GM Reggie McKenzie added another important piece to the puzzle that is the retooled Oakland Raiders‘ defense by adding veteran cornerback Carlos Rogers on Monday. The 11-year veteran will rejoin his former San Francisco 49er teammate Tarrell Brown in the Raiders’ secondary after signing a one-year deal with Oakland. After signing on with the Silver and Black, Rogers said:
“The Raiders have been one of the teams that have been more active in the offseason, trying to turn things around. I see where this team is going and it wasn’t hard to come here and finalize the deal.”
Rogers was cut by the 49ers as a cost saving measure, as releasing the veteran cornerback created more than $5 million in cap space for San Francisco. He started every game of his three seasons in San Francisco but saw his role diminished following a hamstring injury late last season, being relegated to nickel back duty — a role it’s expected he’ll assume in Oakland. Though he may also challenge Raiders’ second-year man D.J. Hayden for a starting spot.
To say the Raiders’ secondary in 2013 was abysmal would be a kindness. Though they made a decent play now and then, cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter were burned early and often. The perfect illustration of how inept Oakland’s secondary was last season came in Week 9 when the Raiders gave up 406 yards and a staggering seven touchdowns to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. And it only got worse from there. It wasn’t a surprise that McKenzie let Porter and Jenkins walk. What is a surprise is that he didn’t ask them for a refund based on their miserable performance in 2013.
Letting Porter and Jenkins walk was addition by subtraction. Signing Brown, bringing back Charles Woodson as well as Usama Young, and now adding Rogers to the mix just about guarantees that the Raiders will field a far superior secondary moving forward. Rogers brings a wealth of experience to go along with his durability and leadership. He also brings 17 career interceptions, and 109 career passes defensed. Though he’s 32 years old, based on his performance just last season, he clearly has some gas left in the tank and will be a fantastic addition to the Raiders’ secondary.
Speaking of his pairing with Brown in San Francisco, and their subsequent move across the Bay, Rogers said:
“We were a big part of the puzzle that turned San Francisco’s defense around, so hopefully we can translate that over here and be even better.”
The good news for Rogers is that they certainly couldn’t be any worse than last season’s secondary. That’s a bar that is set very, very low.
Signing Rogers is another smart, savvy move orchestrated by McKenzie as he continues to retool the entire team. Adding veterans like Brown, and now Rogers to play alongside and mentor younger players like Hayden, will have an immediate as well as a long-term benefit for the organization. Rogers’ deal is a very cap-friendly one that will pay terrific dividends as the new look Raiders defense will most assuredly be a better squad in 2014. And perhaps rather than giving games away like they did last season, the defense with all of its new faces, will actually be able to steal some.