Who should get more and less playing time for the Oakland Raiders
By Matt Holder
Fewer Reps: Lamarcus Joyner
After signing a four-year $42 million contract, Joyner has not lived up to the hype. The defensive back has allowed four touchdowns, a completion percentage of 69.4, and a passer rating of 112.7 when targeted. Not exactly what the Raiders are looking from the team’s highest-paid defensive player.
If the team is considering moving on, that will be a very expensive decision as Joyner’s contract carries $8 million in dead money next season. When asked about changing the veteran’s role with the team, Gruden stated that he didn’t want to break in a new nickel but this is the perfect time to do so. Limiting the veteran’s playing time gives the organization an opportunity to see if one of its young players can fill the slot corner role and serve as research for what might be the team’s toughest offseason decision.
More Reps: Keisean Nixon
With the playoffs out of the question, this is the time of year preseason heroes start to resurface. Nixon was arguably the most impressive player back in August but has barely seen the field – eight defensive snaps – when the games count. This isn’t surprising as the majority of undrafted free agents ride the bench year one but now is a great opportunity to see what he’s got.
The South Carolina product primarily played on the outside in college but did get a handful of snaps as a slot corner. It would be worth it to kick the tires on Nixon and see if he has any potential to serve as Joyner’s replacement. Worst case scenario, the rookie isn’t the answer and Mayock and Gruden have more insight into their upcoming dilemma.