UPDATE: According to USA Today reporter Tom Pelissero, linebacker Bruce Irvin will sign a four-year contract worth up to $37 million with the Raiders. The deal has $12.5 million in guaranteed money, and all comes in the first year. He has a $2.25 million roster bonus due in March 2017, and a $4.5 million base salary becomes guaranteed around the same time. This is a smart contract that won't handicap the Raiders long-term should Irvin not work out. The final two years are pay-as-you-go options that the Raiders prefer.
The Raiders were scouring open market for a consistent pass rusher to pair with Khalil Mack. On the eve of free agency, they reeled in a big fish.
The Silver and Black agreed in principle on terms of a contract with Seattle edge rusher Bruce Irvin, a league source told CSN California on Tuesday, adding depth and talent to the defensive front.
Irvin is expected to make his contract official on Wednesday afternoon, the formal start of NFL free agency.
Exact terms and the length of contract were not immediately known. NFL Network first reported the Irvin pact. The Raiders’ interest was kept private until the agreement was reached to add a dynamic pass rusher who fits well into the Raiders defensive scheme.
[RELATED: Raiders free agency tracker]
Irvin has worked closely with Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who was his position coach in Seattle from 2010-14. Irvin knows the coach, knows the system and should know he’ll be an attacker opposite premiere incumbent edge rusher Khalil Mack.
If Mario Edwards Jr.’s neck permits him to play without restraint next season, Irvin’s presence will allow him to follow a normal pattern of playing end against the run and inside on passing downs.
Irvin, 28, had 22 sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles in four seasons in Seattle. He had 38 tackles, five sacks, 12 quarterback hits and 21 other pressures last season.
The Seahawks declined the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option, which sent him toward the open market.
He didn’t last long there. The Raiders quietly made an agreeable offer to bring him into the fold. Irvin should provide stability at strongside linebacker, and play largely in an attacking role. Last year, he played 18 percent of his snaps in pass coverage.
That would seem to be a role previously occupied by Aldon Smith, who is suspended until mid November for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Smith and the Raiders seemed set for a reunion despite the fact Smith will be a free agent after he’s reinstated. At this stage, that is likely still the case.
The Raiders also believe pass rushers are better in bulk, and they certainly need them with Smith currently out of the picture and Edward Jr.’s neck issues.
Irvin and Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele are the first two free agents of the Raiders class, seemingly solid additions that fill specific needs.
The Raiders will dive further into free agency on Wednesday, looking to shore up their interior linebacker corps, their secondary – keep an eye on Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins – and their running back situation.