Banta-Cain was cut by the Patriots earlier this offseason. At the time, he was has recovering from surgery to repair a strained abdominal muscle. Apparently, he has recovered will.
Banta-Cain is 30 years old, 6'2" and 250 pounds. Last season he recorded 45 tackles, five sacks and one fumble. In his nine year career, he has 250 tackles, 27 1/2 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.
According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com, Banta-Cain has drawn interest from seven teams. My guess is though, that if the Raiders want him, they can sign him.
The bright side of Quentin Groves being a horrible starting linebacker is that any incoming LB has a fantastic shot of working their way into the starting lineup.
Banta-Cain is a limited linebacker. His greatest asset to the Patriots was as a pass rusher. He won't be doing a lot of rushing the passer in Oakland. Of course, that fits the mold of recent LBs the Raiders have brought in. Limited or not, I would still expect him to be a slight upgrade over Groves. Jump over for a couple of scouting reports....
Here is the analysis of Banta-Cain from ESPN:
Banta-Cain is inconsistent playing the run because of his limited strength and use of leverage at the point of attack. He lacks good hand use to stack and shed contact quickly. He is limited athletically will struggle to make plays if isolated versus quick players. He has average burst and ability to change direction. He has improved as a pass-rusher with better hand use and counter moves coming off the edge.
This comes to us via Pats Pulpit when Banta-Cain was released:
If this is indeed the end of Banta-Cain's career with the Patriots, he will ultimately go down in Patriots history as a really solid role player, but not much else. Banta-Cain came in as a seventh round pick in 2003, and earned his way into the team's rotation by the end of his rookie year. He ultimately played in and won two Super Bowls with the Patriots. In 2006, he turned into a viable starting option, picking up 5.5 sacks on the year.