The Las Vegas Raiders released veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara on Monday and will instead go with unproven players in the secondary.
Amukamara was signed as a free agent to provide a veteran presence in the secondary across from second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen. He started 99 games over nine seasons with the Giants, Jacksonville and Chicago but had been surpassed in practice by rookie Damon Arnette.
The Raiders will plan to start the season with Arnette and Mullen as the starting outside cornerbacks. Mullen fared well in 10 starts last season as a rookie. Arnette was drafted 19th overall in April out of Ohio State.
“I just think they are two young corners that can cover,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said earlier in camp. “They’ll tackle and they are not afraid to hit. They are going to make these corners tackle in the NFL and that’s what they’ll do. … It’s an exciting time. It’s really how you want to do it, is bring young guys in without having bad habits, teaching your system, teach your techniques, your schemes and all those things. It’s exciting to have two young corners that can do that. So, hopefully they’ll be a tandem for years to come.”
There is not much experience behind Mullen and Arnette either. Isaiah Johnson and Keisean Nixon combined for just 52 snaps on defense as rookies last season, and Amik Robertson, Dylan Mabin and Madre Harper have yet to play in the NFL.
Slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner has played 81 games over six seasons but is not in the mix outside. Nevin Lawson does have some experience playing outside but will be suspended for the season opener Sept. 13 at Carolina.
The Raiders also are expected to have another untested starter in the secondary where Johnathan Abram is slotted to start at strong safety. Abram injured his shoulder midway through the season opener of his rookie campaign last year and was placed on injured reserve.
The Raiders have had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL in recent seasons. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of more than 100 in each of the past three seasons. They ranked second worst in 2019 with a 103.8 rating against.
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