The Raiders acted quickly after their free agent agreement with cornerback Eli Apple fell apart on Thursday, coming to terms a few hours later with veteran defensive back Damarious Randall. A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed the agreement, pending a medical exam. The one-year deal is expected to pay Randall $3.25 million.
Randall, a five-year veteran who has played with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, has experience at cornerback and safety, both of which are pressing needs for the Raiders. He has made 14 interceptions across both positions.
With the Raiders, it seems likely Randall will play free safety alongside second-year strong safety Johnathan Abram. Randall has excelled at that spot the last two years, although hamstring injuries limited his 2019 season to 11 games.
Randall was particularly effective in 2018 when he finished with 85 tackles, four interceptions and held quarterbacks to a 68.8 passer rating when targeted.
His versatility, though, also allows the Raiders to play him at cornerback, a position he played through most of his three years with the Packers.
Apple was expected to man one cornerback spot opposite promising second-year standout Trayvon Mullen, at least until a better option emerged. Second-year cornerback Isaiah Johnson, who missed most of last year with a fractured face he suffered in the first preseason game, is expected to push for playing time. An with the Raiders owning five picks among the first 91 in this month’s draft, including the 12th and 19th in the first round, adding another young cornerback was always conceivable.
But with the Apple deal falling a part, and even with the Randall agreement, cornerback likely becomes a draft priority.
They seem a bit more secure at safety with the addition of Randall. He joins Abram and former Dallas Cowboys veteran Jeff Heath, who has extensive starting experience. Erik Harris, who started 14 games at safety last year for the Raiders and finished with 74 tackles and three interceptions, adds quality depth