The Oakland Raiders were one of the worst teams in the NFL last year, but so far this offseason they have done a solid job at working to bolster the defense, bringing in a number of players to add depth, including Nick Roach and now free agent Kevin Burnett.
According to ESPN.com, the Raiders signed free-agent linebacker Kevin Burnett, who will join his brother Kaelin on the roster for the team. Burnett played the past two years in Miami and after the Dolphins signed away Phillip Wheeler from Oakland, the Raiders returned the favor with this deal.
Burnett has been a consistent player on the team and has started 59 games over his eight year career while making a career-high 110 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2012. Burnett said that he hoped to play a different linebacker spot than his brother, so that the two can play on the field together.
The Dolphins had no interest in signing Burnett and cut him since they signed two big0name linebackers in Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to five-year deals. The team also released Karlos Dansby, who could end up on the Raiders radar as well.
"I think the biggest thing was I told him was I wasn't coming in to play the same position as my brother he told reporters, according to the team's website. "I'll go on record saying that. I want to make sure that we all understand that I'm coming in here to assist my brother, first and foremost, and come in here and play the best I can, provide leadership, and ownership of your responsibilities."
Burnett said he had a number of teams interested, but decided to the Raiders and his brother was the best spot. The linebacker was a second round pick by the Cowboys and played four seasons with Dallas and two with the Chargers before heading to Miami. The Oakland defense now has some depth at linebacker.
"I heard from teams rather quickly. These were probably the longest four days of my life. It's a very uncomfortable feeling," he told reporters, according to the team's website. "The Raiders, they were in it from day one. This is all a blur for me right now, so I really can't answer that question. It all happened fairly quick, I'll put it that way."
General manager Reggie McKenzie has been busy this offseason with the defense, cutting Michael Huff and bringing in Kaluka Maiava from Cleveland and Nick Roach from Chicago and the team could still be looking for more, including with Dansby or even Brian Urlacher and James Harrison, who was released by the Steelers.
Dansby could be a good fit with the Raiders and would be the second linebacker the team signed away from Miami. Dansby has been productive through his career and he led Miami with 134 tackles last season while also making one sack. He became expendable with the new signings and although he was shocked about being released, he could be West coast bound. Urlacher is currently back in talks with the Bears, but if that breaks down Oakland could get back into it.
The Raiders ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing yards per game given up last season and the team went just 4-12 behind Carson Palmer. The defense was beaten up most of the year and the team was forced to come from behind in most games.