Oakland Raiders: Kicking the Tires of Three Veteran Linebackers

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Oakland Raiders: Kicking the Tires of Three Veteran Linebackers
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Let’s assume that Al Davis stays true to his offseason mantra of pursuing players fresh off a Super Bowl experience—I mean, who can forget the wildly successful acquisition of Cowboys safety Larry Brown after Super Bowl XXX?

This was, perhaps, the worst knee-jerk reaction in Oakland Raiders history.

To recap this face plant: Davis snatched up a Super Bowl MVP (before the paint was even dry) and gave him a boat load of cash, only to find out that a Brown couldn’t play man-to-man defense.

Torched…

Brown played just 14 games for the franchise before being run out of town on a rail.

The same can be said of Russell Maryland, Desmond Howard, and more recently, Super Bowl hero Dominique Rhodes.

All were major disappointments and a waste of resources.

Hey, on the bright side, I haven’t mentioned DeAngelo Hall or Javon Walker.

But I digress...

When free agency starts in March, Davis better have a plan, something that will address the team's needs and energize the fan base.

According to several sources, Richard Seymour has started talks with the Raiders, but the next issue should be upgrading the team’s linebackers.

Here, let me set up this overhead projector, so we can better access the mind of A.D. Football.

We know Davis covets players who will carry on the “Raider way.”  Plus, they must have a big-game pedigree.

Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, and Bill Romonowski did these things very well with other teams and proved to be smart signings when they came to the Raiders.

But the method of Davis’ madness is kind of like predicting the weather. Like the weatherman, Davis is wrong about 50 percent of the time and still has a job at the end of the day.

With that in mind, here are two veteran linebackers who could be hits in Oakland...and one that Raiders fans hope they never see.

 

Gary Brackett , Indianapolis—Colt’s general manager Bill Polian said that the team was committed to bringing back the unrestricted free agent, but owner Jim Irsay also said that the franchise wanted to make Peyton Manning the richest quarterback in league history.

Will the Colts have any money left over for their prized MLB?  If the price isn’t right, Brackett will certainly want to test the open-market.

The former Rutgers product is coming off a monster season, registering a 115 tackles and a sack. It’s the fifth straight year that Brackett has collected 100 tackles or more. That's why he's a great team captain, as he leads by example in Indianapolis.

He’s also playing on the cheap. Brackett is at the end of a four-year deal that paid him just $6.2 million in base salary, along with a $3.5 million signing bonus. He should be looking for big pay day this March.

 

Antonio Pierce , Free Agent—Released by the Giants because of nagging back and neck injuries, the 32-year-old linebacker said by e-mail that he is feeling great and is “looking forward to endless possibilities.”

Could one of those possibilities be in Oakland? Pierce had some great years with the Redskins, and helped the Giants to a memorable Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.

Despite his success, the Raiders know Pierce as the loud mouth who ruffled feathers when he said it felt like a “scrimmage” after the Giants blew Oakland out in Week Five.

Based on that comment, and his diminishing stats over the years, it’s hard to see Davis going after Pierce—even if he has something left in the tank.

 

Joey Porter , Free Agent—During a pre-Super Bowl interview with Jim Rome in Miami, the outspoken Porter told the Dolphins that he’s not interested in coming back to the team to be a “role-player.” Update: Joey Porter got his wish, as of Feb. 12th, Porter has been released by the Dolphins.

On the field, Porter lost playing time to the likes of Charlie Anderson, Cameron Wake, and former Raider…wait for it...Quentin Moses, of all people.

The emotional Porter didn’t exactly warm to the idea of reduced playing time, and sometimes he even refused to come out of games. Naturally, this caused confusion on the field and a rift with Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.

There’s no question that the 11-year veteran and member of the All-Decade team can still play at a high level. He had nine sacks in 14 games with Miami last season and 17.5 sacks in 2008.

But is the former Pro-Bowler a cancer in the locker room?

Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown told the Sun-Sentinel prior to Super Bowl XLIV that Porter’s dissatisfaction with his role may have been responsible for creating a divide in the locker room, which ultimately led to the Dolphins' 7-9 record.  

While Porter didn’t deny his influence in the locker room, he also expressed a strong desire to start for somebody in 2010.

Raider Nation, is he worth the risk?

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