Raiders choose Boller over Grad and Eugene over Huff

The Bay Area News Group is reporting that the Raiders and free safety Hiram Eugene have agreed to a back-loaded four-year contract worth $10.25 million. Eugene came to the Raiders as an undrafted free agent following the 2006 NFL Draft. That is the draft in which the Raiders took Michael Huff as the seventh overall pick. Now all indications are that Eugene is in as the free safety and Huff is going to be looking for a new team.

Fittingly, the Dallas Cowboys have reportedly expressed an interest in Huff. The Cowboys are in need of a few good safeties and just brought in Rob Ryan to coordinate their defense. Ryan was Huff’s defensive coordinator in Oakland for three seasons. It’s also worth noting that Huff is originally from Irving, Texas and played college football as a Texas Longhorn.

Huff had his most productive year in Silver and Black in 2010 with 94 tackles, four sacks, and three interceptions. Clearly the Raider brass thinks this will drive the asking price up in the open market. Meanwhile, the $2 million that will be paid to Eugene will be a bargain if he ends up the starter. The $3.25 million figure to be paid to Eugene in 2014 indicates the Raiders expect him to take his game to the next level.

Eugene has started in 19 games for the Raiders while playing in 50. His most notable action came in 2008 when he started the final ten games of the year after taking over for Huff and proved himself to be a far better tackler than his counterpart. His most notable impact for the Raiders has come on the special teams unit where he has been a steady starter for most of his career since 2007.

The Raiders have by far been the most active team in free agency since ending the silence by re-signing Richard Seymour to a two-year $31.5 million bank breaking contract. They had a plan and are clearly attacking it regardless of the NFL-NFLPA-CBA situation. Their two most recent “releases” of Huff and Robert Gallery have left them enough cap room to seriously toy with the idea of bringing back Nnamdi Asomugha. They have also shown classiness during the re-signing period, letting guys who they don’t expect to retain know that they won’t be back early on in the process.

Take for example Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. The Raiders have announced the re-signing of QB Kyle Boller to a one-year $1.25 million contract. That means Hue Jackson is comfortable with Boller being the primary back-up to QB Jason Campbell in 2009. It is highly likely that Gradkowski and Frye will be looking for new employers. Look for the Raiders to draft a QB in this year’s draft to come in and learn behind Campbell and Boller without having the added pressure of being the main guy.

If all else fails, the Raiders could end up bringing Frye back as the QB’s coach. Frye has been known in Oakland to be very active in the QB’s room and meetings. Former coach Tom Cable even hinted that Frye got involved in some game planning since he’s been with the team. My colleague, Levi Damien, hinted that the Raiders would be wise to add a QB’s coach. Is Frye the guy?

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