Gradkowski gone, Rookies incoming

Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, Gradkowski played his college football at Toledo so it is somewhat of a homecoming for him headed back to the midwest.

Gradkowski had his most extensive career playing time as a member of the Raiders over the last two years. He played in 13 games for the Raiders over that period and completed 165 of 307 passes for 2,068 with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Gradkowski provided a spark of life to a franchise that was dead in the water with former first round pick JaMarcus Russell floundering. Gradkowski can also be credited with pushing current quarterback Jason Campbell to a new level over the course of the 2010 season. Gradkowski, however, couldn’t manage to keep himself off the injury wire during his time in Oakland and his departure this year was ultimately inevitable.

In other Raider news, Head Coach Hue Jackson said during his 2 o’clock press conference that the Raiders have signed fourth round draft choice, HB Taiwan Jones, to a contract that includes a $405,000 signing bonus. Jones was an under the radar prospect who played at little known Eastern Washington because of a learning disability. He has been compared to Tennessee Titans running back, Chris Johnson, and Kansas City Chiefs tailback, Jamaal Charles.

The Raiders have also signed rookie seventh round draft choice David Ausberry. Ausberry could play either wide receiver or tight end for the team. He received a $45,900 signing bonus to help him set up shop in the Oakland area during training camp.

On the heels of those rookie deals, there are reports surfacing that LSU third round draft choice Joseph Barksdale could be next in line for a contract. Coach Jackson said that he hopes to get all of the rookies signed and in camp by tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Raiders have reached a rookie deal with wide receiver Denarius Moore that includes a $190,500 signing bonus. Moore is a speedy rookie out of Tennessee who is considered to be a steal in the fifth round as he was projected to go in round three back in April. Moore likely fell because of the inconsistencies in the Tennessee coaching staff. He had three different head coaches in his last three years at Tennessee.

According to his Twitter account, Raiders third round pick cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is “officially a Raider.” DVD has been one of the most talked about rookies this offseason and was said to be hand-picked by new cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson. He has already made a steadfast name for himself via Twitter where he has been known to frequently interact with fans of the team.

To see the complete list of Raider rookie UDFA signings, CLICK HERE.

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