Starters: Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph
Depth: Keith McGill
Free Agents: Nate Allen, Brynden Trawick
Last year at this time, safety was the most critical position. To remedy the problem, they added Nelson in free agency and made Joseph their top pick in the draft.
Nelson was signed to a 2-year free agent contract prior to last season. He collected 5 interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Joseph was drafted at 14 overall to play strong safety right away and potentially shift to free safety down the road. Coming off a major knee injury his senior season at West Virginia, he got off to a slow start. By midseason he was showing signs of being the talent the Raiders hoped he would be before being lost for the season with a foot injury in week 12.
McGill switched to safety this season after playing corner his first two seasons. He has not shown much promise at either position.
Allen and Trawick were valuable depth at safety. Trawick was also a standout special teams player.
Condition: Touch and go
The team could get by with the starters they have for this season. But losing either or both Allen and Trawick would leave the Raiders with depth questions. There is also a possibility they make a move with regard to Nelson. He is approaching 34 years of age, so the team must begin thinking about a long term solution. Despite his interception totals, Nelson had his issues in coverage. Should the team find an option they like better, cutting him frees up $4.25 million and leaves behind no dead money. Should they find a strong safety, Joseph could move to free safety.