Las Vegas Raiders Pushed To Pursue Move For Star Defender

Las Vegas Raiders
NFL Analysis Network

Following an initial flurry of activity during the opening week of free agency, the Las Vegas Raiders have adopted a more measured approach to signings. Nonetheless, significant gaps persist within their roster, notably at the cornerback position.

A notable departure came in the form of Amik Robertson, who joined the Detroit Lions in free agency, leaving the Raiders in need of a starting-caliber cornerback. The availability of Xavien Howard, released earlier in the offseason by the Miami Dolphins, presents an intriguing opportunity.

Notably, Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham previously worked with Howard during their time together in Miami in 2019, establishing a prior relationship that could influence decision-making.

Dan Pizzuta, an analyst at The 33rd Team, advocates for the Raiders to pursue Howard. Despite being 30 years old and missing four games due to injury last season, Howard is unlikely to command a significant contract in free agency, potentially making him an affordable addition for the Raiders.

“Howard can still be aggressive, and a defense that allows him to do that off the line and then play more zone coverage on the backend could be the veteran’s best fit. The Las Vegas Raiders fit that mold because their defensive looks were more multiple after Antonio Pierce took over as the coach. The Raiders have also leaned into defense this offseason, filling out that side of the ball while the offense gets figured out.”

Reflecting on past acquisitions, the Raiders previously enlisted the services of Marcus Peters, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, in free agency last offseason. However, the experiment proved unsuccessful as Peters was released during the season. This could potentially cast doubt on the Raiders’ willingness to repeat a similar move with Howard, who finds himself in a comparable position to Peters last offseason.

Nevertheless, Howard’s familiarity with Patrick Graham could provide valuable insights into his fit within the Raiders’ defensive scheme. Notably, turnovers have been an area of concern for the Raiders’ defense, evident in their minus-two turnover differential last season.

Howard boasts a strong track record in forcing turnovers, leading the NFL in interceptions twice (in 2018 and 2020).

While Howard’s interception numbers have declined in recent seasons, his potential acquisition could offer the Raiders a cost-effective solution to bolster their cornerback position in the short term. Ultimately, adding Howard to the roster would carry minimal risk for the Raiders and could potentially yield significant dividends, albeit as a temporary fix.

Want the latest NFL and NCAA Football analysis, breaking news, and insider information? Click here. Interested in reading storylines and analysis about the NBA? Check out our partner NBA Analysis Network.

Share on Facebook
Share On Twitter

This Chiefs-Jets Trade Would Send Zach Wilson To Kansas City

As the NFL prepares for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, there are still quite a few moves to be made in free agency and on

Chiefs Named Potential Fit For Former All-Pro Cornerback

The Kansas City Chiefs traded star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans late last month, opening up a need at the position heading into

Raiders’ Antonio Pierce Doesn’t Hold Back On Christian Wilkins

The Las Vegas Raiders landed defensive lineman Christian Wilkins in free agency last month, and head coach Antonio Pierce is thrilled about the acquisition. While