Raiders No. 2 Rated Defender From Last Year Still Unsigned

The Raiders didn’t do much right on defense in 2017, but their second most productive defensive player, according on Pro Football Focus analytics, is still unclaimed in free agency.

Finishing the season with a PFF overall grade of 84.8, NaVorro Bowman earned the highest grade of any member of Raider defense not named Khalil Mack (92.1). But for whatever reason (apparently money), Bowman remains unsigned.

The Raiders, for now at least, seem content to enter training camp with Derrick Johnson and Marquel Lee as answers at middle linebacker.

Despite his age, Johnson is still one of the league’s best linebackers in coverage, though he hasn’t been nearly as good at defending the run.

As for Lee, he was more or less the inverse of Johnson. Lee defended the run reasonably well as a rookie, but struggled in coverage.

Bowman is believed to be seeking a hefty payday, but after the one year, $3.5 million deal (if incentives are reached) signed by Mychal Kendricks earlier this month, the market should be all but set for Bowman.

Reports have indicated that the door isn’t shut on Bowman returning to the Raiders, but for now it seems like Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie are willing to roll the dice at the position – which for the Raiders has become a way of life at middle linebacker.

twitter: @raidersbeat