Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Gruden likes his veterans. He was known for liking his veteran middle linebackers most in his previous stints with the Raiders and Buccaneers. He is adding another one in 35-year-old former longtime Chiefs middle linebacker, Derrick Johnson as the Raiders and Johnson have agreed to terms on a contract according to Mike Silver.
The big question everyone is asking right now is what this means for the hopes that NaVorro Bowman will return to Oakland. Well, it’s not a great sign, though it doesn’t rule it out entirely.
Odds are the deal for Johnson isn’t a large investment, and probably just for one year. Consider it much like a veteran addition ahead of the draft. It fills a need, but doesn’t necessarily mean they will ignore the position (although if it’s MLB for the Raiders they probably will).
Johnson has suffered two achilles injuries since 2014 and has clearly been on the decline the past few seasons. But there’s not question he is the kind of player from a mental standpoint the Raiders could use in the middle. For that matter, so would the 30-year-old Bowman who is still highly productive, but who, at this point would appear to have a higher price tag than teams are willing to pay, which is the only logical explanation for his still being a free agent.