The Las Vegas Raiders have released projected starting safety Damarious Randall.
The Raiders signed Randall back in April with the expectation that he would serve as the team’s starting safety opposite the returning Johnathan Abram.
A five-year NFL veteran, Randall had spent the last two seasons starting at safety for the Cleveland Browns after entering the league as a cornerback back in 2015.
Throughout the first three years of his career, Randall served as a cornerback with the Green Bay Packers after being a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
But with the Raiders, many expected him to start at strong safety. However, that obviously won’t be the case.
Randall wasn’t necessarily bad during training camp, but he clearly didn’t do enough to secure his starting role. The Raiders owe the veteran defensive back $1.5 million in guaranteed salary, although it will be offset if he indeed signs elsewhere.
Which Raiders players will step up with Damarious Randall gone?
In his place, expect the Raiders to give Erik Harris the first crack at the starting job. A former undrafted free agent, Harris has spent the last three years with the organization seeing his playing time increase in each season.
Last year, Harris started 14 of 16 games filling in for injuries and he filled his role admirably. Evidently, he’s a favorite of the coaching staff and now he’s set to receive the biggest opportunity of his career.
Elsewhere, veteran Jeff Heath will now serve as the primary backup — likely at both safety spots — after being signed away from the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason.
There’s also former undrafted free agent Dallin Leavitt who was a core special-teamer in 2019 and even training camp star Javin White, although he spent the majority of his time this summer at linebacker.
The Raiders have options, but Randall was undoubtedly the most established safety on the roster. Perhaps the team makes a move for a player like Earl Thomas of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
But in all likelihood, the Week 1 starting safeties should be Abram and Harris.