ALAMEDA _ Sweeping changes are expected in the Raiders secondary this off-season, but one player who will remain is cornerback and special teams player Neiko Thorpe.
Thorpe, a restricted free agent, was given a surprising second-round tender, meaning any team that signs him to an offer sheet must compensate the Raiders with a second-round draft pick should they decline to match.
The designation was first reported by USA Today Saturday and confirmed by the Bay Area News Group.
Last season, Thorpe played in 14 games with two starts and had six passes defensed, an interception, and 40 tackles, which included his work on special teams.
Undrafted out of Auburn, Thorpe initially signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and upon released played the 2013 season with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League.
Thorpe left after one season to pursue NFL opportunities, and was signed by the Raiders as a reserve/future free agent in 2014 and was impressive enough to make the 53-man roster under Dennis Allen.
Once Thorpe signs his contract, he will be due a raise from $585,000 to $2.533 million.
At the NFL scouting combine, coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders would “attack” the defensive secondary this offseason in free agency and the draft. Safety Charles Woodson has retired, while cornerbacks on the roster include David Amerson, TJ Carrie (who also plays safety), DJ Hayden, Keith McGill and Dexter McDonald.
Nine of the Raiders’ 14 interceptions came from Woodson (five) and Amerson (four), while Thorpe, Hayden, Carrie and safety Nate Allen had one each in the secondary.
— According to ESPN Insider Adam Caplan, the Raiders gave a low-round tender to tackle Matt McCants. Should another team sign McCants and the Raiders decline to match, they would get a sixth-round draft pick in return.