Al Davis and his team of employees have climbed to the top of the NFL Mountain and when asked if they would ever be competitive again SHOUTED, "Hall Yes!!!"
By signing Wilson, Harris, Walker and now Hall, coupled with keeping Fargas, Nnamdi and Kelly the Raiders have gone out and signed Pro Bowlers and potential Pro Bowlers to a young core of talent that will NOW have playmakers and shut down defensive players to lean on.
By adding Gibril Wilson to the secondary mix, they sent a message that Schweigert WILL NO LONGER BE A PLAYER ON THIS TEAM unless he takes a substantial pay cut and just plays special teams. They also used the first signing to replace the largest weakness on the entire team and they didn't stutter or hesitate, they paid the Bay Area native and best safety available in the draft or free agency and moved onto Wide Receiver and LT.
By bringing in Kwame Harris, they said goodbye to good guy Barry Sims and opened up a spot for second year player Mario Henderson to compete for while making the 6th best rushing team even better with the powerful and agile Harris. He can play LT or RT and is a BEAST in the running game, while he has struggled, to say the least, in the Niner's version passing game. Cable brought him in because of his high football IQ and his dominating run blocking.
When Jerry Porter bolted for Jacksonville (My pick for AFC Champs in 2008) he left a terrible group of receivers, of which he was the supposed #1 guy.
With no true #1 available in this draft and a deep talent pool of "Potential" receivers the Raiders went after the 2nd best receiver on the market, Javon Walker and they gave him #1 money.
Walker has all of the tools that are required to be a #1 receiver. He has great hands and he makes tough catches in traffic and he can, unlike Jerry Porter, battle well for contested tosses. He is exactly what a young JaMarcus Russell needs, a second go to guy on third down (Miller is also an option) as well as a threat to score from anywhere on any given play.
Last season there was NO THREAT that the Raiders would score through the air and the team STILL ranked #6 in the League in Rushing. Imagine how well the team will run with an actual threat to throw the ball under center and catch one deep split wide.
The presence of Warren Sapp, who should have been a pass rushing ONLY player, and the lack of Tommy Kelly really hurt the inside of the Raider's run defense so the team made sure that Kelly would be in Silver and Black for a LONG time by committing Top Line money to him.
Tommy Kelly is as versatile as any DT/DE in the League and if he stays healthy he will make the run d better.
Justin Fargas deserved the money that he got to stay. Fargas is a true Raider and in part time duty he ran for 1,000 yards last season. Any team that wants to be successful over an entire NFL season needs three backs that can start and with Fargas, Rhodes and Bush the Raiders are set at RB until 2009. And that is VERY important on this "Running Team", which the Raider should be to take the pressure off of JaMarcus in his first full season.
Even in adding Drew Carter, slot receiver, and William Joseph the Raiders continued to address needs and then the Bomb dropped yesterday.
With Nnamdi (Arguably the best man on man corner in the NFL) already locked up with the franchise tag, the Raiders made a move that sent "Shock and Awe" through the NFL. By putting together the sign and trade for DeAngelo Hall (Arguably the best bump and run corner in the League) the Raiders have put the League on notice. The Raiders are coming back and their doing it their way.
The lockdown duo of Nnamdi and Hall will allow the team to blitz and stunt more and there will be no QB in the League that wants Derek Burgess breathing down his neck while waves of silver and black piranhas stir in the secondary just waiting to take a pick back to the house.
If you add Michael Huff to the mix as a lockdown safety on the tight end then the Raiders can take your three best receivers out of the game...Completely...With three players while the rest of the team gets after the QB and stuffs the run. That will be SWEET!!!
So, with the money concerns that some raise and the health concerns that others lament, I can offer this, by doing things Al's way, "We may be going to "Hall" In a Bucket, but at least we're enjoying the ride...Again"