OAKLAND, Calif. — In 2016, the Raiders made two significant investments at veteran cornerback, signing free agent Sean Smith to a $38 million contract in March and David Amerson to a four-year, $33.9 million extension in July.
Neither panned out as hoped.
Now, they are prepared to invest in a veteran again.
The Raiders reportedly hosted cornerback Vontae Davis on a free agent visit Wednesday. Davis visited the San Francisco 49ers a day earlier, so his stop completes a Bay Area swing. The 29-year-old also has visited the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills since being medically cleared this month from surgery he underwent for a core injury last year.
Oakland released Amerson on Feb. 5. He signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 16.
Bay Area swing for free agent CB. Raiders have high expectations for Gareon Conley in 2018, but they’ve parted with David Amerson and could do same with Sean Smith. https://t.co/JmmQh20HMx
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) February 21, 2018
Smith is expected to be released as well, given he’s due an $8.25 million salary in 2018 and faces felony assault and battery charges for an alleged July 4 incident involving his sister’s then-boyfriend in Pasadena, California. Compounding the uncertainty at the position, TJ Carrie was the club’s top corner in 2017. He will become an unrestricted free agent if not re-signed by March 14.
The Raiders believe they possess one key piece at cornerback, carrying lofty expectations for Gareon Conley. The former first-round pick missed all but two games in 2017 as a rookie. After shin surgery in November, he is expected to be a full participant in team workouts this spring.
Davis could be another such piece. He entered the NFL in 2009 as a Miami Dolphins first-round pick. After three seasons, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. The two-time Pro Bowler has started 112 of 120 career games with 408 tackles, 22 interceptions and 106 passes defended in nine NFL seasons.
He turns 30 on May 27. NFL Network first reported Davis’ visit.
Davis is permitted to sign before the March 14 start of free agency because the Colts released him in November.