Oakland Raiders Sign Nate Allen


Dec 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Nate Allen (29) intercepts a pass intended for New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle in the fourth quarter during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Help is on the way to the Oakland Raiders secondary as after releasing the expensive Tyvon Branch the replacement at safety has finally arrived early in 2015 NFL Free Agency as general manager Reggie McKenzie believes that he will have a fix to the team’s woes in finding a solid partner for Charles Woodson at the back of the defense.

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According to multiple reports, including from Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders have agreed to terms with former Philadelphia Eagles safety Nate Allen to bolster the defensive back depth on the roster. The first signing in the secondary for Oakland this offseason, and the only target of the team in the position group, McKenzie put a focus on Allen who was visiting in the Bay Area for the past few days before locking himself in on Thursday morning.

Allen set a career high in interceptions last season with four, boosting his value even if the Eagles decided to let him walk. Oakland were obviously quick to snap him up, landing the free agent just two days into the official free agency period to be an expected starter at the safety position in 2015.

Turning 28 at the end of the year, Allen is a veteran who still has a few years of his prime left to play so the deal to bring him in was a wise one after getting burned by season ending injuries from Tyvon Branch in the past two years. If healthy Branch would have been a better player, but likely coming in cheaper and more healthy Allen should be an upgrade at the position in terms of reliability along with having talent to produce with a starting role alongside Charles Woodson.

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Pro Football Focus showed Allen plenty of love in the 2014 season where he was the 28th ranked safety according to their rankings, a full 40 spots ahead of 68th ranked Charles Woodson. Allen does have limitations in his game and is by no means one of the top players in the league, but he will be able to be a dependable talent that the team has sorely need over the past few seasons while also having some big play skills as evidenced by his career high in INTs in a contract year.

Now with their starting safety in check expect the Raiders to turn some attention towards the cornerback position as veteran replacements are needed for Carlos Rogers amongst others to pair with youngsters in DJ Hayden and TJ Carrie. Some of the big names at corner are finding teams already so McKenzie will need to act quick, but there is a need to add on defensive back talent now that Allen is locked in and the Raiders would be smart to bring in some corners for visits sooner rather than later to pair with their already set safety position in the coming weeks.