Brick by brick, player by player, the Oakland Raiders are beginning to get their house in order before the madness of free agency and the draft really begins. In the wake of the team signing special teams ace Taiwan Jones to a three-year contract, the team has moved to shore up their leaky offensive line by signing Khalif Barnes. Barnes is the first of Oakland’s 18 pending unrestricted free agents that the team has locked up before the free agency feeding frenzy begins.
Barnes has spent the past five seasons primarily as a RT in Oakland, and has proven himself to be versatile and relatively solid on the line. But last season, as injuries ravaged the team, Barnes shifted over to play 11 games at LT in relief of the injured Jared Veldheer, and moved over to LG when Veldheer returned for the final five games of the season.
The 6-foot-6, 321-pound Barnes is now the third offensive lineman the Raiders have under contract, joining C Stefen Wisniewski and RG Mike Brisiel. This leaves only Veldheer and veteran Tony Pashos unsigned. And while the team has been silent about Pashos’ future with the club, Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie has expressed his desire to sign Veldheer to a multi-year deal, something he views as vital to the success of the organization.
In re-signing Barnes, the team has locked up one of their stalwarts. He’s appeared in 63 games for the club, including 46 starts. He also has a string of 41 consecutive starts. Barnes even started a game last season against the Philadelphia Eagles after his wife had given birth to one of the couple’s two children. While Barnes is not overpowering, he provides solid run-blocking and pass protection for the club.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Barnes has said that he’s been on one-year deals since his arrival in Oakland, so this is likely to be along the same lines. It’s a solid signing for the team and, assuming the line can stay healthy this season, helps move them in the right direction.