The Raiders fell into some unexpected salary-cap space Thursday when their deal with Eli Apple dissolved. They wasted no time putting it to use.
They kept the investment in the secondary, agreeing on terms of a contract with defensive back Damarious Randall on Thursday night. That news comes via ESPN’s Josina Anderson, who said Randall texted her directly with news of the deal.
The 27-year old played free safety his last two years with the Cleveland Browns and cornerback the previous three with the Green Bay Packers.
Randall could pair with Johnathan Abram at safety or play outside cornerback, if that’s what is required. The Raiders have needs at both spots.
Randall and Abram seem like an ideal mix at safety, though the Raiders desperately need a starting outside cornerback opposite Trayvon Mullen. That position could get filled with remaining funds in free agency or with one of two first-round NFL draft picks.
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The 27-year-old Randall’s a proven commodity, with 16 interceptions in five NFL seasons. He didn’t have a pick last year but had four in every season before that.
Randall was traded from Green Bay to Cleveland before the 2018 season and was solid in coverage with the Browns. He was awesome in 2018, with four interceptions, five passes defensed and he allowed just a 68.8 passer rating when targeted.
The Raiders' secondary is better with Randall than it would’ve been with Apple in the mix, so this should be considered a win for the Silver and Black after a strange and unexpected turn of events.
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Las Vegas has three solid pieces of its secondary with Randall, Abram and Mullen. Lamarcus Joyner is expected to man the slot again in 2020, with just one more void left to fill.
The Raiders have upgraded several defensive positions, including some at every level of the unit. The team should be significantly better on that side of the ball, especially if they hit on a defensive player high in the draft.