Raiders to sign Pro Bowler McAlister?

Apparently former Raven Pro Bowl corner, Chris McAlister, thinks he will be a Raider…like yesterday.

In an article for the Los Angeles Times recently, he was quoted as saying: “I will be back in full force on Sept. 15. I can’t say what team yet, but I will be playing again.”

That statement suggested that he was being persued by one of the four teams that played on Monday night– the Patriots, Bills, Chargers and Raiders. The reason being that a team must wait until after it’s Week One game to sign him so that if they later cut him, they won’t have to pay him his entire salary for the season.

Then, according to the Baltimore Sun, McAlister told a few people close to him that he “will eventually sign with the Oakland Raiders.”

 

This signing certainly fits with the signings thus far of Greg Ellis and Richard Seymour. The similarity being that they are all great or formerly great veteran players from winning teams. The difference here being that McAllister is coming off a serious knee injury and it remains to be seen if the ten year veteran has fully recovered.

McAlister was a first round pick by the Ravens in 1999 and has spent his entire career with the team. He has been to three Pro Bowls, won a Superbowl and made All Pro in 2003. He started nearly every game for the Ravens from ’99 to 2006. One of his Pro Bowl years was in ’06 but that was the last full season he played. Injuries cut short the past two seasons for him. He started half the season in ’07 and just 5 games last season and was released by the Ravens at season’s end. The thinking is that he will never again be the player he once was.

That remains to be seen, but he is certainly going to be out of shape after having not set foot on a football field since five games into last season and not signing with another team yet and/or attending any training camp. If he is signed by the Raiders (even though the 15th has come and gone), it would likely be a few weeks before he could contribute.

The main question is not WHEN he will contribute though– It’s WHERE. He is said to be a likely candidate for a move to safety at this point in his career and with the injury. But the Raiders would want him as a corner first and foremost. Outside of Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson, the cupboard is just about bear. Stanford Routt covers the slot and usually gets beaten badly a few times a game. And after that, there is just John Bowie who has never proven he is a worthy replacement, let alone starter.

On the other hand, suddenly the Raiders look pretty stacked at the safety position. Tyvon Branch is playing well at strong safety, Hiram Eugene and Michael Huff sharing the duties at free safety, and Mike Mitchell is waiting in the wings. There would be little to gain in bringing McAllister in to play safety. Even if the Raiders need an injury replacement, they have Jerome Boyd, who played extremely well in the preseason, on the practice squad that they could call up.

But since Chris McAlister seems to be so certain that he will be a Raider and that it has apparently already happened, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to know for sure. Check back in a few hours.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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