Here’s a quick look at the 2018 free agent cornerback market:
- Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson is expected to be the Raiders‘ No. 1 free agent target, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.net. Johnson is not expected to be retained by Los Angeles after it acquired fellow defensive back Marcus Peters from the Chiefs last month. After receiving the franchise tag in each of the past two seasons, the 28-year-old Johnson will finally hit the open market as one of the league’s top free agent corners. Oakland, meanwhile, is looking for a veteran corner to pair with 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley, who barely played during his rookie campaign. The Raiders have already released one starting member of their secondary in David Amerson, and figure to do the same with Sean Smith.
- While the Raiders have interest in Johnson, another Bay Area team — the 49ers — is also expected to pursue the free agent corner, as Pauline reports in a separate piece. San Francisco ranked just 28th in pass defense DVOA a season ago, and are not expected to re-sign its top cornerback in Dontae Johnson. Thus, the 49ers not only have a clear need atop their secondary depth chart, but have gobs of cap space: at nearly $70MM, San Francisco currently ranks fifth in available cap room.
- If the Raiders miss out on Johnson, they could turn their attention to Eagles free agent CB Patrick Robinson, per Pauline. Robinson has played outside corner in the past, but posted arguably the best season of his career as Philadelphia’s slot cornerback in 2017. T.J. Carrie, who saw the majority of the slot action for the Raiders last year, is an unrestricted free agent, so the 31-year-old Robinson would make for a ready-made replacement. The Eagles, notably, have interest in re-signing Robinson, while Pauline reports the Cardinals could also make a bid.
- The Jets hope to acquire two starting cornerbacks this offseason, but they’re “not close” to re-signing internal option Morris Claiborne, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Gang Green also has interest in Johnson, but most in league circles believe he will end up with Oakland or San Francisco, per Pauline.