One of the big decisions the Oakland Raiders will have to make this offseason will be at the nickel corner position. D.J. Hayden is set to be a free agent, but that’s not a big decision. The Raiders should let Hayden walk and in all likelihood, they will. But what do they do with the nickel corner position?
T.J. Carrie played well when Hayden went down late in the season with an injury. But you have to wonder if it was enough to convince the coaches who up until that point, believed Hayden was the better option. If Jack Del Rio and crew are not convinced that Carrie is the man to do the job, they may look to free agency as an option to upgrade that position.
As always, we’re looking at three options for the Raiders. I’m not saying they’re the best options, but they are options I think are worth discussing either because of fit or actual potential to sign them given the cap restraints.
Logan Ryan is a guy who isn’t likely to hit the free agent market, but if he does, he would be a nice get for the Raiders. Unlike some of the more popular names out there, Ryan has a good amount of experience as a slot corner, which is really what the Raiders need. But with that being said, he’s also played outside and we all know how much the Raiders (and I) like versatile guys. Ryan can man the slot corner now position and next offseason, if Sean Smith hasn’t improved and the Raiders decide to cut him, Ryan would be an option to move outside. Plus, he’s young at 26 and won’t require a huge overpay since he’s been overshadowed in free agency talk by guys like A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore and Trumaine Johnson. I assume the Patriots are going to keep Ryan but we can dream, right?
If you’re looking for a slot corner, which the Raiders are, Munnerlyn is the prototype for that need in this free agent class. He’s somewhat of an up and down player who has never really been great, but he’s one of the best options available if you’re looking exclusively for a slot corner. He’s a seasoned veteran with a ton of experience in the slot who had a down year last season so his price tag shouldn’t bee too high. Plus, Munnerlyn has said that his focus in free agency will be finding a team that he can win with. If that’s truly a priority, Oakland is THE up and coming young team in the NFL.
Every time I do one of these lists, I try really hard to find a guy I think there is actually a decent chance the Raiders would sign. This go round, it’s Sterling Moore. In my opinion, Moore is an undervalued player who can be had cheap. He doesn’t have a huge ceiling and will never be a star caliber cornerback, but he’s a solid and versatile corner. There’s that word again, you know I love it. Moore can play outside and in the slot which is really valuable for a team looking at a secondary that struggled as much as the Raiders’ secondary did last season. He won’t wow you with pick sixes, but he’s a solid starter who would definitely be an upgrade over what Oakland had in the slot last season.
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