Jones-Drew, who was once one of the NFL’s top running backs, signed with the Raiders on Friday. The former Jacksonville Jaguars running back met with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie on Thursday and agreed to a contract after an offer was made.
Now the Raiders must hope Jones-Drew, who grew up in Oakland, can return to prominence.
Jones-Drew sustained a season-ending Lisfranc injury in 2012. Last season, Jones-Drew appeared in 15 games and rushed for 803 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry, a career low. Jones-Drew rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, including a career-high 1,606 rushing yards in 2011.
Oakland began its quest to catch lightning in the bottle by re-signing running back Darren McFadden, who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his NFL career. The Raiders traded for quarterback Matt Schaub, who set an NFL record with an interception returned for a touchdown in four consecutive games last season.
Oakland signed defensive end Justin Tuck to replace Lamarr Houston, which was not a bad move, but the Raiders acquired former Bucs left tackle Donald Penn, who struggled last season.
The Raiders are stockpiling players on the downside of their careers to compete with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers in the AFC West. If Oakland signed these players in 2010, the Raiders would be playoff contenders. Unfortunately, it is 2014.
Oakland deserves credit for trying to improve its roster, but outside of acquiring popular names, the Raiders may not receive much in return.
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