With the Raiders needing significant help on defense heading into the 2020 season, would it make sense to bring back safety Karl Joseph?
Karl Joseph‘s walk year was going just as planned, having played arguably some of the best football of his NFL career. His weekly play was receiving noteworthy attention, but was ultimately cut short after suffering a season ending foot injury on the game-sealing interception against the Chargers in week 10.
The former first round pick has had an up and down career throughout his four seasons in the league, but it had appeared he was finally finding his groove. So should Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock look to bring him back on an extension?
Joseph isn’t going to collect all the accolades, but he will provide a heavy hitter with high-strung effort in pursuit.
When looking at the defense with and without Joseph this season, the Raiders ability to stop the run has taken a large downtick in production. Joseph’s best traits allude to his tackling and ability to stop the run, which when you circle back, it appears his play was largely overlooked during the time that the Raiders defensive unit were at least stopping the run at a reasonable rate.
Throughout the contest that Joseph has played in, the Raiders defense has allowed an average of 87 rushing yards per game. In games where he’s watched from the sideline due to injury, Oakland has allowed 119 rushing yards per game. Stopping a running game is a team effort, but Joseph’s ability had played a large part in doing so.
However, the flaws on Joseph are undoubtedly his lack of coverage skills. Being listed at 5’10’ and matching up occasionally against the opposition’s tight ends, Joseph has certainly struggled in that role.
It’s apparent that Joseph isn’t best suited for covering larger pass catchers, but if he gets put back into the position of working alongside Jonathan Abram and the Raiders utilize Daryl Worley (UFA) into a hybrid role to take upon the mis-match tight ends, Joseph could provide a considerable impact on the underneath throws and provide help in run support just as he did this season.
Considering that Joseph hasn’t quite broke through as a household name at safety, while also coming off a season ending injury, his contract expects to be a reasonable figure.
The Raiders need a collection of help in many areas on defense — most notably at linebacker, cornerback and edge rusher. The Raiders 2020 cap space, according to OverTheCap.com projects to be around $73 million.
With that said, Joseph is likely to become a cheaper free agent option on the back end and already knows the defensive system. By the Raiders signing him they already know what they’re getting into and it’ll allow the team to fill holes elsewhere without putting them into a financial bind.
Re-signing Joseph could workout in favor of the Raiders future plans.