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Raiders make smart moves on three tenders for key restricted free agents

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Raiders said hands off, locking in three RFA’s who played key roles on the team last year.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday morning the Raiders took care of some important business ahead of the start of free agency. They had three players who either started games last year and/or played pivotal roles in the Jon Gruden’s first season as head coach and they locked up all three on tenders.

They locked up starting cornerback Daryl Worley as well as running back Jalen Richard, both 2nd round tenders. This means if anyone is interested in signing either player, they will have to give up a 2nd round pick to do so.

Erik Harris was the third player they retained. He was held onto with an original round tender, which is to say no round at all because he wasn’t drafted. But it comes with a pay bump to $2.025 million and should another team try to sign him, the Raiders can match any deal he gets.

Some have said already that Worley being a third round pick, the Raiders could have used an original round tender on him as teams wouldn’t give up a third round pick to sign him. The reasoning being that he was cut last year and no one signed him then, so why would they now? Well, because he was facing a suspension at that time. He served that suspension (4 games) and then became a quality starting cornerback for the Raiders last season at the age of 24. Would you not give up a 3rd round pick for a young, quality starting cornerback? Best not to leave it to chance.

Richard tied for the team in receptions (68) out of the backfield. Gruden clearly sees him as a big part of his offense and to ensure no one else had any ideas of doing the same, he locked him up with a 2nd round tender as well.

Harris went from career special teamer to starting safety late last season. The team may have their sights set on signing or drafting a safety, but Harris is valuable competition at the spot and, of course, he is a fine special teams player.

There are only two other Restricted Free Agents on the Raiders — guard Denver Kirkland and defensive tackle Gabe Wright. It is not yet known if the team plans to retain them.