By and large, the NFL free agency period has come and gone. Things are starting to wind down as teams round out their free agency signings. All things considered, now would be a good time to look at the free agency acquisitions made by the Oakland Raiders – or at least their key signings. Bear in mind that the Raiders entered free agency with more than $70 million in available cap space. They also entered the offseason needing to resign few, if any, high-profile players.
Recap: Oakland Raiders Free Agency Acquisitions
Antonio Brown – Wide Receiver
The Oakland Raiders received Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for two picks (a 3rd and a 5th) in the 2019 NFL Draft. Brown brings some much-needed talent to what was arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Throw in the fact that Jared Cook was an impending free agent and it’s easy to see why the Raiders jumped at this opportunity.
Oakland also fulfilled Brown’s request for a new contract, which made him the highest paid receiver in the league. As a result, the Raiders have effectively reset the market for wide receivers. Brown is the only receiver in NFL history to have six consecutive seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. His talent will undoubtedly make him a focal point of head coach Jon Gruden’s offense moving forward.
Trent Brown – Offensive Tackle
This year’s free agency period was just a few minutes old when the Raiders made former New England Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. This move has been met with plenty of scrutiny, but it makes sense put into perspective. Derek Carr was sacked an astonishing 51 times last year, which was more than his previous two seasons combined.
The rookies – first round pick Kolton Miller and fifth round pick Brandon Parker – both struggled tremendously. With this signing, Miller can slide over to right tackle and Brandon Parker can head back the bench where he belongs. Signing Brown also allows the Raiders to focus on the litany of other holes they have in the upcoming draft, which currently exist in the team’s defense.
Lamarcus Joyner – Safety
Upgrading the secondary is a must in a division with elite quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers. After rotating through abysmal safeties like Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist, it was clear that the safety position was a priority. 2016 first round pick Karl Joseph came on strong at the end of the season as the team’s starting strong safety and showed that he could be a building block for the future.
Lamarcus Joyner is being brought in to lock down the free safety position and add talent to what is a suspect secondary. Add in the fact that he didn’t give up a single reception for more than 19 yards last season and it’s easy to see why the Raiders made him one of their top targets in free agency.
Tyrell Williams – Wide Receiver
Tyrell Williams is the perfect compliment to Antonio Brown. While Brown does many things well, he mainly specializes in yards after catch. Teams will have to play a safety deep in passing downs every time Williams is on the field, which will afford Antonio Brown more flexibility to do what he does best.
Last Word on Oakland Raiders Free Agency Signings
What you’re seeing now is an organization that’s doing everything possible to surround Derek Carr with talent. This is in an effort to help determine if he’s the future of the organization, or if the team needs to start looking elsewhere. The fact that the Raiders receiving corps has gone from abysmal to respectable in the span of a week is telling.
The Oakland Raiders came into free agency with one goal in mind: Offensive upgrades. This is a strong plan considering the upcoming draft class appears to be heavy on the defense. With these signings, it’s clear that the Raiders weren’t as content with a slow rebuild as many originally thought. Jon Gruden and the Raiders want to be Super Bowl ready by the time they relocate to Las Vegas in 2020.
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