is now in the past for the Las Vegas Raiders so they can really focus on the pieces that are currently on the roster. It’s been a busy offseason for the team as they’ve retooled the roster under new head coach Josh McDaniels. While they’ve added some notable players and let go of others, there are still some holes on the roster.
Perhaps the biggest hole is at safety. 2021 second-round pick Trevon Moehrig is a stud and should be starting for a long time. Unfortunately, he’s the only safety on the roster who is clearly a starter. The Raiders signed Duron Harmon this offseason, who has been a good player for a long time and has experience in Patrick Graham’s style of defense, but he’s 31. Johnathan Abram was a first-round pick and showed flashes last year but his coverage issues make him a bad fit in Graham’s defense.
Former Kansas City Cheifs All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu was commonly linked to the Raiders this offseason but the team made little progress. There was hope that the team could revisit him after not landing any defensive backs in the draft. That won’t be happening as Mathieu has signed a three-year contract worth $33 million with the New Orleans Saints, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
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Will Raiders Regret Not Signing Mathieu?
Mathieu was smart for taking his time signing with a team. $33 million over three years is a really good payday for him at this stage in his career. That’s a number the Raiders were never going to pay him. Mathieu is a New Orleans native so this move makes a ton of sense for him.
However, the Raiders could regret not giving the safety a closer look. Not only is he a very good player but he brings a lot of leadership and swagger to the defense. He was clearly not happy with how the Chiefs ended their partnership. The Raiders play them twice a year and Mathieu would’ve circled those matchups. That said, paying him $11 million a year would be a lot. The team doesn’t have much money to spend and still needs to sign all of their draft picks. Mathieu would’ve been a great pickup but at a lower price.
Is James Bradberry Still an Option?
The Raiders were also heavily linked to Stephon Gilmore earlier in the offseason but struck out on him. Right now, Rock Ya-Sin and Trayvon Mullen project to be the starting cornerbacks. The Raiders would be banking on upside with those two as neither has proven to be a dependable starter quite yet.
This could lead the team to take a look at New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry. The Giants would prefer to trade him but a trade hasn’t materialized. They may have no choice but to trade him. If he gets cut, the Raiders make a ton of sense for him as he played under Graham over the last two seasons in New York. It would be a natural fit.
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