The Raiders have agreed to sign free agent cornerback Nevin Lawson, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal worth $3.05MM, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Oakland was the first and only visit on Lawson’s brief free gent tour. After five years in Detroit, Lawson was released by the Lions earlier this month. He met with the Raiders on Tuesday, and will now join a defensive backfield that’s light on experience, meaning Lawson could be in line for significant playing time.
At present, the Raiders are projected to start Daryl Worley and Gareon Conley at cornerback, but they’ll need a third player capable of playing at least 60% of the club’s defensive snaps. Lawson has the ability to play both outside cornerback and in the slot, and he’ll give Oakland a veteran alternative to young defensive backs Nick Nelson, Rico Gafford and Makinton Dorleant.
Lawson, 26, appeared in 62 games for the Lions after being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and started 45 of a possible 48 contests over the past three years. While he deflected an average of 6.5 passes during those three seasons, Lawson has amazingly never posted a single interception on nearly 3,000 career snaps.
Advanced metrics, meanwhile, haven’t been complementary of Lawson’s work. Among 60 qualifying corners, Lawson finished 37th in Football Outsiders’ success rate — meaning he was slightly worse than average at stopping opposing receivers short of the sticks — but just 44th on yards per pass. Moreover, the Lions ranked 27th in DVOA against opposing No. 2 wide receivers, the pass-catchers Lawson was most often covering opposite Darius Slay.