After watching Lamarr Houston leave via free agency, the Oakland Raiders were desperate to find a playmaking defensive end who can fill the void in 2014. Well they appear to have done so with the signing of Justin Tuck, formerly of the New York Giants.
Early reports indicate that Tuck’s deal with the Raiders includes two years and $10 million. The Raiders also visited with LaMarr Woodley on Thursday, but went with the better fit in Tuck.
Now ready to don the silver and black of Oakland, Tuck will immediately fill in as the starter at right end, the position Houston vacated when he signed with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday. Although he likely won’t be the pass-rushing threat the Raiders were hoping for, Tuck is a quality edge rusher who should come close to double-digit sacks by seasons end – he finished 2013 with 11 sacks, although 9.5 came in the last six games.
Tuck is also an underrated run defender who does a great job of keeping space between his blocker and him, and making plays on the ball carrier. According to Pro Football Focus, he graded out as the eighth-ranked 4-3 defensive end last season.
The Raiders also had to appreciate the fact that Tuck brings plenty of durability to the table. In the last seven seasons, he’s missed a total of five games. Seeing as the Oakland roster is routinely crippled by injuries, it should be comforting for the Raiders that Tuck is a player they can rely on to see the field each and every week.
At 31-years old, Tuck is nearing the end of his NFL career. Still, he has a few good years left in the tank and shouldn’t have too much trouble making an impact in Oakland this season. Especially with Houston gone, Tuck is looking like the player who could make the Raiders’ defensive line relevant in 2014.
Don’t expect fireworks, but Tuck signing with the Raiders is definitely a win.