Tag Archives: Free Agency

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder

March 13, 4:21 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

Alameda, California – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent Quarterback Christian Ponder, the club announced Friday.

Ponder was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round (12th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft and spent the last four seasons with the Vikings. Ponder was tutored by Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave in Minnesota from 2011-13, when Musgrave served in the same capacity for the Vikings. For his career, Ponder has played in 38 games with 36 starts, throwing for 6,658 yards on 632-of-1,057 passing (59.8 percent), 38 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and a 75.9 passer rating.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder had his best season in 2012 under Musgrave, as he started all 16 games and led Minnesota to a playoff berth. After finishing 3-13 in 2011, Ponder led the Vikings to a 10-6 record in 2012, the biggest single-season turnaround in franchise history. In 2012, Ponder completed 62.1 percent of his passes, completing 300-of-483 passes for 2,935 yards and 18 touchdowns for a passer rating of 81.2.

The Colleyville, Texas, native played in 35 games at Florida State, throwing for 6,872 yards on 596-of-965 (61.8 percent) passing, 49 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He left FSU ranked among the all-time school leaders in career completions, completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns. As a senior, Ponder was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was also named Florida State’s offensive MVP as a sophomore in 2008.

Christian Ponder’s contract details were undisclosed.

 

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Carolina Panthers Cornerback James Dockery

March 2013, 2015 3:06 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, California – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent CB James Dockery, the club announced Friday.

Dockery joins the Raiders following stints with the Cleveland Browns (2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-14). His career totals include 31 games played with two starts, 30 tackles (25 solo) and two passes defensed.

Last season with the Panthers, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder played in seven games and posted 10 tackles (nine solo) after re-signing with the team in October.

The Palm Desert, Califonia, native was originally signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Dockery played in 38 games with 25 starts over four seasons at Oregon State, totaling 106 tackles, six interceptions and 13 passes defensed.

Dockery’s Contract details was undisclosed.

More On James Dockery

Dockery grew up in Palm Desert, California, in a family that bled Silver and Black. His uncle, who passed away in 2002 was such a devout member of Raider Nation that he was buried in a Silver and Black casket and a Raiders blanket now rests on his grave.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Dockery after signing his contract. “It’s very personal for me. It’s not just about football. This is about my family and my community, and just an opportunity for a California kid to come back home. This means a lot.”

After playing four seasons at Oregon State, Dockery went undrafted but was signed by the Cleveland Browns in 2011, playing in 12 games before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
He then spent the next three seasons as a Panther, appearing in seven games and posting 10 tackles (nine solo) in 2014.
Dockery’s arrival in Silver and Black also allows him to fulfill another dream, a dream of playing with his favorite player growing up, Charles Woodson.

“Woodson is just a guy that in my opinion is the best defensive back,” he said. “He’s very versatile, safety, nickel, corner, and that’s somebody that I’ve tried to model my game after. I told him in the weight room today, don’t push me away because I’m going to be trying to soak up a lot of knowledge while I’m here.”

Dockery is looking forward to a fresh start in Oakland, and is excited about getting on the field and putting the pads back on.

“From a football aspect, [the fans] can expect to see someone that’s going to go out there and compete,” he said. “I’ve never been the biggest, strongest or the fastest guy, but I’ve always been one of the most competitive people that you’ll ever come across, and I intend to bring that here.”

He is also eager to begin working with defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and believes that he and the Raiders are a natural fit.

“I think they’re looking for guys that are high quality, high character, smart football players and I think that’s where I fit,” Dockery said. “I was blessed to be a part of a great defense in Carolina and I’m just looking forward to taking what I did over there and trying to bring that here and get this defense in the Top 10.”

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Philadelphia Eagles Safety Nate Allen

March 12, 2015 10:25 AM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent S Nate Allen, the club announced Thursday.

Allen joins Oakland following five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in 74 games with 69 starts for the Eagles, earning the starting safety spot as a rookie in 2010, posting 380 tackles (257 solo), 10 interceptions, 28 passes defensed, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also tallied eight special teams stops.

Last season, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder started 15 games for Philadelphia, recording a team- and career-high four interceptions and tied for the team lead with three fumble recoveries. Allen set a career high with 94 tackles (56 solo) in 2013 and started all 16 games.

