Raiders Could Welcome Rocky ‘Reunion’ With Projected $53 Million Free Agent

Xavier McKinney, a potential Raiders target

Getty Xavier McKinney, a potential Raiders target

Theoretically, reunions are good things, getting back together with old teammates or coaches brings with it some familiarity and comfort. Unless, of course, you trashed the ex-teammate or coach on his way out the door. That was the case with former Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who now has the same role with the Raiders, and New York safety Xavier McKinney.

When Graham left the Giants two years ago, McKinney let it be known he was not exactly thrilled with his old coordinator and the staff in general.

“I think a lot of times we weren’t seeing eye to eye on certain things,” McKinney said via the NY Post. “Last year, my first three or four games, I was barely playing. There were some games where I didn’t even play the whole first half. I think people forget that, too. It was a lot of different things, we had our disagreements from time to time.”

Now, McKinney is heading into free agency and it turns out, the Raiders could use help at safety. McKinney will be one of the top players on the market at his position, but would he welcome a reunion with Graham?

Xavier McKinney Among Best Young FAs

At Bleacher Report, the suggestion is that McKinney would be a good fit with the Raiders, and a reunion with Graham could be forthcoming. In outlining its top free agents under age 25, B/R cited McKinney, who is coming off his best season and turns 25 in August.

McKinney had 11 passes defended and three interceptions last season, and also made two tackles for a loss.

As B/R’s Alex Ballentine wrote:

“McKinney thrives as the deep safety. He can still moonlight in the box, though. According to PFF, McKinney had a top-10 coverage grade both in deep and box alignments last season.

“McKinney has been reliable when he’s been on the field. He’s given up a passer rating of 72.2 or lower in three of his four seasons with the Giants despite playing for two very different defensive coordinators in Patrick Graham and Wink Martindale.

“The safety’s ability to thrive as the deep defender in multiple schemes means he could fit in with a lot of clubs, but a reunion with Graham in Las Vegas could be mutually beneficial.”

Raiders Could Use Playmaking Safety

Now, it has been two years since McKinney professed his distaste for the way Graham used him in his first two seasons in the NFL. If there is still any bitterness between the two, it could pretty easily be put aside because the fact is, Graham needs a playmaker on the back line like McKinney and McKinney could be a great fit with a much-improved Raiders defense.

The Raiders were ninth in points allowed and 15th in yardage allowed last season, but were just 19th in takeaways. That’s an area in which McKinney could help.

He will not be cheap but, at the same time, he won’t break the bank, either. McKinney is projected for a market value of $10.4 million per year and is slated for a five-year, $52.4 million contract by Spotrac. At PFF, his projection is slightly higher, at $13.5 million per season. They have McKinney reaping a four-year, $53 million contract this offseason.

Read More