Oakland Raiders' New-Look Defense Improved by 4 Key Free Agents

By Carlton Chin
Justin Tuck
William Perlman – USA TODAY Sports

After the Oakland Raiders‘ false start to the free-agent season with Rodger Saffold, the Raiders suddenly have a new-look defense. They signed a multitude of players over the past few days.

Most recently, the Raiders signed defensive lineman Antonio Smith, age 32, and cornerback Tarell Brown, age 29. Smith and Brown join Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, who were also signed recently by the Raiders. The moves give the Raiders four new defensive starters — all of whom have Super Bowl experience. The offseason has started to get interesting for Raiders’ fans, especially with good veteran experience.

While the players signed are all veterans, they are mostly about 30 years old, so they should still have some good years left. This may especially be true with the change in scenery — and an improving Raiders team.

Tuck, who turns 31 at the end of this month, was the New York Giants‘ defensive captain the past few seasons. Tuck helped lead the Giants’ pass rush, which was one of the few bright spots for the 2013 Giants after a disappointing start. Based on various statistical measures, Tuck is still a solid performer and is a great signing for the Raiders.

In addition, Woodley, age 29, was the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Woodley missed several games each of the past three seasons. He will definitely be an asset to the Raiders’ defense, particularly if he stays healthy. Overall, the Raiders’ defense has improved drastically over the past few days.

The other good news for the Raiders and their fans is that none of the free-agent signings have been particularly expensive. Thus, the Raiders still have plenty of ammunition left for improving other important areas of the team with high-profile players.

Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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