There are so many solid potential free agent corners this offseason, it can be hard to know where to begin. And that’s before you figure there will be a few more once cap casualties come in. That is not good news in many ways. Obviously because it ups the chances of finding a good one, but also because more choice means less chance of having to overpay for the guy you want.
And, hey, the Raiders will be in that market, so it works out pretty well for them. Here are the guys you should keep an eye on.
Figured to be the prize cornerback of free agency the past couple seasons before getting slapped with the franchise tag. Now the 28-year-old cornerback could finally be headed for free agency. Johnson pulled in a hefty $16.7 million under his second straight tag last season. Unlikely he’ll get close to that in free agency, but he will get paid well regardless as he will be in high demand.
For reasons Bill Belichick of course will not divulge, he not only benched his former Super Bowl hero cornerback, but didn’t play him a single snap vs the Eagles. The result was not unexpected – Nick Foles and the Eagles cut through them like warm butter.
Butler was in tears on the sideline during the National Anthem knowing that his coach was not going to play him on defense. It leaves Butler quite disgruntled and a virtual lock to leave the Patriots this offseason to seek his fortunes elsewhere.
“They gave up on me. Fuck. It is what it is,” Butler told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I don’t know what it was. I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”
This is a pretty shitty way to treat a corner who helped your team win two Super Bowls, including having the game-winning interception in 2014 against the Seahawks. It’s what we’ve come to expect from the Patriots over the years though. This time it bit them.
The former 14th overall pick missed all of the 2016 season, causing the Bears not to pick up his fifth year option. But outside of that, he has not been an injury prone player, appearing in every game in his other three NFL seasons. Last season, he started all 16 games, picking up two picks and an impressive 22 passes defended. Also impressive was his 68 tackles (60 solo). He’s just 25 years of age, which means he has a lot of career left while showing a great deal of potential in his three full NFL seasons.
He doesn’t intercept the ball much. He has just 7 in his 7-year career, with no picks over the past two seasons. But he also doesn’t allow a lot of catches or yards after the catch. Last season he was targeted just 51 times, giving up 31 catches and only one touchdown. He is good at keeping receivers in front of him and is a solid tackler, evidenced by giving up just 90 yards after the catch.
Along with adding one of the above, the Raiders need to keep Carrie. He was the team’s most consistent cornerback all season whether in the slot or as a starter. The Bay Area native (Antioch) and De La Salle grad needs to be kept at home in Oakland where he belongs.
On the winning side of things in the Super Bowl was Patrick Robinson. The 30-year-old former top pick out of Florida State has bounced around quite a bit in his 8 years in the league, including four teams the past four years. Ending up with the Eagles led to him having a career year with 4 interceptions and 18 passes defended.
But before you go thinking this was a one-off thing, he has had good seasons before. Four picks ties for his career best (2011) as does 18 pass breakups (2012).
The idea of signing Robinson is contingent upon re-signing Carrie. Should he be allowed to walk for whatever reason, Robinson would be a suitable replacement as slot corner.