The Raiders went a few days without adding a free agent. That didn’t mean they were done.
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock continued checking boxes on Saturday morning, bringing guard Eric Kush into the fray. The interior lineman and his agent confirmed the pact on social media.
The Raiders were looking for depth there behind starters Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson. Denzelle Good also re-upped with the Raiders this winter.
Kush has played 49 games since entering the league in 2013 and has played guard on the right and left. He also has limited experience at center. Andre James will be the backup center, though he can play guard as well.
Kust lost the 2017 season to injury and finished 2018 on injured reserve as well. He started the first seven games of 2019 for Cleveland but lost his gig to a younger player. The Browns released him on Feb. 17.
The Raiders have stocked up at guard, creating an environment where the Raiders could try to trade Jackson if they find worthy compensation. Jackson is set to make a $9.350 million base salary in 2020 under a contract that lasts through 2022 but is essentially pay-as-you-go.
His name has come up as a possible trade chip and could get a quality return considering his talent and on-field disposition. He’s a top-tier guard and is getting paid like one, maybe too much for a new regime that didn’t authorize his big-money contract extension. Jackson also has been hurt the last two seasons. He played most of 2018 with a torn pectoral muscle and missed the 2019 season’s first half with a torn MCL.
When healthy, Jackson’s awesome. He and Trent Brown compose one of the best right flanks in football, but Good has proven a solid option at right guard should the Raiders ship Jackson off for an NFL draft pick or two. With Kush in the fray, they have the flexibility to make a deal if they choose. That won’t be an easy decision no matter what is done, but this Kush signing gives the Raiders options down the road.
As it stands, Kolton Miller, Incognito, Hudson, Jackson and Brown would start, from left to right, along the Raiders offensive line. James, Good, Kush, Brandon Parker and David Sharpe are set up in reserve. That’s a solid unit that could be supplemented again in the draft.