The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent cornerback Nevin Lawson, the team announced on Wednesday. Terms of the deal weren't released, but Michael Gehlken of the Los Vegas Review-Journal reports that Lawson's contract is for one year and worth $3.05 million.
Lawson spent the first five seasons of his career with the Detroit Lions after being selected with a fourth round pick in the 2014 draft. He first emerged as regular starter during his sophomore season, opening nine out of 15 games for the Lions. Lawson has started every game he's appeared in each of the last three seasons.
In 2018, Lawson finished with 53 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and five passes defensed, earning an average 60.6 grade from Pro Football Focus, 91st among cornerback. He's yet to notch an interception in his NFL career.
The native of Fort Lauderdale, FL signed a four-year, $2.52 million contract with Detroit after he was drafted. Lawson was awarded a two-year contract extension a year ago, but was released by the Lions on March 10 as the team opted to conserve cap space in hopes of signing free agents and go in a different direction in the secondary. The team signed premier slot cornerback Justin Coleman to a four-year, $36 million deal last week.
The Raiders were awful on defense during Jon Gruden's first year back roaming the sidelines, finishing dead last in points allowed and 26th in yards allowed. They were considerably better in pass defense than run defense, though, and the addition of a reliable cornerback like Lawson ensures Oakland will have the opportunity to build on that limited success keeping opposing quarterbacks in check going forward.