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Derrick Johnson visiting Oakland: Raiders moving on from NaVorro Bowman or trying to bring his price down?

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We have some movement on the Raiders front of trying to fill the middle linebacker spot. But it isn’t re-signing NaVorro Bowman. They have former Chiefs All Pro Derrck Johnson in town for a visit according ot ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 4-time Pro Bowler is 35 years old. He has spent his entire 13-year NFL career with the Chiefs making life difficult for the Raiders and other AFC West rivals.

Reports prior to the draft were that the Raiders had an offer out for NaVorro Bowman, but his number was higher and the two sides weren’t budging. The Johnson visit could mean the Raiders have decided to move on. Or it could be intended on sending a message to Bowman.

Bowman is also a 4-time Pro Bowler and All Pro middle linebacker. But he’s 5 years younger than Johnson and far more productive. Not re-signing him is purely about money.

The Raiders freed up some $5.7 million in cap space on day two of the draft by restructuring Rodney Hudson’s contract. Whether that would be enough to bring back Bowman is hard to say. It could be just that the Raiders have a number in mind and even though they were unable to draft a middle linebacker to fill the spot, they’re still not willing to bring up their number for Bowman.

Bowman led the team in tackles last year (89) despite spending just 10 games with the team. Johnson had 71 tackles in 15 games last year and has had two Achilles injuries in the past few years. At 35, Johnson is not an upgrade from Bowman. Just perhaps cheaper.

Gruden prides himself on not letting players he wants leave the building without a deal. So we could find out soon the Raiders’ thinking is on filling the middle linebacker spot.


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