The Cape Coral, Florida, native was originally selected by the Eagles in the second round (37th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of South Florida. He played in 48 games for the Bulls from 2006-09, totaling 224 tackles and nine interceptions. He earned All-Big East honors during his senior season after four interceptions.

Nate Allen signed a 4 year / $23,000,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including a $4,000,000 signing bonus, $11,800,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $5,750,000

More On Nate Allen ( Courtesy of The Oakland Raiders Website)

The veteran safety signed a contract with the Oakland Raiders Thursday after spending the past five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. During his tenure with the Eagles, Allen played in 74 games with 69 starts, posting 380 tackles (257 solo), 10 interceptions, 28 passes defensed, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

“I just fell in love with everything and the direction that the organization is going and the coaching staff they brought in, and the group of guys that we have here,” said Allen after signing his deal. “It’s a great thing and like I’ve been saying, we’re planning on winning now. We’re not trying to rebuild and try to do this or do that, we’re trying to make something happen now, this year.”

After growing up in Cape Coral, Fla., Allen earned a scholarship to play at the University of South Florida, where he played in nine of USF’s 13 games as a freshman.

Allen then became the model of consistency for the Bulls, starting each game for the next three seasons before declaring for the NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 2010 draft.

The former Bull enjoyed a successful run in Philadelphia, helping the team secure two playoff berths, as well as recording a team- and career-high four interceptions in 2014.

Allen now sets on his sights on finding success in the Silver and Black in 2015, and is looking forward to refining his game under former All-Pro and current defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson.

“He, Coach Robertson]brings a lot of knowledge just from the little bit that I’ve sat down and talked to him,” Allen said. “Just to be able to work with somebody like that of his caliber, and even [assistant defensive backs coach] Rod Woodson, it’s great. I know they’re going to try to make me the best player I can be and I’m excited about that.”

In addition to Coach Robertson and Coach Woodson, Allen will have the added benefit of playing in the secondary with future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.

“Obviously his resume speaks for himself,” Allen said of his new teammate. “He is who he is, a future Hall of Famer. Just to be able to work alongside a dude like that, I mean I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

With both Allen and Woodson in the defensive secondary, Allen’s versatility will be on full display, as he can play both strong and free safety.

“We’ll figure all that out when the time comes, but like I’ve been saying, however I need to help the team win, I’m going to do it,” he said. I’m going to put the team over myself. Whatever I have to do to help the team win is what I’m going to do.”

Heading into 2015, Allen is excited for a fresh start and looking forward to putting the pads on and getting back to work.

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Saints Linebacker Curtis Lofton

March, 11, 2015 5:06 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Curtis Lofton, the club announced Wednesday.

Lofton joins the Raiders after spending the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints. A defensive team captain the past two years, Lofton led the team in tackles in each of his two seasons with the Saints. His career totals include 112 games played with 111 starts, 1,058 tackles (689 solo), seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 38 passes defensed. He has exceeded 100 tackles each season and led his team in stops the last six seasons.

Before joining the Saints, Lofton spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2011, the 6-foot, 241-pounder recorded a career-high 147 tackles (87 solo), and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week following a Week 17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he led the team with 14 stops (eight solo) and had a 26-yard interception returned for a touchdown.

Lofton has also played in five career postseason games, totaling 45 tackles (27 solo) and one sack.

A native of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Lofton was originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round (37th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. Lofton played in 39 games at Oklahoma with 19 starts, including four starts at middle linebacker. He recorded 197 tackles (117 solo), one sack, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions. His performance as a senior in 2007 earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and consensus All-American and All-Big 12 Conference honors.

Curtis Lofton signed a 3 year / $18,000,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $6,500,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $6,000,000.

The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A

Q: Did this develop pretty quickly over the last 24 hours or so?

Lofton: “Yeah, there was an interest on both sides and it got done really quickly.”

Q: Did they talk to you about what your role would be here and if you would be playing in the middle?

Lofton: “I think my role here is I’m going to be the middle linebacker and kind of the quarterback of the defense. Kind of help these young guys get lined up. Take charge and they brought me here to win.”

Q: What impressions do you have of Sio Moore and Khalil Mack?

Lofton: “I’ve seen some film of them, but I haven’t really seen enough to give you guys what I think of them just yet. I think I’d rather meet them and be around them before I start giving my opinion of them.”

Q: Was there something in talking to Ken Norton, Jr. and Jack Del Rio that attracted you to this defensive scheme?

