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.
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 Shawntae Spencer, FS Matt Giordano
CB Tracy Porter - The Raiders have coveted him the past two seasons since his former position coach Dennis Allen became the Raiders' head coach. They finally got him but it comes with some risk after he missed much of last season after a seizure and later a concussion. He has always had injury issues. It is a risky signing but it could pay off.
CB Mike Jenkins - One of the few low-cost free agents still on the market, the Raiders reeled him in despite interest from several other teams. He comes to Oakland on a one-year deal just as Porter did as both will look to prove they are worthy of a long term deal at starter money. He also has to prove he can return to form following a shoulder injury that required surgery last off-season. His signing at most completes a starting cornerback duo and at least puts them in a great position heading into the draft and training camp.
S Usama Young -- Call this an update to the update as the Raiders added him today. It remains to be seen which safety position he will play. He is listed at strong safety which could mean he is just a backup. He played free safety for the Browns last season, starting 11 games and reeling in 3 interceptions. He reunites with Dennis Allen who was his position coach in New Orleans.
Re-signed Free Agents: RFA CB Phillip Adams, ERFA CB Coye Francies, CB Joselio Hanson
Breakdown: Tyvon Branch is the only returning starter. There is no certain replacement at free safety and still a need for depth at safety overall. Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins were just what the doctor ordered (sorry, poor choice of words). Re-signing Joselio Hanson was important and locking up Brandian Ross is key as well. With off-season workouts right around the corner, things are moving quickly.
Secondary grade: B