Raiders

NFL update: Spikes to Chargers; Baas to Giants?

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NFL update: Spikes to Chargers; Baas to Giants?

July 27, 2011NFL PAGEEditor's Note: Bookmark this link and follow the updates over the next several days in what is expected to be a whirlwind of signings and roster makeovers.

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Chargers agreed to terms with three veteran free agents, linebacker Takeo Spikes, tackle Jeromey Clary and tight end Randy McMichael, on Tuesday.

"I think defensively you want to be as strong as you can be down the middle and with Spikes and then Sanders, you've got two strong personalities that bring a real aggressive presence to the defense," coach Norv Turner said.

A hard-hitting veteran entering his 14th season, Spikes got a call from general manager A.J. Smith on Tuesday morning, when teams were allowed to negotiate with free agents. The deal is for three years.

"He is an outstanding player. Takeo will bring his physical, aggressive style to our defense," Smith said. READ MORE

Report: Baas heading to New York
NEW YORK -- Center David Baas, who stepped in a center after Eric Heitmann was lost for the season, will sign a deal with the Giants, according to a Wednesday report in the Sacramento Bee.

The 6-foot-4, 330-pounder started at center and left and right guard in six seasons with San Francisco.

READ MORE

Hasselbeck leaves Seattle for Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Titans have reached a deal with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

Hasselbeck spent the past 10 seasons with Seattle, and the Titans are hoping he can bring stability to the position and work with rookie Jake Locker, the No. 8 overall draft pick.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. ESPN.com first reported the agreement, which was reached Wednesday morning. READ MORE

Ravens to cut Heap, McGahee, Mason, Gregg
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- The Ravens on Tuesday night agreed to terms on a five-year, 32 million contract with offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, an unrestricted free agent who has spent his entire four-year career in Baltimore. Drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Yanda is equally effective at guard and tackle.

Running back Willis McGahee, former Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, wide receiver Derrick Mason and nose guard Kelly Gregg have been told they will be cut, coach John Harbaugh confirmed Tuesday. READ MORE

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

NaVorro Bowman hasn’t been a Raider long. The inside linebacker visited the team’s training complex Monday morning, signed a one-year, $3 million contract that afternoon and was on the practice field a few hours later.

Bowman’s in something of a rush. His new team plays the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Bowman plans to face them.

That’ll take a crash course in Raiders defense. There’s new terminology to learn and roles to master, even if he hones on a specific package.

It won’t be easy. Even a perfect week might come up short with but one real practice in an incredibly quick turnaround.

It’s rational to think he won’t be ready, fair to give him two weeks practice before a Raiders debut.

That’s not the tack he’ll take.

“Hey,” Bowman said, with a wry smile. “I’m going to show you something.”

He understands the situation. The Raiders are 2-4, in desperate need of an AFC West win. A loss might put the Raiders too far down to rebound. The four-time All-Pro knows he’s needed, and believes he can help if he can get some scheme down.

“It’ll take a lot of hours, a lot of studying, a lot of repeating the same words and things like that,” Bowman said after Monday’s walk-through. “It’s part of being a good football player. You have to put the time in. It doesn’t come easy.

“I’m the guy to do it. I won’t let them down. I’ll put the work in that’s needed to be done.”

Immersing in brand new can be a cleansing process. Bowman left the only NFL team he’s ever known Friday when the 49ers cut him loose. He wanted to spend his career with one team. After seven-plus seasons, a switch was required. He didn’t like losing snaps. The 49ers wanted to go younger at the position. A trade was attempted. He didn’t like the suitor, and the 49ers respectfully pulled back. An outright cut was the decisive action.

It gave Bowman an opportunity to choose his next step. He didn’t go far. Bowman’s new job sits 35 miles north in Alameda, which offered plenty of advantages for a family man.

“My twin girls are five and my son is eight and they’re in school,” Bowman said. “They’re doing really well so you always want to keep that going as a parent. You don’t want to keep switching them in and out. That played a big part in what I was going to do. For the Raiders to show as much enthusiasm in wanting me to come here made my decision a lot easier.”

Enthusiasm was evident in two ways. The bottom line comes first. The Raiders offered $3 million to make this deal quick, adding a solid sum to the $6.75 million base salary guaranteed by the 49ers under his previous contract.

The second was clear in a Monday morning conversation with Jack Del Rio. The Raiders head coach spoke plainly, saying Bowman could make a major impact as a player and veteran leader of a shockingly young position group.

“It was really upfront, letting me know their position and how bad they want me,” Bowman said. “He let me know exactly what he wanted to get out of me coming here and being a presence for this defense. Being more vocal, getting guys to understand the urgency to be really good at the NFL level.”

His lessons start Tuesday morning. Starting weakside linebacker Cory James introduced himself in the locker room Monday and asked Bowman when he’ll start watching film. The answer: bright and early.

Bowman has a game to play Thursday. That’s possible because he didn’t have to relocate. He can just hit the ground running. He’s been constantly learning new systems during the 49ers coaching carousel, so he’d a quick learning. He also sees similar concepts between schemes.

“It’s not too different,” Bowman said. “The terminology is really the hard part. I’m a fast learner. I went out there today and I think I did pretty well. I’ll get in here early tomorrow and learn from my mistakes and try to keep getting better.”

That’s Bowman’s first goal. He also wants to show knee and Achilles’ tendon injuries haven’t sapped his effectiveness as many believe.

“I’m only 29 years old,” Bowman said. “I still have a lot of juice left in me.”

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

NaVorro Bowman’s employment odyssey lasted three days, and he didn’t have to get his mailing address changed.

The one-year, $3 million deal he reportedly signed with Oakland Monday came after a fairly quiet weekend for all parties. It was an easy choice for him, since there is minimal disruption, and an easy choice for Oakland, which needs all the defensive expertise it can get and has players that Bowman’s diminishing speed cannot expose.

In other words, everyone ends up happy . . . unless Bowman suddenly improves to the point where John Lynch has some ‘splainin’ to do.

The Raiders and 49ers have often shared players, thus belying their often overblown rivalry. The convenience was too . . . well, convenient, and will not be in evidence once Las Vegas becomes an NFL city.

And lord known the Raiders need some new voices in a room that has seemingly gone stale as expectations start to brown into disappointment. Bowman brings an effervescence borne of deep playoff runs, without being too loud a voice in a room that needs to develop more permanent leadership.

As to how much any of this translates into improved defensive play, or just a better vibe coming from Oaktown, well, put it this way.

If Bowman can stanch that level of bleeding, he shouldn’t be playing, he should be an EMT.

But at least he won’t end his career with a sour meeting with the people who run his original team, and that must count for something.

Maybe.