As the Las Vegas Raiders continue to avoid signing free-agent defensive backs, many of them continue to sit untouched on the free-agent market. While the Raiders were not directly tied to six-time Pro Bowler Richard Sherman’s alleged trip to Las Vegas this week, the reports of his appearance were more than enough to get the rumor mill up and running. Although Sherman would be a great veteran presence and an incredible teacher with his incredible football IQ, his health fell under question following a rocky 2020 season. Should he stay healthy, he would be an impressive signing for the Silver and Black. The NFL remains a pass-happy league.
On the other side of health concerns, former Pittsburgh Steeler Steven Nelson has also found his way to the free agency market. In Nelson’s last three years, he has missed a total of two games and has not played less than 15 games since 2017. Nelson has also logged seven interceptions in his last three seasons, which shows the 28-year old still knows what he is doing.
As far as safeties go, Tre Boston was released by the Carolina Panthers, one year into his new deal. Boston is listed as a post-June 1st release, so there will be some time before the Raiders can make a move. However, Boston is the perfect combination of coverage (7 interceptions in his last three seasons) and tackling (95 total tackles last season) and could serve as a lead-by-example mentor for Johnathan Abram.
Another safety with starting potential is Tashaun Gipson. Gipson would join the team as a 31-year old. Yet, he still plays spry. For example, he recorded two interceptions while playing 1000+ snaps. Plus, he competed in all 16 games for the fourth time in his last five seasons. To make Gipson even more attractive, he joined the Chicago Bears in 2020. His base salary sat above $1 million, so he certainly would not be breaking the bank in Las Vegas.
Should the Raiders come searching, talented defensive backs are available. Whether it be playing/mentoring or just playing, Las Vegas would be incredibly foolish to not sign anyone. Youth and agility do play major roles in designing a defense, but so does experience. Some of these signings arrive as potential one-year deals. With the Raiders’ window for success beginning to close, these could work out perfectly to help the Raiders.
Yes, Las Vegas did sign Jason Witten last season as a player/mentor. However, every single noteworthy defensive back free agent can provide more than Witten did. Of all the available players, none seem even remotely close to being washed up. At the backend of their career, maybe, but what is better motivation than fans questioning remaining talent?