The Oakland Raiders may soon address one of their biggest weaknesses with arguably the best free agent still available on the market.
According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders are expected to sign safety Reggie Nelson, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.
#Raiders wining & dining FA safety Reggie Nelson tonight, he will be at facility tomorrow. I expect deal to get done pending physical
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 5, 2016
Nelson, 32, led the NFL in interceptions last season. He made his first Pro Bowl, while also being named second-team All-Pro.
If he signs in Oakland, Nelson would fill a huge need at safety. The Raiders lost veteran Charles Woodson to retirement this offseason, but Nelson—who has 12 interceptions over the last two years and 30 in his career—should help plug the hole at the backend of Oakland’s steadily improving defense.
A veteran coming off his best season, Nelson lasted far longer on the market than most expected. His age—he’ll turn 33 in September—likely contributed to his wait, but the Raiders are now getting a key piece at a potentially discount price.
The offseason has been an exceedingly good one in Oakland.
The Raiders signed guard Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Bruce Irvin and cornerback Sean Smith early in free agency, filling big holes at each position. Acquiring Nelson only adds to the improvements, which could help make Oakland a potential playoff team in 2016.
One connection of note: Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was the coach in Jacksonville when the Jaguars picked Nelson in the first round in 2007.