Grading Raiders 2013 off-season moves: Secondary

Jeff Gross

Grading the Raiders off-season moves thus far at the Safety and Cornerback positions.

After covering the Raiders first line of defense - the Defensive Line and Linebackers - it's time to move on to their last line of defense - the Secondary.

You don't have to go back to last off-season to see how chaotic the Raiders Secondary has been. It began in the off-season but continued all season long. In the off-season it was out with the underachieving, overpaid Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson and in with cast-off veterans Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell.

The Raiders starting group didn't last one game. Bartell went out in the opener and then Spencer joined him on the injured list in week two. The changeover kept going all season long and by the end of the season, the secondary was a who's who of "Who?". Every indication is, it will be nearly unrecognizable again by September.

My one disclaimer here is to consider these are not necessarily grades of how good the position is for the Raiders but merely grading the movements (or lack of) the team made with regard to options, upgrades/downgrades, and departures vs additions.

Departures:

S Michael Huff - Huff switched to cornerback in week two of the season and was playing pretty well by the end of the season. He was one of the big contract players on this team but it was thought the team would stand pat with him after having restructured his deal last off-season. Cutting him was a bit of a surprise and the June 1st designation had to be used to save money against the cap this season. Even so, he didn't save the team much. He signed with the Ravens at $2 million per season.

S Mike Mitchell - He showed some flashes at safety in relief of Tyvon Branch. But the team brought back Branch on a restructured contract and Mitchell would have remained a backup. His departure leave a void as far as depth in concerned but it is not a major issue.

Unsigned Free Agents: ERFA CB Brandian Ross, CB Joselio Hanson, CB Shawntae Spencer, FS Matt Giordano

Additions

None

Re-signed Free Agents: RFA CB Phillip Adams, ERFA CB Coye Francies

Breakdown: Tyvon Branch is the only returning starter. There is no free safety or corners ready to step up. Very few attempts have been made to fill the void and none have bared fruit. This area is of utmost importance now. The Raiders have hosted two cornerbacks but have yet to sign anyone.

Secondary grade: D


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