The first few days of NFL free agency have seen Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots, the Houston Texans give away DeAndre Hopkins, and the 49ers choose Arik Armstead over DeForest Buckner.
Some teams made the necessary moves to jump into title contention, while a few former contenders now must transition into rebuild mode.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden undoubtedly got a nice voicemail from defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, and Mitchell Trubisky might be looking for a new house soon.
So, who came out on top in free agency and who still has us scratching our head?
The Raiders signed free agent tight end Paul Butler on Thursday.
Butler spent most of the previous two years on the Raiders’ practice squad, but was picked up late last season by the Detroit Lions as a reserve/future free agent. Butler (6 feet 6 inches, 250 pounds) also was promoted to the Raiders’ active roster in Week 17 of the 2018 season.
Eli Apple never finalized a contract with the Raiders, and the free-agent cornerback has agreed to join their scheduled Week 1 opponents.
Apple reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, the team announced.
The Raiders are set to play the Panthers in Charlotte on Sept. 13, and the Silver and Black could line up against the man the front office initially pegged to have a shot to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair on March 18 that Apple and the Raiders agreed to terms on a deal.
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But Apple never put pen to paper, and the deal officially fell apart on April 2 due in part to an inability to get a physical. The Raiders quickly changed course to bolster their secondary, adding Damarious Randall that same day and selecting defensive backs Damon Arnette (first round, No. 19 overall) and Amik Robertson (fourth round, No. 129 overall) in the draft a few weeks later. They also officially signed veteran corner Prince Amukamara on May 18.
Will the Raiders regret not bringing Apple in? It will be too early to tell after Week 1, but the Silver and Black will have all the more reason to want to take a bite out of the Panthers with Apple on the roster.
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