Oakland Raiders: Grading the Lamarcus Joyner signing

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders have been making moves this offseason, the most recent being the addition of former LA Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner.

After trading for superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown late last week, the Oakland Raiders have started to focus on the defensive side of the ball. They will reportedly sign Lamarcus Joyner, one of the top safeties in the 2019 free agency class.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report the contract, noting that it will be a four-year deal initially, locking Joyner in till he’s 32 years old. Schefter clarified his report on Tuesday with the terms, noting the deal is a four-year, $42 million pact.

After finishing the 2018 season at the bottom of the AFC West, the Raiders, who signed Jon Gruden to a 10-year coaching contract last offseason, needed to prove that they’re in win-now mode. With the acquisitions of Joyner and Brown, they’re doing that.

The Raiders entered the offseason with the 10th most cap space, per Over the Cap. That said, they had the money to bring on Brown while still having money to strengthen their defense. Was it the right move though?

What grade should the Raiders receive for bringing on the former Florida State safety?

LAMARCUS JOYNER. C+. . S. Oakland Raiders

Yes, the Raiders did need to improve their defense. Yes, they did have the cap space to offer Joyner a solid deal. But, no, they didn’t necessarily need the help at safety. What they needed on the defensive end was a Khalil Mack replacement.

Edge rusher, linebacker and cornerback were the three areas of need for the Raiders defense, per USA Today’s Raiders Wire. However, Joyner is still an elite option in the secondary to improve a defense that struggled mightily in Gruden’s first season. NFL.com had Joyner as a top-15 free agent coming into the offseason, but did note a drop in effectiveness with his play.

"Joyner offers versatility as a former cornerback who can cover deep center field and creep into the box on run downs. One of the highest-paid safeties in the league last year, the 28-year-old didn’t draw a second straight franchise tag after seeing a slight drop-off in effectiveness."

The Raiders gave up both the highest yards per play and most total points last season, so making a move to enhance their defense was a must. Was this the right move though? After potentially having the chance to sign Anthony Barr and C.J. Mosley, was opting for a safety the way to go?

Joyner is elite. He will help their defense, but he might not have been the best fit for the Raiders’ team needs.

2019 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Combine two-round projection. dark. Next

Entering his sixth season in the league, the former second-round pick will be entering a new atmosphere, having played for the Rams in all five of his professional season. Only time can tell if that will help or hurt him on the field.