With the 53-player roster needing to be set in less than 24 hours, the Raiders already made one of the bigger moves in the NFL on Friday when they cut free-agent addition, safety Damarious Randall, who was expected to be a starter when he signed.
With Randall out of the picture, the Raiders can either stick in-house for their starting safety opposite Johnathan Abram or they can pursue a veteran on the open market.
Currently, it seems like incumbent Erik Harris has the best shot to start opposite Abram. Harris played a lot last year. He is the type of player a team looks to upgrade from every offseason and that’s what the Raiders did by signing Randall. But Harris is also the type of player who works his tail off, is super smart and knows the defense. He is the type of player you root for and, clearly, the Raiders’ coaching staff loves him.
Free-agent addition, Jeff Heath, will likely also play a lot and could start over Harris. Dallin Leavitt could make the team again as a backup.
The Raiders could also add a veteran safety. The big name, of course, is Earl Thomas. He hasn’t gotten any reported interest since he was cut nearly two weeks ago by Baltimore after hitting a teammate. Thomas is talented, but he is 31 and his skills may be diminishing and he doesn’t have a good reputation as a teammate. I still don’t think he’s a great fit for Las Vegas.
Other potential additions at safety include Tony Jefferson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, although the Raiders reportedly aren’t interested in.
For anyone playing connect-the-dots with Adrian Peterson and Ha Ha Clinton-Nix and the @Raiders: The sense is the Raiders are not looking in either's direction.— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) September 4, 2020
Whatever happens, this is a position group to watch in the coming days after the unexpected Randall move.