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Oakland Raiders Finally Nail Down Barnes

David GalvezContributor IMarch 15, 2009

Great news from Alameda. John Clayton has reported that the Oakland Raiders and former Jacksonville left tackle Khalif Barnes have agreed on a one-year contract. Exact terms of the deal weren't available. 

It was about a week ago that the National Football Post reported a similar story, with negotiations falling apart in the final hours. Yet, after a week of flirting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Barnes has decided to come to Oakland for a chance at a fresh start. 

At 6-foot-5, 325 pounds, Barnes was a four-year starter at Jacksonville, starting in 57 of a possible 64 games, including all 16 last season. 

A sticking point in the deal was that Barnes wanted a chance to compete for the starting left tackle position currently held by Mario Henderson. If he's unable to unseat Henderson, Barnes would then take over at right tackle where he also has experience.

Whether it be Henderson or Barnes on the right side, most Raider fans would agree that either would be an improvement over Cornell Green's erratic performances week after week. In the end, the Raiders have taken a big step towards better protecting JaMarcus Russell next year.

What does this move mean for the upcoming draft? Although Barnes isn't considered a dominant left tackle, I think his athleticism will allow him to thrive in Coach Cable's ZBS, helping to solidify the offensive line for the upcoming season. Hence, this places the Raiders need for a tackle a little farther down the board. The major needs now become defensive tackle, wide receiver, and center.

What really matters for today is that the Raiders finally made a big splash, and more importantly, seem to have a plan to go with it.

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