Raiders Could Find Safety Help in Loaded Free-agent Class

The Raiders need some safety help. Karl Joseph is expected to lock down one spot but needs a partner pretty bad.

Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist aren't expected back, leaving a void at the free safety spot the Silver and Black can fill in several different ways.

They can attack the position via the NFL draft, with restricted Erik Harris expected back as an experienced option should a young player not be ready.

Or…the Raiders could jump on an ever-expanding free agent market loaded with talented veterans.

Eric Weddle joined it yesterday after Baltimore released him. Landon Collins is set for it after the New York Giants didn't franchise tag him.

They're now part of a loaded free-agent class that including Earl Thomas, Adrian Amos, LaMarcus Joyner, Tyrann Mathieu, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Tre Boston and Kenny Vaccaro.

Adding a veteran presence to a young secondary with presumptive starters in Joseph and cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley – he's expected to return via restricted free agency – would help keep the group operating well.

Weddle told The Athletic he plans to take some free-agent visits this week, and possibly sign – players cut can sign with new teams right away -- before unrestricted free agency begins for those on expiring contracts on March 13.

The Raiders were interested in Weddle back in 2015, when he was last on the free-agent market. That was a different time with different decision makers so it's uncertain how Jon Gruden views him, but there's no doubting Weddle can still be an impactful player and leader on the back end even at age 34.

There are younger options available who can help playing deep safety, and their talent and market price will be compared to draft-eligible options in the early and middle rounds.

Collins is a popular name, but should cost a pretty penny and is known as a box safety. The Raiders need someone with versatility, especially someone comfortable playing deep.

A ballhawk is needed and Thomas is the best in the group, but could be prohibitively expensive considering his injury history. Mathieu is another attraction who might be too costly to realistically acquire.

Amos is an excellent player worthy of strong consideration. He's only 26 and has solid all-around skill, even though his interception count hasn't been high.

Clinton Dix is another serviceable option who can help on the back end.

The glut of free agents could drive the price down for some, making someone just below the top flight affordable and attractive to a Raiders team looking to get younger while adding some leadership to the defensive end.

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