Oakland Raiders’ Free Agency Signings Coming Up Big


Over the past few years the Oakland Raiders have taken mighty swings in the free agency market, only to completely whiff and frustrate a dedicated fanbase. However, the history of underperforming big names and over paid malcontents, seem to be in the Raiders’ rear view mirror. Oakland’s free agent signings weren’t the “headline grabbers” many members of Raider Nation were hoping for . And they didn’t have that sexy signing that would put the Raiders on as the leading story on SportsCenter. Instead Raiders’ General Manager, Reggie Mckenzie, chose solid players who brought solid character and “Big Game” experience.

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The signing of linebacker Malcolm Smith didn’t get Raider fans rushing to the mall to swoop up number 53 jerseys, and many NFL insiders didn’t bat an eye when the former Super Bowl MVP, signed with the Silver and Black.

Smith was a small name on a Seattle Seahawks’ defense filled with big names and even bigger personalities. The somewhat undersized, but athletic linebacker had to fight for his opportunities in Seattle and be prepared to make the most out of limited playing time.

Smith was just hoping a team would give him a chance to shine and prove he could start in this league.

"“There are a lot of guys around the league that haven’t gotten the opportunity,” Smith told sfgate.com. “If you play long enough, hopefully you get those chances and you’re ready to take advantage of them.”"

The Raiders’ defense seemed to be in Pro Bowl quarterback Phillip Rivers’ head over the first three quarters on Sunday — and Smith was the main culprit. On San Diego’s first drive, Travis Carrie was able to get his hand on a Rivers’ pass and deflect the ball right to a looming Malcolm Smith, who rumbled down to the 2 yard line, setting up an early Latavius Murray touchdown plunge.

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  • "“Gotta get in the end zone–that was disappointing, “Smith said, “but I’m happy for Latavius and his fantasy fans.”"

    While Smith has been a stabilizing force on the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders’ offense has benefited from the free-agent signing of Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson, who signed a five-year deal worth $44.5 million in the offseason.

    Snatching Hudson away from their rivals, Kansas City Chiefs, was just a bonus for the Raiders who have flourished in pass protection, with Hudson anchoring the middle of the line.

    His ability to read defenses and call correct protection schemes, has lessened the burden on a young Derek Carr‘s shoulders, and has allowed the second year starter to focus on more down field throws, instead of the four yard check downs Raider fans had become accustomed to last year.

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    Hudson has also shown the ability to get to the edge and downfield in the running and screen pass game as well. On Amari Cooper‘s amazing open-field, ankle-breaking, 52 yard touchdown catch and run, it was Hudson barreling down the field engulfing a Chargers defender, allowing Cooper to scamper into the endzone.

    After six games, the Raiders’ sit at 3-3 and are still in the hunt for a playoff berth. Sure being a .500 team isn’t anything to sing to the heavens about but it’s a start. A start that Raider Nation has been waiting on for a long time, and with the help of recent acquisitions, hopefully, a start to something great in Oakland.