Coach Jon Gruden hinted that Joyner may play slot cornerback rather than safety, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports.
The Raiders don't have a great alternative to start alongside Karl Joseph at safety, so they may use Joyner at different spots in the base defense and nickel/dime packages. The 2014 second-round pick is joining Oakland on a four-year, $42 million contract after starting 27 games at free safety for the Rams the past two seasons. Given his reliable work in coverage, Joyner should be an asset to the defense wherever he lines up, though Joseph is the better bet for high-end IDP production.
The Rams, Joyner's previous employer, opted not to place the franchise tag on him for a second straight year, ensuring he would hit the open market for the first time in his career. In five seasons to date, he's averaged 4.6 tackles per game while contributing five sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 67 outings. Upon joining the Raiders, Joyner should take over at free safety with Marcus Gilchrist and Reggie Nelson hitting unrestricted free agency.
Joyner played under the franchise tag in 2018 but Rams' general manager Les Snead said Thursday, "At this point, we don't plan on using it." The two sides were unable to agree to a long-term deal prior to last year's summer deadline, and now the team is apparently willing to let the 28-year-old safety head into free agency. Joyner had a career-high 79 tackles (58 solo) with one sack and one interception in 15 starts for the Rams in 2018.
Joyner injured his ankle in Week 16 against the Cardinals and subsequently missed the team's regular-season finale. Joyner -- who has 78 tackles and one interception -- will bolster the Rams' secondary, as they attempt to halt Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.
Joyner (ankle) is expected to be ready for the playoffs, Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Joyner will have the luxury of a first-round bye to accumulate added rest. While it's far from certain, the Rams' high-level of optimism is a bit reassuring. Joyner seems to be on the right track at the given point in time.
|2014||St. Louis Rams||10||40||35.0||5||1||0||0||0.0||0||0||2|
|2015||St. Louis Rams||16||72||54.0||18||2||0||0||0.0||0||0||6|
|2017||Los Angeles Rams||12||49||39.0||10||0||3||104||34.7||46||1||9|
|2018||Los Angeles Rams||15||78||58.0||20||1||1||5||5.0||5||0||3|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2014||St. Louis Rams||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||St. Louis Rams||16||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Rams||12||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Los Angeles Rams||15||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|