Why The Oakland Raiders Should Re-Sign Brynden Trawick

Oct 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Brynden Trawick (41) reacts after a tackle in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Brynden Trawick (41) reacts after a tackle in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Raiders safety Brynden Trawick was a key contributor on Special Teams, and the team would be wise to bring him back in 2017.

Brynden Trawick has always made his bones on special teams. He was a dynamic cover man with the Ravens, even though his time there was marred by an unfortunate incident. So despite his play as a dynamic special teams player, Baltimore let him walk, and the Oakland Raiders signed him to a one-year deal at a bargain-basement rate.

2016 Salary: $825,000 – $675,000 base; $150,000 bonus; $150,000 guaranteed
2017 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Bad move by the Ravens; fortuitous for the Raiders.

That’s because as JBB’s Maliik Obee eloquently outlines here, special teams players matter. Players as good as Trawick matter a lot.

The Raiders special teams unit was one of the best in the NFL in both kick and punt yardage and coverage. A major part of that? Brynden Trawick.

Trawick continued to play as a top-tier special teams player in 2016. This season he ranked fourth in the NFL with 15 total special teams tackles, and tied gunner Johnny Holton with 11 solo tackles for the Raiders team lead.

That’s a vast improvement from his 9 total special teams tackles as a Raven in 2015, which was still in the Top 50. But Trawick was everywhere on special teams coverage, which is enough to make him valuable in itself.

Trawick and Andre Holmes were frequently on or around the ball when the peerless Marquette King would drop a dime inside the ten or five.

Trawick routinely opened holes for Jalen Richard in the punt return game; he was recognized by Pro Football Focus as one of the top special teams players in all of football in 2016. He was a dynamo on kick returns in particular, where he made most of his 15 tackles. 

However, it was his ability to step in and play safety when both rookie Karl Joseph and veteran Nate Allen were unavailable at the end of the season that cemented his importance to this team.

Trawick had seen minimal action earlier in the season. There was no reason to think he’d see any more on defense.

Then, Karl Joseph injured his big toe against the Bills in Week 13, and didn’t return for the last four games of the season. That thrust veteran Nate Allen into the lineup, who played well until he was also forced from action with a concussion. Enter Keith McGill. Or rather, please do not enter Keith McGill.

McGill is a liability in coverage and in stopping the run. He’s tall and rangy, but that’s about it. He’s slow to react, poor at tackling and generally made mistakes and missed just about everything in the Colts game. That forced Trawick into action for the Broncos game.

Good thing too. Trawick led the team with ten tackles, six of them solo. He recorded his first career interception; he had a pass defensed. And he was, honestly, one of the Raiders top three defenders on the field in the most important game of the season.

Trawick has earned the right to a bit of a raise and a chance to compete for this team again next year. Nate Allen hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and he doesn’t possess the special teams acumen of Trawick. A choice between the two is no choice at all.

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Add in the fact that Trawick also recorded five tackles and a run stuff in the Wild Card game against Houston and that’s 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, an INT and a pass defended in his only two starts.

That is a solid stat line. Particularly when you consider coming into 2016 Trawick had appeared n 38 games in his career, and logged a total of 10 tackles and one pass defensed to go with 21 special teams tackles.

Trawick equaled his career defensive tackle and pass defensed total in one game against the Broncos.

Trawick is the right price. He’s a veteran who is still very young after turning 27 in October. He’s a leader on special teams, and he’s very happy to be in Oakland and helping to start something positive. He likes the unique dynamic of players like him — young players that are veteran leaders at the same time.

"“I see a lot of young guys that are trying to get there,” Trawick said at the beginning of 2016. “I see a team that’s young. The young guys are doing a good job in bringing the rest of the team along – everybody’s a vet. Everybody’s a leader. That’s what I like.”"

The Raiders need depth in the secondary. They need excellent special teams play. Trawick provides both, and showed when needed he’s much more than a special teams player.

With his age, skill set, leadership qualities and desire to be great and build greatness with the Raiders, he’s one player the Raiders must sign. He’s one of those end of the roster guys that end up winning or losing you games in crunch time.

Next: Derek Carr is the NFL's Most Clutch QB

Trawick’s pedigree says he wins more than he loses — and that’s a keeper.