We should expect the Oakland Raiders to make a series of moves this offseason to better help their football team. The Raiders have some capital available to be aggressive in a few spots in free agency. One position group that Oakland may look at upgrading is at free safety.
Last year’s starter at free safety in Reggie Nelson will be hitting unrestricted free agency. While he was a Pro Bowler in his first year with the Raiders in 2016, he was anything but that in 2017. Nelson was unable to ballhawk like he did a year ago, as often got burnt like toast in the horrible Oakland secondary.
Nelson will be entering his 12th year in the league and he is already 34 years old. He could re-up with the Raiders, as new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther got the most out of Nelson when they used to work together with the Cincinnati Bengals. Oakland may also want to look at upgrading free safety in the upcoming draft. But who is to say that Alabama Crimson Tide’s Minkah Fitzpatrick will be available for the Raiders to take at No. 9 or No. 10 in the draft.
Should the Raiders move on from Nelson in free agency, here are five free agent free safeties to look at bringing aboard this spring. Truth be told, this is not a deep free agency class in general and beggars can’t be choosers this spring in the free safety market if we’re being totally honestly. But here we go.
The Legion of Boom might be dead in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Seahawks failed to reach the NFC playoffs for the first time since Russell Wilson became their starting quarterback in 2012. Seattle has become a team more about being political than being a dominant football team. The Seahawks’ stars are getting older and they are getting expensive.
In the wake of guys like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas possibly being released or Kam Chancellor having to go into early retirement for medical reasons, the Seahawks could lose another member of their secondary in free agency in free safety DeShawn Shead.
Yes, Shead barely played for the 2017 Seahawks. Do keep in mind that he tore his Achilles’ during the NFC playoffs versus the Atlanta Falcons last January. Before that gruesome injury, Shead was starting to look like a reliable starter in the Seattle secondary. Could he be able to bounce back with the Silver and Black in 2018?
He might stick with the Seahawks since it will be the same defensive scheme with Ken Norton Jr. now running things on that side of the ball. Since Shead is coming off a serious injury, he might be available at a discount for a team in desperate need of defensive back help like the Raiders. It would be a gamble to sign Shead, but it could allow the Raiders to free up more capital to fix other parts of their lackluster defense.