Raiders shore up defense on Day Four

The Raiders defense continues to get stronger after general manager Reggie McKenzie signed two more players late Friday afternoon.

Former 49ers CB Tarrell Brown will join the Silver and Black, along with defensive lineman Antonio Smith, formerly of the Texans.

Brown’s deal has been reported by multiple outlets as a one-year, $3.5 million. Smith signed a two-year deal worth up to $9 million.

Both players have playoff experience and come from rosters with strong defenses, something McKenzie seems to have taken a liking to.

Antonio Smith had to rush home for the birth of his child just after signing, and was not available to comment. Brown, on the other hand, spoke to media via conference call:

“I felt like this was the best fit for me. A team that has picked up a bunch of good defensive players in free agency. … It was a situtation that came about, and I felt like the team really wanted me. And I wanted to be somewhere that I felt appreciated, and I could let my talent speak for itself.”

Since becoming a full-time starter and mainstay at cornerback for the 49ers in 2011, Brown has appeared in 45 games with 42 starts, 143 tackles (114 solo), six interceptions, 40 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

Smith has been a mainstay on the defensive line for Houston over the years, a pro bowler in 2012, and a partial reason for Houston’s defensive success over the past few years.

During Smith’s Pro Bowl season, he set career highs with 51 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and three passes defensed. Last season he had five sacks, 22 tackles and one forced fumble.

Oakland has been bridging the salary cap gap steadily since the opening of free agency and still has an estimated $42 million in space. Free agent left tackle Donald Penn also spent Friday with Oakland, though it appears he will continue to test the market.

After dealing with the biggest blunder of free agency in years, McKenzie and the Raiders have rebounded well, adding top-tier talent for reasonable prices.

Despite the defensive signings, the Raiders are still in need of the veteran quarterback McKenzie said early in the offseason he wanted to sign.

Plausible remaining free agents Michael Vick and Josh Freeman are still available, and Mark Sanchez along with Matt Schaub could be available soon.


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