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Raiders like how Karl Joseph’s responded this offseason

Josh Alper

Shortly after the Raiders drafted safety Johnathan Abram with one of their three first-round picks, the team opted not to exercise their 2020 option on safety Karl Joseph‘s contract.

Throw in the arrival of Lamarcus Joyner as a free agent earlier in the offseason and the picture was not one of a bright future for Joseph. Head coach Jon Gruden argued otherwise, but it seemed likely that the 2016 first-round pick was going to spend this year trying to interest other teams in his services.

Joyner spent much of the spring playing slot cornerback, however, and Joseph joined Abram as first-team safeties in the on-field stages of the offseason program. His efforts in those practices earned him a pat on the back from defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

“I think he’s responded to the situation great,” Guenther said, via Scott Bair of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “He knows this will be a good year for him to go out and play good and make us give him a contract. That’s the way the NFL is. That’s the way it is for me. It’s the way it is for a lot of the other guys. If you don’t perform, you’re probably looking for somewhere else to go and if you do perform, you’re going to get rewarded.”

Joseph said he feels more comfortable with a full year in Guenther’s system under his belt, which should help his chances of getting rewarded come 2020 even if it isn’t by the Raiders.