Rather than trade picks to help their ailing linebacker unit, the Raiders decided to re-sign Brandon Marshall within an hour of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Raiders re-signing LB Brandon Marshall, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2019
The addition of a linebacker is no surprise, as the Raiders are up against the wall with no depth at the position after a multitude of injuries and Vontaze Burfict’s 12-game suspension. Adding Marshall, however, is surprising, considering that he spent the entire offseason with the team before being cut in late August.
In a corresponding move, Oakland decided to waive Justin Phillips with an injury settlement. Phillips played on a variety of special teams on Sunday, but the 24-year old will reportedly miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
The Raiders have rarely used more than two linebackers at a time on defense, operating with the Nickel package as their base set. They were forced to start Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow for 100 percent of snaps in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Texans, and the lack of capable subs proved costly in coverage as the game wore on.
At the least, Marshall gives the Raiders a capable substitute who can play either linebacker position. He was considered to be a premier coverage linebacker during his time with the Broncos, but the 30-year old has had some of his athleticism sapped by nagging knee injuries.
The Raiders aren’t finding any long term solutions at linebacker this year barring an unforeseen free-agent addition or breakout, but Marshall should prove to be a capable band-aid for the rest of the season.