Karl Joseph

NFL rumors: Karl Joseph leaves Raiders, agrees to terms with Browns

NFL rumors: Karl Joseph leaves Raiders, agrees to terms with Browns

Karl Joseph is no longer a Raider. The team’s 2016 first-round draft pick signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday evening, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported, an action set in motion last spring when the Raiders declined his fifth-year option.

The West Virginia alum wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans, something inferred through action but never spoken once the second Jon Gruden era began.

Joseph wasn’t a starter to start 2018 but assumed that responsibility as the season went on and retained the gig into 2019. He was playing his best football last year, especially around midseason. His resurgence came to a halt when he suffered a foot injury making a game-sealing interception in a Week 10 win over the Chargers.

Turns out that was his last act as a Raider. A foot specialist revealed a season-ending injury to his plantar fascia, which required screws to repair.

His injury, and the inability to prove himself in workouts and medical checks -- travel is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic -- probably hurt his market and set up a prove-it deal Joseph certainly hopes to parlay into a longer-term deal this time next year.

Joseph was the first safety taken in the 2016 NFL draft despite the fact his senior college season cut short after an ACL tear. It took some time to regain full form, which he found physically later in 2016. He had a decent year then and again in 2017, but it took him some time to master Paul Guenther’s defensive scheme. The Raiders defensive coordinator turned him loose near the line of scrimmage later in 2018, which allowed Joseph to make impact plays. He was reliable and effective pre-injury, but that was never thought to earn a new deal and a return engagement to the Raiders.

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He was expected to head elsewhere all offseason – the Raiders told him to test the market -- a fact cemented when the Raiders agreed to terms with former Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath.

Now Joseph is a Cleveland Brown, leaving just Gabe Jackson, Derek Carr and Marquel Lee as draft picks selected by former general manager Reggie McKenzie before Gruden’s return to the Raiders. There are only seven Raiders on the roster from the pre-Gruden era. [David Sharpe was a McKenzie pick but doesn’t count because he was cut and brought back].

Raiders have tough choices ahead with players headed for NFL free agency

Raiders have tough choices ahead with players headed for NFL free agency

The Raiders will have a busy offseason with significant roster turnover. That’s the Jon Gruden way, after all, especially while reconstructing this roster after a major teardown in 2018.

We’ve discussed the team’s biggest offseason needs, the possibility of some high-profile cuts and some early ideas on free-agent targets.

The Raiders have to make decisions on their own players with expiring contracts.

They’ve already retained one this week, signing interior lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year contract.

Many others, however, won’t be heading to Vegas. The Raiders have 19 players headed for unrestricted free agency in March, and obviously won’t keep them all. Some will be allowed to walk out the front door. Others will sign contracts the Silver and Black weren’t willing to match. A few should remain with the Raiders.

Open-market value obviously weighs heavily on these decisions, but we can still take an early look at soon-to-be free agents with the highest profiles and whether the Raiders should chase hard or simply let them leave:

CB Daryl Worley: Coaches like Worley’s toughness and versatility and appreciated his willingness to move around the secondary in an attempt to shore up weak spots. Worley is a serviceable outside cornerback, but the Silver and Black should look for a better long-term solution. The Raiders could still re-sign him as a bridge cornerback while developing Isaiah Johnson, though Worley might not like that. He’s looking for the biggest financial commitment, which likely will be found somewhere else.
My take: Consider keeping him on a shorter-term deal, but don’t get into a bidding war. Under those circumstances, I bet he bounces. 

S Karl Joseph: The Raiders could’ve locked Joseph up for 2020 but declined his fifth-year option. That will put him on the market this spring in a weird place. Joseph played some of his best football last year, providing a steady, physical presence in the back while working with Erik Harris. He’s also coming off a foot injury that ended his season early and required surgery. That might depress his market value, though he’s expected to make a full recovery. Joseph would pair well with Johnathan Abram in the back and might not be overly expensive. The Raiders also could move Lamarcus Joyner to safety or acquire another one. Erik Harris already is under contract as excellent depth, negating the need to bring Joseph back.
My take: Re-sign him, focus draft assets on other positions. (P.S. I’m not sure the Raiders agree)

LB Vontaze Burfict: The Raiders defended Burfict at every turn after he was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season after an illegal hit against Indianapolis that got him ejected. A major suspension, maybe even an outright ban, is possible if he makes a similar mistake. I still think the Raiders re-sign Burfict despite those facts. Paul Guenther loves him as a friend and field general but obviously will have a quality Plan B in the middle.
My take: I believe Burfict comes back.

RB Jalen Richard: The third-down back saw fewer carries than he is accustomed used to but is a quality receiver and an excellent pass protector. He’s a tougher runner inside than you’d think and is a big play waiting to happen. Josh Jacobs might be the featured back, but Richard’s an important part of that position group.
My take: Re-sign him right away.

KR/PR Dwayne Harris: Jon Gruden loves Harris, but the lightning-quick special teams standout hurt the Raiders more than he helped in 2019. He was unavailable most of the year and will be 33 next season. The Raiders need to find a new return man.
My take: Let him walk.

