Raiders ink Saffold, McFadden to deals

It’s the day Raiders fans have been waiting for, the opening of free agency. Oakland — laced with cash to spend — was supposed to nab all the big names.

That never happened, at least not yet.

What did happen, to the surprise of many, was the re-signing of running back Darren McFadden and the addition of offensive tackle Roger Saffold.

Saffold, formerly of the St. Louis Rams, received a five-year deal worth as much as $42.5 million.

A versatile linemen, Saffold played at right tackle, left tackle and at the guard last season, all while fending off the NFL’s best defenders — Michael Bennett, Justin Smith and the rest of the NFC West.

Saffold first year salary is a reported $13 million, with $27 million total coming in the first three years.

Despite the optimism that tackle Jared Veldheer would be signed — essentially assumed by all until the past weekend — Veldheer took his talents to Arizona.

Defensive end Lamarr Houston and running back Rashad Jennings also jumped ship, to the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, respectively.

One player who did return, also surprising to the masses, was McFadden. After missing an average of five games per season and reeling from statistical decline, McFadden signed a one-year “prove-it deal.” Details were not immediately available.

Reports were flowing that McFadden had multiple suitors, so sticking around may be something like honey to flies for other unsigned free agents.

As of Tuesday evening, the Raiders had not done anything else, with General McKenzie appearing to wait for the second round of free agents.

Though Raider Nation has been dealt a wallop with the team’s three best free agents leaving town, there are many more available. Defensive tackle Henry Melton has made it past day one, as has defensive end Randy Starks.

The Raiders also flirted with Darrelle Revis, the Buccaneers corner being shopped before the team may be forced to cut him.

At his current salary of $16 million per year — a cool milli for each regular season game -— the price was too steep for the Oakland front office.

Though McKenzie didn’t deal for him Tuesday, there remains a possibility that Revis Island could wash up on Alameda shores. Expected to command as much as $12 million per season, the Raiders are one of only a couple teams that could afford the five-time pro bowl defensive back.

Revis is top dog in ProFootballFocus.com cornerback rankings and would certainly be a welcome addition to a Raiders defense that ranked 28th against the pass last season.


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