Lofton: “I think the No. 1 thing that attracted me to the Raiders is just the passion, the energy, just the positive feeling that we’re going to get this thing turned around. Why not win now? Another cool thing about it is Coach Del Rio was a linebacker, played linebacker, Ken Norton Jr., he played linebacker, and then linebackers coach coach Sal Sunseri, they all played linebacker. So, they’re going to see it how I see it and I think they can help me take my game to the next level.”

Q: Is it difficult to separate the business side from a city and a town that you grew to love in New Orleans?

Lofton: “Yeah, it sucks getting cut. It sucks getting released. At the same time, like I said, there are a lot of things to look forward to. My future coming here, being a part of this. These great fans and the great history here. I cherish my time there but, walking outside and seeing the scenery and this weather, it’s tough to be disappointed about being here.”

Q: I’m sure you knock on wood when you hear people talking about your consecutive games played and all of that, but is your durability and availability a point of pride for you?

Lofton: “That’s definitely my pride. There have been times when I didn’t think I was going to be able to play and I found it within to play. I think I’ve got this burning force inside of me that loves to compete, and I feel like anytime I’m on the field, I give my team a great chance to win. So I always try to be out there regardless, and plus, I always put my team above my own needs and my own health. That’s how I’ve always been and that’s how I’ll always be.”

Q: Dan Williams said Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck were around to talk to him. To come to a team with two veterans of that kind of credibility in this league, how appealing is that?
Lofton: “I got to sit down and have dinner with Tuck last night, and it’s definitely appealing. He made a great case for here. I’ve got a ton of respect for him in this game. He told me, he said, ‘We’re missing a middle backer. We need you to be that guy.’ I thought about it and I signed up today, so I’m ready.”

Q: The Raiders have been connected to DeMarco Murray for about 24 hours, and you went to college with him. Will you play the role of recruiter now that you’re with the Raiders.

Lofton: “Man, I think you can’t have too many good players on one team, or too many good Sooners, that were former Sooners on one team. I reached out to DeMarco. I think he has a lot on his plate right now and I would love for him to be a part of this team. Man, it would be awesome to get him.”

Q: So you did reach out to Murray?

Lofton: “Yes, I did.”

Q: In terms of the responsibility of being the middle linebacker and knowing the scheme, are you going to try to sink your teeth into this playbook and try to get as immersed as possible in the time you have?

Lofton: “I think that I’ve been given some tools that will help me get into the book, this playbook, and start learning, and I’ll do that. But some of it, too, is just you have to walk it. You have to get a good feel for it. You’ve got to be around the guys, see how you’re going to play things. Coaches are still getting things together, so I feel like I’m definitely going to immerse myself as much as possible and learn the little bit they gave me and knock that out, so when I come back, I’ve got a jumpstart. But I’ve always been a fast learner.”

The Oakland Raiders Sign Former Buffalo Bills Tight End Lee Smith

March 11, 2015 2:32 PM PT

Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent Tight End Lee Smith, the club announced Wednesday.

Smith, 27, joins the Raiders after four seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2011-14). Smith’s career totals include 56 games played with 34 starts, 20 receptions for 144 yards (7.2 avg.) and three touchdowns.

Smith joined the Bills via waivers from the New England Patriots shortly before the 2011 regular season. In 2014, Smith appeared in 14 games and led all Bills tight ends with 10 starts. He hauled in seven catches for 42 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown in the Bills’ season-ending victory over New England.

Smith appeared in every game for the Bills from 2012-13, starting 21-of-32 games played during that span. He recorded two receiving touchdowns in 2012, a career high, and totaled a career-high 78 receiving yards in 2013.

The Powell, Tenn., native was originally selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (159th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Marshall. Smith totaled 75 receptions for 791 yards and three touchdowns, and served two seasons as a captain on the Thundering Herd. In his senior year, Smith ranked second on the team with 38 receptions for 358 yards (9.4 avg.), earning him All-Conference USA honors and an Allstate Good Works Team nomination.

Lee Smith signed a 3 year / $9,100,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $3,100,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $3,033,333

The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A

Q: Can you describe how this deal came together?

Smith: “Obviously, after finishing my first four years out there in Buffalo, it became pretty clear that I was going to be hitting free agency, so [tight ends coach] Bobby Johnson and [quarterbacks coach] Todd Downing were obviously out here, both of which I’ve had a relationship with in the past and have been around me and coached me. I figured that they were there and when it was time for teams to get in touch with me, that maybe they would be one of the ones to do it, at least I hoped so. I hoped those two guys would have good things to say about me. So when they call, it was rewarding to know that I kind of impressed those guys over the years and they trust me to get out here and get to work, and get this thing going in the right direction with them.”

