2012 NFL Free Agents: Oakland Raiders Smartly Land DE Dave Tollefson

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IApril 7, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 7:  Dave Tollefson #71 of the New York Giants reacts on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium on December 7, 2008 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders agreed to a contract with free-agent defensive end Dave Tollefson on Friday, marking another smart move from new general manager Reggie McKenzie in restocking the Raiders roster and repairing a messy salary-cap situation this offseason.

According to Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post and ESPN, the deal was for two years and worth $2.5 million, with $1.5 million guaranteed.

Former Giant/Packer DE Dave Tollefson agrees with Oakland for 2 years, $2.5M. Good guy, good value for Reggie and the Raiders.

— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) April 7, 2012

In 16 games (two starts) for the New York Giants last season, Tollefson tallied 21 tackles, a career-high five sacks and one forced fumble. In 63 career games—all coming with the Giants—Tollefson has 10 sacks and five forced fumbles. 

Tollefson visited Oakland this week after receiving interest from the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In the end, a comfort level with McKenzie—who helped draft him in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft as a member of the Packers' front office—helped get Tollefson back to Oakland. Tollefson is also a native of the Bay Area in California, making the Raiders a natural fit for the 29-year-old free agent. 

McKenzie has continued to make smart moves as the Raiders new GM.
McKenzie has continued to make smart moves as the Raiders new GM.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

For McKenzie, Tollefson represents a player he knows well, and one who can fill a number of positions as a reserve next season. In six years with the Giants, Tollefson gained experience at defensive end, tackle and linebacker.

In Oakland, Tollefson will likely be a situational pass-rusher who can play at end and tackle. 

Given Tollefson's versatility and low price tag, McKenzie again gets a high grade for a move he's made this offseason. The first-year GM inherited a tough salary-cap situation in Oakland, but he's done well in cutting big salaries and replacing them with quality, low-priced free agents.

Signings like the one McKenzie is making here with Tollefson won't get big headlines, but they are smart, planned moves that won't crunch the cap. Given the success Packers GM Ted Thompson has had with this same model, Raiders fans should feel a comfort level with the decision-making at the top of the organization that hasn't been felt in some time.