ALAMEDA — The Oakland Raiders have released former starting cornerback David Amerson in the first significant move since Jon Gruden took over as coach last month.
The Raiders announced the move to cut ties with Amerson on Monday before his $5.5 million salary for 2018 would have been fully guaranteed later this week.
Amerson was a revelation after being claimed off waivers from Washington by the Raiders early in the 2015 season. Amerson started 14 games for Oakland that year and set a franchise record with 26 passes defensed and added a career-high four interceptions.
That play earned Amerson a four-year contract extension the following summer worth up to $38 million, but he never played to the level of that deal.
Amerson’s play regressed in 2016 and he struggled mightily this past season as part of a secondary that became the first to fail to record any interceptions in the first 10 games of the season in NFL history.
Amerson played only seven games before being sidelined by a foot injury for the rest of 2017. He allowed opponents to catch 23 of 31 passes thrown into his coverage area for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The 155.6 passer rating when targeting Amerson was the highest against any defender targeted at least 20 times, according to SportRadar.
Amerson was originally a second-round pick by Washington in 2013. He has eight interceptions and 63 passes defensed in 68 career games.
The Raiders still must make a decision on cornerback Sean Smith, who is owed $8.5 million for 2018 and might not be back. T.J. Carrie, who was the team’s most effective cornerback this past season, is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent next month.
Oakland is counting on 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley to be the starter next season at one cornerback spot. He played just two games as a rookie because of injuries.