Are Howard and Morrison On Their Way Out Of Oakland

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIApril 17, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Kirk Morrison #52 and Thomas Howard #53 of the Oakland Raiders celebrate after a defensive play against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

     The Raiders announced two restricted free agent signings earlier this week; MLB Kirk Morrison and OLB Thomas Howard.  Good news, right?  If you think about it, maybe not.

     The Raiders offered them their RFA tenders months ago and neither of them signed until the end of the RFA period.  With RFAs, some teams may avoid signing them away from their current team because of having to sacrafice a draft pick to sign him.  So what will happen when Morrison and Howard are able to be unrestricted free agents?

     Because neither of them signed their tender until they had to, it seems like they may not want to stay in Oakland.  They are both good, young players with a lot of upside.  But the Raiders have had terrible run defense during their tenure in Oakland.  Although Morrison has led Oakland in tackles for the last few years, how many of those tackles have been for loss?  Compare that number to tackles 4-7 yards downfield.

     And then there is Thomas Howard.  Drafted out of UTEP in 2006, he had a great second season in 2007 with 6 INTs.  Since that year, only 1 interception.  Although he has the speed to cover against the pass, he is inconsistent against the run, much like Morrison. 

     The Raiders could use the #8 pick as insurance, and as competition with Morrison by drafting Rolando McClain.  Tom Cable said that Kamerion Wimbley and Trevor Scott are his projected starters on the outside.  Perhaps he is planning to move Captain Kirk to OLB with Wimbley and he will use Ricky Brown in the middle if McClain isn't taken by the Raiders.  When Seymour leaves, Trevor Scott can return to the line. 

     For 2010, this is good news.  The Raiders have enough to worry about for this year, they don't need to worry about losing two starters.  This is good for now, but we should cross our fingers for what will happen down the road.