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DE Benson Mayowa: The veteran was a situational pass rusher who had a bunch of sacks early and faded late. His career-high seven sacks should provide a solid payday, and he’s going to whichever team is the highest bidder. That team won’t be the Raiders.
My take: Mayowa’s on the move.

LB Will Compton: The veteran was pondering retirement before the Raiders came calling during the season but proved he can still play. Compton’s a sure tackler, a smart player, and a great locker-room presence. He could help on special teams and provide a veteran Plan B for Burfict, mentoring a linebacking group that should feature some highly-touted additions.
My take: Bring him back another year.

DL Dion Jordan: Gruden and Guenther called Jordan a Las Vegas Raider several times last season. They found a diamond in the rough, with Jordan on the right path and in great shape following a 10-game suspension to start the season. The Raiders liked his interior pass-rush ability and need it again next year. I believe the Raiders want him back and that Jordan wants to return, but another team might throw a bigger compensation package at him. He takes it if that happens.
My take: Re-sign him before free agency hits. His value might inflate on the open market.

RB DeAndre Washington: Washington was a true feature back during the season’s last two games, with Jacobs nursing a sore shoulder. He knows those opportunities won’t exist with the Raiders unless Jacobs is hurt. That’s why -- while he says he’s open to a return -- he’ll look for a better opportunity somewhere else. That should be fine with the Raiders, who should fill his roster spot with a bigger back.
My take: Washington finds another landing spot.

CB Nevin Lawson: The veteran played better over the last few games and provided quality depth and injury protection all season. He isn’t vital to future plans and could be allowed to walk away so Johnson, Keisean Nixon and maybe another draft pick could be in a better position to play.
My take: Let him go.

LB Kyle Wilber: He doesn’t play much defense but has been a core special teams player who's well-liked by coordinator Rich Bisaccia. The Raiders have developed young players to lead in the kicking game, meaning they don’t need Wilber as bad as they have before.
My take: Let Wilber walk.

QB Mike Glennon: The Raiders will want to get younger at backup quarterback. That spot could go to Nathan Peterman if Derek Carr is around. Or, if the Raiders make a quarterback switch, it could be a draft pick learning under a free-agent pickup.
My take: Mike’s on to another team no matter how it shakes out.

Raiders need Daryl Worley to be stabilizing force with secondary in flux

Raiders need Daryl Worley to be stabilizing force with secondary in flux

ALAMEDA -- Daryl Worley made the best play of his career nearly a month ago now. He covered Detroit receiver Kenny Golladay like a fire blanket, establishing a perfect position heading toward the end zone. He was able to turn around, see the ball thrown and track it before reaching up to make a spectacular one-handed interception.

That was a huge play in a Week 9 victory Worley will never forget. His real badge of honor doesn’t come from that. Worley takes pride in his reputation as someone teammates don’t have to worry about. He has been stable and steady in the three games since, allowing four receptions for 56 yards, with three passes defensed on 11 targets in that span.

That has been vital in recent weeks, during a period of upheaval in the secondary. Karl Joseph was lost for the season and Lamarcus Joyner has missed two games with a hamstring -- he’s expected back Sunday against Kansas City -- so Worley thought it important to be a rock on one side of the field.

“Being a stabilizing force is important at times like this,” Worley said. “That’s something I spoke with the coaches about back in OTAs. Coach Gruden challenged me to step and play the best football of my career. I feel like I have been doing that this season. Being my best each and every game day makes those around me better. Knowing that they can rely on me to make plays, I know that everyone else responds.”

Worley must continue his trend of solid coverage and make up for his worst game of the season. He allowed four receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown on seven targets in a Week 2 loss to Kansas City, a when blown coverages and deep shots blew the game wide open.

Chiefs will test this secondary regularly, especially with Joyner coming off injury, Trayvon Mullen just a rookie and safety D.J. Swearinger new to this defense. The Chiefs have the speed to spare, so Raiders coverage must be better overall to keep up with the high-flying Chiefs attack.

That means Worley must be as reliable as he has recently.

“He’s a smart corner, and obviously athletic,” safety Erik Harris said. “He has the intelligence of a safety in how he sees the game from his position and obviously has the athleticism to play cornerback. You don’t have to have to worry about him. You just make sure he gets the call and then let him do his thing and play around him. You just let him make plays and get into the zone. That’s biggest thing about Daryl. He is always where he’s supposed to be.”

The Raiders planned to move Worley inside, into more of a hybrid safety role midway through this season -- they tried that experiment in Week 2 in an attempt to handle Travis Kelce -- but have largely abandoned that objective without the cornerback depth required to move him inside more often.

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He will be ready for anything against the Chiefs drawing tough assignments dealing with Chiefs speed quite often by himself. Worley must be steady and avoid major mistakes, but the Raiders might need some Lions-type interception magic to pull this one out.

“He’s done a good job. He’s really battled,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “The guy can play multiple positions for us. He does whatever you ask of him. Daryl is one of the best note takers in our room. He’s very prepared every week. He’s a guy that our young players look after. He’s a guy that can play all the spots.”