Raiders Considering Using Lamarcus Joyner at Safety?

Lamarcus Joyner didn’t live up to his billing in 2019, but it will take a lot to bounce him off the Raiders roster in 2020.

Why? Because he actually counts more against the salary cap if he is cut ($11.75M) than if he is on the roster ($9.2M), according to

When he showed up in Oakland, one of the selling points on Joyner was his versatility as a player, but so far the Raiders haven’t been willing or able to move him around.

The reason?

Well, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, there’s a good reason… and one that we should evidently be able to figure out on our own.

“Some fans say just put [Joyner] at safety, but the coaches seem to be fighting that, which should tell you something,” Tafur wrote on Wednesday.

But with the addition of fourth-round pick Amik Robertson, the Raiders have a new slot cornerback who might already be as capable in coverage as Joyner. With that presumably in mind, Tafur suggested the Raiders have a contingency plan for Joyner should they need to move him (and his virtually uncuttable $9.2 million cap number) to a new position.

“[The Raiders’ secondary] is crowded,” Tafur added. “Especially when you factor in that Joyner is still the starting slot corner (although coaches do plan to get him some work at safety in camp this year).”

There is still a lot to be determined in the Raiders secondary. Safety Johnathan Abram and cornerback Trayvon Mullen are presumed starters, but they have only 11 combined starts in their NFL careers. Damon Arnette was a first-round draft pick, but still has a lot of doubters, and it’s anyone’s guess who will start at safety opposite Abram.

So if Joyner can’t find a sweet spot among the defensive starters (considering his experience and hefty salary), it won’t be because of a lack of opportunity. And if he doesn’t earn a starting gig, how do you pay a player on the bench upwards of $10 million?

That’s a question the Raiders hopefully won’t have the opportunity to answer.

twitter: @raidersbeat