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More cuts came down today across the league. One of those cuts was Bills linebacker Nick Barnett. We examine if the Raiders could attempt to sign him.
Today it was the bills who were seeking some cap relief and clearing out some players. They cut strong safety George Wilson and outside linebacker Nick Barnett. Of the two, Barnett carries the most intrigue for the Raiders.
There is reason to think both the Raiders and Barnett would be interested in a reunion. The primary reason would be the Raiders new linebackers coach, Bob Sanders.
Sanders coached Barnett as the linebackers coach in Buffalo the past two seasons. Prior to his years with the Bills, Sanders was the defensive coordinator for the Packers where he coached Barnett as well. He brought Nick Barnett over from the Packers in 2011 and Barnett had a resurgence with a move to weakside linebacker. He tied a career high with three interceptions and had his best tackling numbers since 2007. He continued to post great tackling numbers last season.
Barnett was a starter for the Packers under Sanders when the Packers went to the NFC Championship. In Barnett's final season in Green Bay, they would win the Super Bowl.
This would, of course, mean a reunion with the Reggie McKenzie who scouted him out of Oregon State and made him the team's first round pick in 2003 draft.
Pro Football Focus ranked him as the ninth best 4-3 linebacker in the league last year. At the age of 31, he will likely only receive 1-2 year offers. His addition would bolster a thin linebacking corps in Oakland and bridge the gap until they can rebuild the unit with young talent.
The Raiders are in most need of a middle linebacker but having Barnett as competition or depth on the outside could be very valuable. The connection is there and I believe the interest will be as well.