The Raiders drafted Joseph in the 2016 first round and used him as a starting safety for most of his tenure. Following a visit with the Raiders, Joseph will return to help the Silver and Black fill a major need.
This move comes nearly two years after the Raiders passed on Joseph’s 2020 option season. The West Virginia product’s initial Raiders run ended earlier, with a foot injury halting his 2019 season midway through. Joseph will now rejoin Johnathan Abrams on the Raiders’ defensive back line. These two started in Week 1 of the 2019 season, but Abrams’ season-ending injury that night made his and Joseph’s on-field time together brief.
Last season, Joseph started eight Browns games — out of the 14 he played — and finished with his worst Pro Football Focus assessment. PFF, which viewed Joseph as better during his Raiders seasons, slotted him outside its top 70 safeties last season. Joseph, 27, made 67 tackles, intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles with Cleveland. He added a playoff interception in Kansas City, doing so after spending time on the Browns’ reserve/COVID-19 list late last season.
Las Vegas might still be in play for a safety in the draft, but Joseph minimizes that need. The Raiders have experienced rampant trouble in pass defense; their issues last season led Jon Gruden to fire DC Paul Guenther. Gus Bradley will call the shots next season, giving Joseph a third defensive system in three seasons and a fourth over the past five. PFF graded Joseph as a top-25 safety in 2018, his most recent full season with the Raiders, and he has started 41 games with team. It should be expected he will add to that total next season.