The legal NFL free agency tampering period begins in less than two weeks (remember, Trent Brown was secured in the first hours of the tampering period, so that countdown is important). While the focus for Raiders’ fan is on who the team may spend its $50 million-plus in salary cap room on from the outside.
We have covered and will continue to cover that aspect as free agency approaches. But, in this post, we want to discuss the Raiders’ own free agents and whether they will have a chance to make the move to Las Vegas.
Here they are ranked in order:
Daryl Worley: Just because he’s the top player on this list, it doesn’t mean he is a high priority. It’s not a great list but I do think Worley is decent having started 15 games last season and he is only 25. He is far from perfect and he is definitely a No. 2 (maybe No. 3 on a good defense) rather than a top cornerback. The Raiders are reportedly trying to get better at the position this offseason, which means that Worley may be allowed to walk. Cornerbacks routinely get overpaid in free agency and that could be the case with Worley on the open market.
Karl Joseph: I could see where some people would rank Joseph over Worley. But the truth is, Joseph just hasn’t worked out after being the No. 14 overall draft pick four years. Yes, he can hit a little bit. Yes, he has made some strides and, yes, he is better in Paul Guenther’s system than in the previous system. But is he really a player who you can count on to become a true starter and one who can stay healthy for the long term? I doubt Joseph will command a big deal on the open market, so perhaps he will be brought back at a good price. But I’d like to see the Raiders upgrade at safety.
Dion Jordan: The No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013 flashed some for the Raiders late last season. He had two sacks and five tackles in seven games with the Raiders. Jordan, whose career has been affected by NFL suspensions, is athletic and perhaps he could be a rotational player for the Raiders in 2020, and shouldn’t be expensive to keep.
DeAndre Washington: The fifth-round pick in 2016 is similar to Jalen Richard (who was an undrafted signing in 2016), but he has been less effective. Yet, Washington had his moments last season when he helped beat the Chargers in December with 85 rushing yards with rookie starter Josh Jacobs hurt. Washington had 308 yards and 36 receptions. If the Raiders add a bigger backup, they likely won’t keep both Richard (he’s already re-signed and will stay) and Washington. But if Washington stays, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Raiders.
Benson Mayowa: He’s just a guy, but he does have some pass-rush burst. But Mayowa lost playing time as the season went on, even though the Raiders were lacking at his position. He probably won’t be a high priority for the Raiders. Mayowa’s seven sacks last season could perhaps get him a decent deal on the open market, according to an NFL source.
Will Compton: Compton took time away from starter Tahir Whitehead after he was signed mid-season. Compton is a smart, love-of-the-game type that Jon Gruden appreciates so he could be back, but the Raiders will likely look for an upgrade first.
Jordan Devey: He was signed last year to be a top backup, but missed the final 12 games with a torn pec. The Raiders recently re-signed Denzelle Good to be a top backup, but Devey could possibly come back a backup again.
Vontaze Burfict: He may be listed much higher on other people’s lists but I just don’t see the point of re-signing him. The NFL won’t hesitate to suspend him if he sneezes too loud on the field. I just think the Raiders should go in another direction at linebacker.
Conclusion: As you can tell, there aren’t a lot of must-retain players on this list. Every one one is replaceable. Perhaps the losses of Worley and Joseph would hurt if the Raiders don’t sufficiently replace them, but neither loss would be crushing. So, the Raiders are good shape here — they can cherry pick their own free agents and let others the move on.