It seems as though every time a big-name free agent hits the market, the Oakland Raiders are inevitably thrown around as a potential suitor. This is even truer when the free agent in question has any drama surrounding him.
It is not surprising considering the fact that Raiders owner Al Davis is more than willing to open up his checkbook for free agents. However, that often appears to be the only thought process going into claims that the Raiders are interested in these free agents.
When Tiki Barber announced that he would be coming out of retirement after spending the past few years commentating from the booth, not shockingly, the Raiders were almost immediately named as a potential landing spot for the former Giant.
The problem is that it would make absolutely no sense for the Raiders to sign Barber. The Raiders are coming off a season where Darren McFadden had a breakout year and the Raiders were No. 2 in the league in rushing.
While backup Michael Bush has not yet been re-signed, there is little indication to show he is going to leave the Raiders. Davis has always been high on Bush, even invoking the back's name in praise as he demolished the name of Tom Cable.
Additionally, Bush has stated that he likes it in Oakland and would like to return. In fact, a friend of mine ran into Bush one day a few weeks back and made the comment that he would really like to see Bush in Silver and Black again next season. In response, Bush told my friend that he loves Oakland and wants to stay. He also pointed out that he has made a lot of good friends on the team and that he and McFadden are particularly close.
If Bush walks away, what should the Raiders do?
Thus, if Bush comes back, there is absolutely no reason to bring on a guy like Barber. While Barber was still great when he decided to retire, he has been out of football for a long time, will likely be asking for too much money and would at best be a third-down back with no upside.
Additionally, since Barber announced his decision to return, former teammates have been bashing him. The loudest and most damning statement came from Antonio Pierce.
Pierce claims that in his final season with the Giants, Barber was a poison in the locker room. He says that he saw no good coming from Barber in the couple of seasons they played together and does not believe that Barber would be a good presence in any locker room.
This really isn't surprising considering the fact that when Barber hit the commentary booth, he basically tore into his former coach and the team he had played for his entire career. Some loyalty.
Even if Michael Bush decides to walk away from the Raiders, Barber is not the guy to replace him. Rather than signing an aging running back with no upside who hasn't played for years and is a potential locker room cancer, the Raiders should simply draft a running back in the later rounds of this year's draft.
Guys like Shane Vereen out of Cal and Jacquizz Rodgers out of Oregon State would make great third-down backs and should not go too high.