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David Harris latest free agent middle linebacker not coming to Oakland, signing with Patriots

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Since free agency started in March, middle linebacker has been a major need for the Raiders. Heck, you could say make that claim for the past few years. But this offseason, it seemed like the Raiders front office would finally put some emphasis on the position.

That hasn’t happened.

David Harris becomes the latest middle linebacker to hit the market only to sign elsewhere and the second to head to New England. The first was Dont’a Hightower who tested free agency only to return to the Patriots.

Harris had been released by the Jets last week in a cost cutting move. the 11-year veteran was a stalwart in the middle for the Jets the past decade, missing just one game the past 8 years.

At age 33, he would have been another temporary fix for the Raiders. But they could use a temporary fix. Last season they brought in Perry Riley Jr after week four to patch up the position after Ben Heeney and rookie Cory James weren’t the answer.

Riley has not been re-signed and at this point it appears unlikely he will return. That leaves has the Raiders’ first team inside linebackers as James and former practice squad players, Tyrell Adams. Behind them as been free agent addition Jelani Jenkins, rookie fifth round pick Marquel Lee, and Heeney.

“Guys are very active, the guys that we have,” Del Rio said of the middle linebackers. “It’s a younger, inexperienced group, but there’s a lot of athleticism in that group. We look forward to getting the pads on and seeing if they can continue the way they’ve developed during the spring.”

So, unless James and Adams are the projected starters, anytime a middle linebacker comes available, he will be a potential candidate. That is IF another comes available.