Cincinnati Bengals

Why Skip Bayless believes Vontaze Burfict is perfect fit for Raiders

Why Skip Bayless believes Vontaze Burfict is perfect fit for Raiders

The Raiders' signing of free-agent linebacker and noted head-hunter Vontaze Burfict might have left some people scratching their heads, but FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless wasn't one of them.

Oakland agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona State product on Tuesday, a day after the Bengals released him. Burfict, 28, was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Over the course of his seven seasons, Burfict has been fined repeatedly and drawn a number of suspensions for his reckless and violent play.

And that edge is exactly why Bayless believes the 28-year-old linebacker is exactly the type of player head coach Jon Gruden is looking for to help rebuild his defense.

Last season, the Raiders' defense ranked last in points allowed per game and 26th in yards per game, so the Silver and Black really only have one way to go. 

[RELATED: Mike Mayock impressed by Ohio State QB Haskins]

Oakland also added safety Lamarcus Joyner this offseason and reportedly is meeting with free-agent safety George Iloka in an attempt to shore up their secondary in Year 2 under Gruden. 

Burfict tallied 33 combined tackles in seven games last season, but he missed a number of games due to concussions and a hip ailment. If he's healthy, Burfict could give the Raiders some stability in the middle of their defense as they look to be one of the NFL's most improved teams in 2019.

NFL rumors: Raiders meeting with free agent safety George Iloka

NFL rumors: Raiders meeting with free agent safety George Iloka

After making splashy offseason additions on offense, the Raiders have to work hard to improve a defense that ranked last in points allowed per game and 26th in yards allowed.

Oakland added safety Lamarcus Joyner and signed former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a one-year contract Tuesday and now it looks like Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are focused on adding depth to their secondary.  

One day after signing Burfict, the Raiders reportedly are meeting with free agent safety George Iloka, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. 

Iloka, 29, spent the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals before playing for the Minnesota Vikings last season. Iloka enjoyed his best seasons under former Bengals and current Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. During his six seasons with the Bengals, Iloka showed good coverage skills while also being a reliable tackler. 

Iloka apparently isn't the only defensive back the Silver and Black are set to meet with, according to Rapoport, as cornerback Tyler Patmon and safety Curtis Riley also reportedly are in Oakland for a visit. 

[RELATED: Burfict wants AB beef behind him now that they're teammates]

The Raiders made a number of noteworthy moves to open free agency, but potential depth signings like Iloka are of the utmost importance and could be a big factor in making the Raiders one of the most improved teams in the NFL.

Vontaze Burfict wants Antonio Brown beef behind him with both on Raiders now

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AP

Vontaze Burfict wants Antonio Brown beef behind him with both on Raiders now

Things might get awkward at the start of Raiders OTAs in May.

That's when new teammates Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown will share a locker room for the first time.

Burfict (Cincinnati Bengals) and Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) played on opposite sides of one of the AFC North's fiercest rivalries, and things came to a head in the 2015 postseason. That's when Burfict knocked Brown out of the playoffs with a dirty, illegal hit to the head, and received a three-game NFL suspension. 

But Burfict, who signed a one-year contract with the Raiders on Tuesday, told reporters in a conference call he isn't concerned about any lingering tension between himself and the talented wide receiver.

"We're on the same team, with one goal. It's all positive, man," Burfict said. "He's a great player, he's gonna be a Hall of Famer one day, and honestly I'm gonna approach him just like I do all my other teammates. I'll introduce myself, all that good stuff. ... There's nothing negative over here, man. We're on the same team, everything's [about] trying to win a championship over here."

The Raiders traded for Brown earlier this month, and he tweeted Tuesday that he had already reached out to Burfict.

That's a marked departure from the ex-Steelers star. When former Pittsburgh teammate Juju Smith-Schuster crushed Burfict with a vicious block, "no one enjoyed [it] more than Brown," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook wrote Tuesday. In the aftermath of Burfict's hit, Brown made his displeasure with the play clear to Cook.

“I feel like guys don’t want to stop me no more,” Brown told Cook in early 2016. “They want to take me out. They want to kill me. They want to steal my dreams. They want to ruin me. They want to end me.”

[RELATED: Why Quinnen Williams remains so humble before NFL draft]

Burfict, for his part, sounded more than ready to bury the hatchet Tuesday. He said he'll keep an open mind when he meets Brown, as well as the rest of his new teammates.

"Honestly, we might [end up being] the closest friends on the team, you know what I mean," Burfict said. "So, just gotta go along with it, and I can't wait to meet him."

If Brown's tweet is any indication, he feels the same way.