Welcome to the Raider Nation, DE Jason Hunter, LB Kaluka Maiava, and DT Pat Sims!
Veterans or not, as a fan I am excited about these new additions. The Raiders need all the run-stuffing capability they can get their hands on, and they did just that for cheap. If there’s one thing GM Reggie McKenzie has done right so far, it’s being smart and sensitive with Oakland’s money when they need to be.
The Contracts: As per ESPN, Kaluka Maiava signed for three years, $6 million – still no word on what the other two contracts look like yet.
Fans of other teams may see this as bottom-feeding, but I trust in McZ, who is as sharp as a tack, to find more diamonds in the rough. After all, he did bring this organization the likes of Philip Wheeler (who unfortunately signed with Miami as an unrestricted free agent the other night) and Phillip Adams (who was retained on a small one-year contract Tuesday night). Not only does he have a sharp eye, but he’s a genius in the draft – it’s hard to argue otherwise when rookies LB Miles Burris and WR Rod Streater shone brightly in the 2012 season amongst all the gloom.
Here is a closer look at these three veterans who had previously come from defensive powerhouse teams (Denver, Cleveland and Cincinnati respectively). This courtesy of the team’s official website:
Hunter, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end in his eighth year out of Appalachian State, played the past three seasons with the Denver Broncos, spending the 2012 campaign on injured reserve due to a triceps injury. Hunter’s career totals include 11 sacks, six passes defensed and three forced fumbles in seven seasons. He played in 88 games with 23 starts with Denver, Detroit and Green Bay since entering the league with the Packers as a non-drafted free agent in 2006.
Note: Mr. McKenzie sure does love his ex-Green Bay Packers, no?!
Maiava joins the Silver and Black after spending four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, playing in 50 career games with 22 starts. An interior linebacker, the 6-foot, 240-pound veteran in his fifth year out of USC started a career-high 13 games last year, registering two sacks, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He totaled 4½ sacks, five passes defensed and five forced fumbles in four seasons in Cleveland. Originally drafted by the Browns in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft, his name is pronounced kuh-LOO-kuh my-AH-vah.
The 6-foot-2, 325-pound Sims played five years with the Cincinnati Bengals, seeing action in 60 career games with 23 starts. Sims played in eight games last season, missing the first half of the year due to a hamstring injury that predated training camp, and totaled 17 tackles (12 solo) and one interception. In five seasons, Sims recorded five sacks and two passes defensed. A sixth-year NFL veteran, he was selected by the Bengals in the third round (77th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Auburn.
When the price is right, it just makes sense. The Raiders desperately need to plug up the middle, and these veterans seem to be the ones who got it done with their previous teams. Also worth mentioning is that DB Coye Francies has also resigned with the Silver & Black to a one-year, $630,000 (bargain) after McKenzie did not tender him a contract initially.
Stay tuned as this free agency frenzy is only starting to heat up!