When David Amerson reports for Raiders training camp later this month, he'll know he has the full faith of the franchise.
Amerson, coming off a remarkable season in which he was waived by Washington but then thrived in Oakland, goes into camp with a new four-year deal with the Raiders worth a reported $38 million, $18 million of that guaranteed.
After playing so badly in Washington that he lost his starting job, was benched and then tossed aside, Amerson has started a second chapter of his career in silver and black and has been penciled in as a starting corner alongside free-agent signee Sean Smith.
With the Raiders, Amerson had four interceptions, 35 passes defensed and 53 tackles in 14 games, 12 of them starts. The analytics website Pro Football Focus named Amerson its Most Improved Player in the NFL for 2015. After opposing quarterbacks posted a 140.2 rating when throwing to receivers defended by him in 2014, that rating dropped to 62.7 in 2015 with the Raiders.
Of course, the Raiders are gambling that the Amerson they saw in 2015 is the one they've just richly rewarded. If Amerson reverts to his previous form with Washington, it will be a costly mistake.
But general manager Reggie McKenzie wanted to improve the Raiders' secondary for 2016, and the new deal with Amerson is just the latest of his moves to do just that, locking up Amerson for the near future. He's also brought in Smith, safety Reggie Nelson and used his No. 1 pick on safety Karl Joseph.
Wrote Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group: "Together with ... Sean Smith, who left Kansas City and signed a four-year, $40 million contract, $20 million of which is guaranteed, the Raiders have made a considerable investment in what has been a problem area in recent years."
After joining the Raiders last season, Amerson said he had a renewed focus to his career. Now he has a much bigger paycheck, too.
"I felt like I had something to prove," he told reporters at the end of 2015. "I definitely feel like I am a good corner in this league and want to prove that."