The Raiders avoided another high profile rookie holdout by signing Darren McFadden way before training camp opens
(Philadelphia, Pa) — In a move that signaled that the Oakland Raiders are ready to move out of rebuilding mode, the 4-12 team from 2007 avoided another first round rookie holdout by signing running back Darren McFadden late Thursday night. The Raiders didn’t announce the deal’s terms, but several media outlets are reporting that McFadden has agreed to a six-year deal worth up to $60 million, with $26 million guaranteed.
McFadden’s signing clearly shows that the Raiders and McFadden’s agent Ian Greengross had learned from last year’s debacle with the signing of first-round draft pick and first overall player selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell. The large former LSU quarterback had little to no impact in his rookie season after missing the entire 2007 training camp while squabbling over his rookie contract. The signing should provide Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin a much-needed weapon, which can only help in building his team and strengthening his cantankerous relationship with Raiders owner Al Davis.
It will be interesting to see if the two-time Heisman runner-up can live up to comparisons to last year’s breakout player and NFL rookie of the year Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. McFadden before tackling the Peterson comparisons will need to find room in a crowded backfield that includes former college power back Michael Bush, thousand yard rusher Justin Fargas, and LaMont Jordan.
I believe if McFadden’s college career is any indicator — ran for 4,590 yards, averaged 5.8 yards per carry, and had 41 touchdowns with explosive 4.3 speed in the forty — then he should be a very special player for the Silver and Black. Heck we may even see Kiffin and new Raiders offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp use McFadden, a former high school quarterback, as a “Slash” type player lining him up everywhere from under center to in the slot as a receiver.
I am not ready to hand the mercurial running back the this year’s rookie of the year award early like I did last year in naming Adrian Peterson as the winner the day he signed. But McFadden should be a high impact player in ’08 and look for him to be a strong contender for the R.O.Y along with Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, Jets tight end Dustin Keller and Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)