The Oakland Raiders have made it an emphasis over the offseason to improve their roster on the defensive side of the ball. This has seen the front office make moves to bring aboard a proven veteran into the mix.
With that in mind, the Raiders are expected to ink Derrick Johnson shortly after visiting with him earlier this week. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Oakland has decided to cancel their meeting with Brian Cushing:
With Raiders expected to sign Derrick Johnson, as @MikeSilver noted, they now have cancelled Sunday’s previously scheduled visit with former Texans’ LB Brian Cushing.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 4, 2018
The Raiders had likely pinned Cushing as their next likely choice if things did not necessarily work out with Johnson. Oakland had been the first team to show significant interest in the Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time tackles leader since he was cut by the team earlier this offseason.
Cushing had been let go by the Texans back in February after nine seasons with the team where he became the all-time franchise leader with 665 total tackles in addition to 14.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and eight interceptions. During that span, he also earned a Pro Bowl selection (2009) and a pair of Second-Team All-Pro nods. However, he has served a pair of suspension for performance-enhancing drug violations over his career with the latest coming during the 2017 NFL season where he was banned for 10 games.
Oakland’s decision to ink Johnson likely ends any real pursuit to bring back NaVorro Bowman. In 10 games with the Raiders last season, Bowman was highly productive recording 89 total tackles with 1.5 sacks and two pass deflections. He has yet to receive any real interest from another team aside from a rumored visit with the New York Giants.
With the start of training camp now less than two weeks away, the Raiders have put together a roster with the addition of several proven players that could potentially see a markedly better defense in 2018 in Oakland.