The Raiders clearly aren’t satisfied with their safety depth. That’s evident through action, the only true barometer of an NFL team’s roster evaluation.
Despite having clear-cut starters and reserves at the position, the Raiders have still been hunting for upgrades.
They gave an offer sheet to restricted free agent safety Sean Richardson, but the Packers matched the deal to keep him in Green Bay.
The Raiders reportedly put a waiver claim on safety D.J. Swearinger, who was released by Houston earlier this week. They have No. 4 priority regarding waiver claims – it follows the draft order during the offseason – making it a realistic chance Swearinger could’ve been a Raider. Tampa Bay has top priority, and was awarded the 2013 second-round pick.
The team could’ve secured depth through the draft but did not. They’ve gone after a pair of NFL players this offseason, trying to add depth to a position without long-term answers.
Charles Woodson has played at a high level but, at age 39, it’s tough to imagine him carrying on much longer. Nate Allen was signed to a front-loaded four-year deal that allows the Raiders to get out of the contract clean if he’s healthy and cut by the third day of the 2016 league year.
Reserve safeties also provide help on special teams, which the Raiders are trying to upgrade.
They have some quality in reserve. Brandian Ross showed improvement playing significant snaps for the injured Tyvon Branch in back-to-back seasons. He’s a solid player who could also be used/needed at a slot cornerback. Larry Asante played a small role for last year’s club and is in the mix. Second-year pro Jonathan Dowling remains a developmental prospect.
Undrafted rookies Tevin McDonald, Terrell Pinson and Jimmy Hall are also on the roster.
The Raiders will scour the waiver wire and future roster cuts for talent upgrades at every position, but it’s clear from recent attempts that adding competition at safety is high on the priority list.