Oakland Raiders Top Five Free Agent Signings of the Last Decade

Terrell White – Mar 22, 2013


Holla At Me Raider Nation!
 
In my last article I brought you the bad, and the ugly, when we listed the worst free agent signings of the last decade; This time around I thought I'd bring you a few good men.
 
This list, my Raider brothers and sisters took a bit more creativity to pull together. As we all know it's been a while (borrowing from the musical group Stained) since our beloved Raiders were actually Super Bowl Champions; Hell it's been a while since our beloved Raiders were actually winners (They're always winners in our minds, however, its been a hot minute since the team has actually had a winning record -- but I digress).
 
You won't see any George,Blandas, Jim Plunketts, Rich Gannons, or Jerry Rices on this list; However, you will see some solid players, and you just might be able to spot a Raider (or two). With that said: Let's take a look at some of our beloved Oakland Raiders top free agent signings of the last decade.

 

We begin the list in 2004 with (drum roll please)...
 
Tommy Kelly 2004 - Originally signed by Oakland as an undrafted free agent.


 

Some may find it a bit surprising to find Tommy Kelly's name in here; However, I did state at the outset that it took some creativity to compile the list - so let's all try and keep that in mind (Thank You). Despite how some may feel about Kelly, the 6'6 300 defensive tackle is in possession of the talent needed to play every position on the defensive line.

 

When Kelly first joined Oakland, the Raiders were playing musical defensive chairs; The team was switching back and forth (like Aaliyah) between the 3-4, and the 4-3 defense. This back and forth (I believe) played a part in why Kelly struggled (a bit) balancing playing defensive end in the 3-4, and defensive tackle in the 4-3.

 

However, when Oakland decided to scrap the 3-4 defensive scheme (funny how history seems to be repeating itself), and commit to the 4-3, they did the same with Kelly. In 2008 his 7 year 50 million dollar deal; 18 million guaranteed that year, and 25 million guaranteed over the first 3 years of the deal was one of (if not the) largest contracts awarded to a defensive tackle.

 

Tommy (despite the contact, and the acclaim) has had some up's and downs. In 2009 for example he only had 55 tackles and 1 sack. However, in 2010 with Kelly playing right side defensive tackle,and the team having moved Richard Seymour to left side,  Tommy had 60 tackles, 7 sacks, and was named as an alternate for the pro bowl.

 

Moreover, I'm sure we all still remember the season opening win against Denver. A game in which Kelly had couple of solid stops, and a sack. Say what you want about Tommy Kelly but the truth of the matter is that with a complementary pass rusher on the left end of the Raiders defensive line; Kelly is a force that has to be accounted for. Not a bad find for our Oakland Raiders.
 
Chris Carr 2005 - Like Tommy Kelly, was also originally signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent.

 

While some may have questioned the selection of Tommy Kelly; No one should doubt that Chris Carr belongs on this list. Raider Nation members (should) remember the fact that Carr holds the Raider record for the second longest interception returned for a touchdown; His 100 yard touch down return, off of an interception of a Ben Roethlisberger helped the Raiders defeat the then Super Bowl Champions Steelers.

 

Side Bar: Just in case you were pulling the saber's out of the side your head, trying to figure out who has the longest interception return for a touchdown I'll let you know it was Eddie Anderson's 102 yard return of a Dan Marino pass.

 

Back to business --

 

However, that 100 yard intercepted touch down return is not (THE) why Carr belongs on this list. It's only the cherry on top!

 

Despite being listed as a defensive back Carr's mainly known in Oakland for his Special Teams attributes on kick off, and punt returns. During the Raiders '05 season he had an average of about 6 yards a carry on punt returns; Carr also had a 25 yards per carry average on his kick returns.

 

Moreover his kick off return totals (142 for 3,514 yards) in '06 made him the Raiders all time leader. Carr also made sound decisions; He not only hardly ever left the offense in a bad position, he also hardly ever fumbled a return.

 

In 2008 Carr became a restricted free agent, and joined the Titans when Oakland didn't match their 2 year 2 million dollar offer. However, Carr should be remembered for his time here in the Silver & Black. 
 

Speaking of players who should be remembered:

Derrick Burgess 2005 - Originally signed by the Eagles in 2001.

 

Burgess came to Oakland and became a good passer rusher for our defense; Which may be a bit of an understatement on my part because he became the teams single season sack leader, in his first year with the Raiders.

 

Burgess total of 16 sacks not only led the team, he lead the entire NFL in sacks, and earned a trip to the pro bowl that season. He would follow this performance with another trip to the pro bowl in 2006, as well as having another season with a double digit sack total (11). 

 

Injuries however, slowed Burgess down in 2007; He had 40 tackles that season, but only 8 sacks. He started 10 games in 2008; However, during the last year of his contract (2009) he did not report to training camp, and eventually was traded to New England.

 

However, Burgess, much as Carr did, made an impact during his time in Oakland. Speaking of players who have made an impact...

 
Marcel Reece 2009 - Originally signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2008.

 

Marcel played his first game for Oakland in the last game of the 2009 season; He was named the starting full back for the Raiders in 2010, and it didn't take long for Reece to become a fan favorite.

 

Marcel is a very dangerous combination of speed, power, and great hands. In his first year as our starting full back Reece caught 25 balls for over 300 yards along with 3 touchdowns; Reece also ran for another buck twenty-two (122) and had a rushing touch down as well.

 

Reece could (and should) help to restore, and revolutionize the fullback position.
 
Khalif Barnes 2009 - Originally signed by Jacksonville in 2005.

 

Now, I know that I may take a bit of heat for adding Khalif to this list. I'm well aware of the fact that he's what we like to call "penalty prone". Khalif is going to have a holding call (or two) go against him, and he is going to miss an assignment at some point in the game.

 

However, I've got to give the man just a bit of credit for his determination, and for sticking around as long as he has; This brothers and sisters is a quality all Raiders need to have.

 

Barnes came to Oakland (on a one year deal) in 2009 to play right tackle. In 2010 Khalif was re-signed, at the Guard position; You may (or may not) remember Jason Campbell throwing  Khalif a touchdown that year in the K.C. game. He then re-signed (again) in 2011, back at right tackle.

 

Moreover, Barnes recently resigned (yet again) when he was inked by Reggie McKenzie and Co; Despite being flawed, as I said you have to admire Khalif's determination, and will; Both qualities needed to be a Raider!

 

END GAME.

 

Well, There's the list!! I made an effort to mix it up a bit; Some offense, some defense, and some special teams (you get the picture). However, no matter what position, or what side of the ball they play on, it's all about the Raiders baby!!

 

Raider From Birth.



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