Recently Reggie McKenzie said he was allowing last year's starting corners, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, seek work elsewhere in favor of giving their young corners a shot. Those young corners are D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie along with fourth round pick, Keith McGill. But that isn't the most ideal situation.
None of those three have proven themselves to be a lock as an NFL starter. Ideally, they would add a starting corner or at very least someone who can provide strong competition for the starting job. The Raiders would be in great shape with Hayden as a starter on one side, an added free agent starting on the other side, Carrie in the slot, and competition/depth from McGill and Neiko Thorpe.
Here are those free agents who appear most likely to fill out the Raiders' ideal cornerback rotation.
One of only a few free agent prizes at the cornerback position this year. Adding this 26-year-old former first round draft pick to the Raiders roster would effectively solidify the top three corner spots. There was even some talk he could receive the Texans' franchise tag.
He has been a fulltime starter for the Texans for the past five seasons since they used the 20th overall pick on him in the 2010 draft. He has 10 career interceptions, including 3 last season, 50 career passes defended, and averages 56 tackles per season.
He saw most of his time in the slot last season but has played better on the boundaries which means he would be an ideal starter but with the ability to take the slot when needed.
Here is what Brett Kollmann Battle Red blog had to say about Jackson:
‘Ice Kareem' is the crown jewel of the Texans free agent class. He is the top priority by far, and the Texans would be making a massive mistake if they let him go. I would argue that Jackson is the top corner on the market this year, and most NFL teams probably know that too. He will definitely get paid - and paid well - to be a number one corner whether it's in Houston or somewhere else with deep pockets. He has earned that role, and truth be told he has been the best defensive back on the team for at least the last two years.
A few seasons ago on Thanksgiving, Calvin Johnson was in the process of torching the Houston secondary to the tune of 127 yards in the first half. Wade Phillips decided to switch things up and have Jackson follow Megatron around for the rest of the game (which included almost an entire quarter of over time), and Calvin racked up a whopping 2 catches and 13 yards throughout the rest of the game. K-Jax took on the biggest, baddest Lion on the planet in a one on one cage match and whooped his ass. That's when I knew he was going to be expensive, and two years later here we are.
Moore was originally an undrafted free agent signing by the Raiders back in 2011. He didn't make the team but even then, I saw he had something special. He has made a pretty good career for himself since then. He was picked up by the Patriots his rookie season and made the key pass defended that sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
The following season he was released and picked up by the Dallas Cowboys and last season stepped in the start 7 games and played well in their playoff run.
Moore was born in Oakland and was a high school teammate of Taiwan Jones at Deer Valley HS in Antioch. This 5-10 corner is scrappy and it has paid off for him. A return to Oakland would be a good thing for both he and the Raiders. And, I mean, come on, his name is Sterling. As in Sterling silver?
Here is the David Halprin of Blogging the Boys had to say about Moore:
Sterling Moore was thrust into one of the top three corner roles this season when Morris Claiborne was injured for the year. Moore played on the outside while Orlando Scandrick slid into the slot in nickel/dime situations. Moore played fairly well for someone who wasn't supposed to have such a big role for the Cowboys. He tends to play behind receivers, protecting against a big play then coming up and making solid tackles. He gives up a fair share of completions but generally doesn't give up the big ones. With Claiborne coming back this year, Moore would likely be back in the fourth cornerback role, but he is a restricted FA and would only cost $1.5 million, something the Cowboys probably would tender him at.
Yes, I know, the Raiders went after two 49ers corners last season to find their two starters. And? It actually worked out fairly well. Cox had the best season of his career in 2014 - just his third in the NFL - starting 14 games with 5 interceptions and 18 passes defended. Prior to that, he hadn't started a game since he started nine games as a rookie in 2010 with the Broncos. He had one interception along with 14 passes defended that season.
He would most likely come to the Raiders on a short-term deal to see if his breakout season wasn't a fluke. It would also allow him the opportunity to prove he is worthy of a bigger contract and possibly cash in next offseason.