Tuesday afternoon, the Raiders announced they have signed former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
The deal is reportedly for one year and $5M, which is exactly the sort of ‘prove-it’ deal one might expect for a player with a history as spotted with injuries and suspensions as Burfict’s. This move was an obvious one, considering Burfict played his best football under Raiders DC Paul Guenther when he was DC of the Bengals, and the Raiders had a massive need at linebacker. Burfict said today that the first person he called upon getting cut by Cincinnati was his mother, and the second person was Guenther. With the two being so close, it’s no wonder the Raiders had interest in the much-maligned but physical linebacker.
Burfict is still only 28 years old, and passed his physical with the Raiders, apparently showing no ill effects from the number of concussions he has suffered throughout his career. It is possible that he will line up at one of the outside linebacker spots along with Tahir Whitehead, giving the Raiders an even more physical presence on the outside, or he could move back to middle linebacker as he was early in his career, and where Guenther often used him. The Raiders could still address the linebacker position in the draft or with another minor free agency acquisition, but Burfict (if he stays out of trouble) is a good start to fixing their problems in the front seven.
Update: Numbers on Burfict one-year deal far more favorable (and smarter) than first thought