The Raiders added some veteran leadership to their defense, and it’s someone they know well. Longtime Denver Broncos interior linebacker Brandon Marshall has signed with the Raiders, the team announced on Thursday.
A source said he signed a one-year contract worth up to $4.1 million.
This is an important addition for the Raiders, who have now added two veteran linebackers to a young defense. Marshall joins Vontaze Burfict as newcomers with experience playing off the ball, especially in the middle and on the weak side.
Marshall has been a quality starter for years, but someone with his pedigree is available at this stage of free agency for two reasons: 1. He’ll be north of 30 in September, and 2. He’s coming off knee issues that ruined his 2018 season, which eventually saw him dropped from the starting lineup.
Denver declined his 2019 option and cut bait with two years left on a five-year contract, sending him to the open market with recent game film that doesn’t show him at his best.
Marshall wants to show he can still play at the high level many expect. Burfict wants the same after concussion issues sent him off track. Derrick Johnson had a similar quest last year and that didn’t pan out.
Johnson was coming off injury but didn’t have the same juice at 35 that he had earlier in his career.
Marshall is far younger, with a greater chance to find old form. He could lineup next to Tahir Whitehead and Burfict, with young players Jason Cabinda and Nicholas Morrow and Marquel Lee also in the mix. Burfict and Marshall have played the same role before, so we should wait to see how role shake out before setting a depth chart in March.
We know this: Marshall has been a sure tackler, proving competent against the run and pass.
This move could help the Raiders defense as a whole and fortify the linebacker corps, but it’s far from a sure thing. Guaranteed performers are hard to find at this stage of the free-agent period.
He’s also yet another Drew Rosenhaus client added over this free-agent period. Marshall’s the fourth to end up in silver and black in the last week-plus, following Antonio Brown and Trent Brown and Isaiah Crowell, who also signed up on Thursday.
It would be a homecoming of sorts for Marshall if he remains a Raider in 2020. He’s from Las Vegas, where the team will be moving shortly, and went to Nevada-Reno. He only has a one-year deal, but certainly hopes to parlay that into an opportunity to play in his hometown.