Q: You were used a lot as a blocking tight end in Buffalo. Do you see that as your strength? Can you do more on the receiving end than you’ve shown so far?

Smith: “You get to work every Sunday for this football team, so whatever package that ends up being is obviously humbling and rewarding for me. I’ve got four kids at home and I get their support by playing football for a living. Just like anybody else out there, I obviously think I can contribute in many ways to help this football team win. But whatever those ways are, as long as I’m out there playing football every Sunday, then I’ll be having a lot of fun and enjoying helping this team win. So sure, of course I can catch the ball if they threw it to me, but whatever they ask me to do is what I’ll do.”

Q: What is the one part of your game you take the most pride in?

Smith: “Over the years, people have kind of referred to me as a lunch-pail guy and I take a lot of pride in that. Hopefully, the guy that I’m putting my hand in the dirt beside trusts me and can count on me to fight my tail off until the whistle blows, and maybe here and there I might not hear the whistle blow. (laughing) So just the grinding aspect of my game and getting in there with the hogs and fighting my tail off, and hopefully getting the running backs of the Oakland Raiders to the second level is kind of what gets me fired up and excited to play ball.”

Q: If playing in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s traditionally run-heavy offense is a natural fit for his blocking capabilities?

Smith: “Absolutely. I’m excited about getting to work with the plans that we have here in Oakland as far as offensively and running the ball. Obviously, Derek’s doing great things and is a great young talent. It never hurts the guy taking snaps to get that run game going, it makes it a lot easier. Obviously, that’s kind of what we want to do around here, and if they think that I can help with that, then you know what, that’s very humbling. I’ll buckle my chinstrap and go to work and hopefully, do everything they envision me being able to do.”

With Ndamukong Suh Landing With Dolphins: Raiders Are Focused On Terrance Knighton

March 8, 2015

Shawn Jonas

The Raiders were linked to Ndamukong Suh, he was supposedly going to make a visit to Oakland next week. It seems as if he is off the market.

Contract details are starting to leak, making it appear more and more like the Miami Dolphins will sign free agent defensive tackle as soon as free agency opens Tuesday afternoon. Miami was not the only team chasing Suh, however, and now those other teams are starting to turn their attention to their other targets.

Sun’s deal with the Dolphins is said to be a six year deal worth $114 million with $60 million gauranteed.

The Oakland Raiders and Terrance Knighton have been linked since Jack Del Rio signed on as head coach. Kingston had tweeted out  to AP’s @arniestapleton : “I want to be wherever Jack is. I’ll just leave it at that.” #Raiders .The Raiders are heavily invested in Denver’s Terrance Knighton, per a league source.

Knighton had followed Del Rio from Jacksonville to Denver, and has played five seasons under Jack.  Knighton has said Del Rio would be someone he would speak to if a deal can’t get worked out in Denver.

Del Rio spoke highly of Knighton last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“We drafted him, and we thought at that time he was kind of a dancing bear type,” Del Rio said at the time. “Kind of a big powerful man that can stay on his feet and run down the line. This game is about big, powerful men, so that the guys that have the skill level can do their things. So, this big, powerful man played well in Jacksonville. We got back together, he played well in Denver and so I appreciate that. I respect that.

“We have to have those kinds of people in our trenches on the offensive and defensive line in order to play the kind of football we expect to play.”

Another option or even a bonus next to Knighton, if he lands in Oakland, would be the young Jared Odrick from the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins have stated they would like to bring Odrick back to the team, but the Suh move seems to signal that they will not make a full effort to re-sign Odrick as he enters his sixth-season in the NFL. Odrick, Miami’s first-round Draft choice in 2010, has recorded 16.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and 129 tackles in his career.

Miami could still find a way to make the roster space to re-sign Odrick, looking to keep the 2010 28th pick next to the 2010 second overall pick once Suh officially joins the team. Odrick, however, is likely going to command a contract worth at least $7 million, a number, now that Suh is off the market, that could quickly exceed the Dolphins’ ability to pay if other teams start a bidding war.

Possible landing spots for Odrick;  Jacksonville, Oakland, Denver