Sean Smith deal a high-value move for Raiders

John Breitenbach explains what Sean Smith's new deal means for both Oakland and Kansas City.

| 8 months ago
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Sean Smith deal a high-value move for Raiders

The deal: Four years, $40 million, $20 million guaranteed.

Grade: B+

What it means for the Raiders: David Amerson’s breakout season means the Raiders had one starter in place at the cornerback position. Oakland desperately needed help opposite him, however, after DJ Hayden finished 105th out of 111 qualifying corners. He struggled in coverage in particular, allowing 70 receptions from 101 targets for 772 yards, five touchdowns, one pick, and four pass deflections. Hayden allowed a QB rating of 104.1. and finished with a measly coverage grade of 35.1. The need for a complement to Amerson was obvious, yet the Raiders avoided overpaying.

Compared to Janoris Jenkins’ $62 million deal, Smith’s contract looks like a steal. $8 million per year puts him right around 20th in terms of highest-paid corners. It’s the perfect range, considering he finished as our 12th graded corner in 2015. While he gave up too many big plays (five touchdowns), he made his fair share of plays himself (two picks and eight pass deflections). Smith also limited opposing receivers to a catch rate of just 53.2 percent (42-of-79 targets). He’s one of the few corners capable of covering the physical specimens at receiver in press-man. Smith provides Oakland defensive coordinator Ken Norton flexibility to run any coverage he chooses.

What it means for the Chiefs: After Tamba Hali’s re-signing, we broke down the subsequent priorities for the Chiefs. Smith came in at third on that list, behind Derrick Johnson and Jaye Howard, and we speculated that he may be on his way out of Kansas City. Financial requirements proved a major factor. Marcus Peters locks up one corner spot on the cheap, while Eric Berry consumes a significant amount of cap, having been given the franchise tag. The Chiefs couldn’t re-sign everyone, so they decided to prioritize the front-seven. It leaves Kansas City on the lookout for a new No. 1 corner.

| Analyst

John joined the PFF team in 2008, providing focused analysis on the NFL draft, team-building strategies, and positional value.

  • Carl weathers

    Very nice start to free agency. Top O Lineman, LB and now corner. Add a safety, some depth in the secondary and at LB and we roll into the draft in great shape! Raiders will be armed and ready to take over the west!

    • crosseyedlemon

      I’m not ready to peg them as favorites to win the west yet but they are lightyears ahead of where they were just a couple of years ago. Now if they could just figure out how to work the “tuck rule” to their advantage they would be all set.

      • Syc37

        I think he said “ready” to take over the West bro, which they definitely are… A couple of plays here and there go the other way and we could easily have switched spots with KC… And damn the tuck rule! lol…

  • MD_in_MD

    …..and he doesn’t have to attempt to cover Amari Cooper anymore either!!! LOL

  • Deej

    The problem with Smith is he lost a step and at his size that can be deadly. Jenkins might gamble, but he is the superior talent and got paid accordingly.

    • fred

      you must be a Giants fan

    • Jesse Gardner

      Jenkins was overpaid, pure and simple, not unlike Maxwell last year.

    • codered5

      No way he’s worth that pay. Jenkins gives up big plays willingly when he gets bored ( he admitted he gets lazy at the end of the games btw. I could see before the half but at the end of the games? If a guy tells you he got lazy before he got exorbitantly …) In addition he is now being paid the 2nd most guaranteed money of any corner. I understand free agent money is significantly more than in-contract dough but he don’t deserve that. It’s sad the rams kept Trumaine johnson cuz they thought he was better then jenkins and now he’s gonna make less money then jenkins because he’s a better player.

  • OtisDaKilla

    Amerson + Smith = Bookends for Da Raiders.
    Now, let’s get Weddle and resign Penn and Holmes.
    Then we draft Jaylon Smith and Karl Joseph, Safety W. Virginia.

    • Silver and Black Zac

      What about drafting Brandon Shell for Oline? Add depth, plus he’s Raider royalty.

    • Ron

      Don’t need Penn or holmes…Wtth???..Dummy

    • TB

      unless Smith is available in the 3rd (also when I’d take hitman), then idk about this… and Penn yes, Holmes we can easily make up for in the draft (even undrafted). Amerson still has potential to be a one year career dude. I’m a huge fan with a ton of faith in him, but before I declare our secondary set, I need another year of similar play (at the absolute least) or some clear improvement to continue building off of

      • OtisDaKilla

        Jaylon Smith would be a steal at 14, presuming he passes the physical. Joseph won’t be there in 3. He might not be there for us in 2.
        Drafting a WR later is an unknown. We know what Holmes can offer, he wont be expensive, he knows the system, Carr knows him…

  • Ron

    Denver wont make the playoffs, period…They lost their QB,they lost on defense and wont see the playoffs for sometime…The Raiders are young and built for the short & long term!!!

    • crosseyedlemon

      Unfortunately the Raiders long term plans may not be in Oakland but at least their committed to play there for at least another season.

  • Tim Edell

    Signing Sean Smith was a very good sign but to say that secondary is even average would be a huge overstatement. Amerson will have to prove beyond playing 3/4 of a season well that he is a NFL CB. Remember he got cut by a hapless Redskin secondary 2 games into the season. And going into the season with Carrie and Taylor Mays, Tevin McDonald is asking for a lot of problems.

    • Jesse Gardner

      He was cut going into his 3rd season because he didn’t fit their system at all, and didn’t use him to his strengths. Oakland uses the bump and run which is what Amerson excels at. Had the Redskins ran our system, Amerson would have lived up to his billing as a second round pick. Instead, we ended up getting a damn good corner with plenty of upside, plus he has a chip on his shoulder, having experienced failure even though he is a good corner. He and Smith will be very good, and with TJ in the slot, we are set for three foreseeable future.

      • Tim Edell

        I agree with you regarding Smith and TJ still a lot if people jumpin on the Amerson bandwagon. Im not saying he didnt play well but he will have to prove it for another year. He was god awful in Washington and that cant be entirely blamed on the system. If you put Tevis or Sherman in any system their not gonna look horrible and cut 2 games into a season. Yes, the Raiders system def plays to his strengths but he is going to have to prove it wasn’t a 11 game fluke is all im saying.

        • Rob

          Agreed. I’m cautiously optimistic that Amerson can maintain that level of play and perhaps play the Marcus Peters role. Safety remains a huge hole at this point, stings missing out on Weddle.

      • codered5

        ^What he said as far as Amerson goes. As for the rest of the secondary they ideally would get a safety and a slot or one of the dudes that does both like Walter Thurmond’s injury-prone ass. Shout out to Walter tho.