After making just their first playoff appearance since 2002, the Las Vegas Raiders have not been content this offseason. In one of the craziest NFL offseasons ever, the Raiders have made some of the biggest moves of any team, adding star receiver Devante Adams in a blockbuster deal and also signing one of the best pass rushers in free agency in Chandler Jones.
But oftentimes, it isn’t the big, headline moves that make all the difference, but rather some of the under-the-radar ones that can truly take a team over the top, and the Raiders are doing that as well. The defense has been an issue for the Raiders, and now the team has made a pair of additions that could give them a boost on that side of the ball.
The Raiders have agreed to one-year contracts with safety Duron Harmon and linebacker Jayon Brown.
Harmon is a nine-year veteran who spent most of his career with the New England Patriots, so he undoubtedly has familiarity with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s system. Most recently, however, Harmon was with the Atlanta Falcons, where he started all 17 games last year.
This was just the second season Harmon was a full-time starter, and he totaled 67 tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed in the 2021 season. In fact, the veteran has a knack for being around the ball, with 38 passes defensed and 21 interceptions in his career so far.
Brown is an extremely intriguing pickup at the linebacker position where the team has dealt with some departures already. Injuries have hampered Brown the last couple of seasons as he played in just 10 games in 2020 and 2021. But before then, the former fifth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans looked to be on the verge of breaking out as one of the NFL’s most versatile young linebackers.
In 2018 Brown appeared in all 16 games for the Titans, totaling 97 tackles, eight tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and six passes defensed. He followed that up with 105 tackles and eight passes defensed in 14 games in 2019. Should he be able to stay on the field, Brown could wind up being a steal for the Raiders.
After making big splashes, it could’ve been easy for the Raiders to rest on their laurels, but the franchise continues to make moves to improve the team, which is a major necessity in what looks to be the toughest division in the league.