NFL Free Agency: Why the Oakland Raiders Should Sign Defensive Lineman Israel Idonije

Former Chicago Bear Would Be Huge Addition to Oakland's Struggling Defensive Line

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Reggie McKenzie has completely overhauled the Oakland Raiders' defense, and without a doubt the unit will be much better than the sham it was in 2012.

Unfortunately, McKenzie has not made any significant strides in fixing the defensive line that was absolutely atrocious last year.

With that being said, he needs to sign former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije.

Playing with the likes of Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman over the course of the last several years hasn't helped the underrated Idonije receive the spotlight. But boy has he deserved some recognition.

Over the last six years, Idonije has played in 95 of his last 96 games. He's also recorded 20 sacks over the last three seasons, including seven in 2012.

Oakland finished 31st in the NFL in sacks last year only behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. That's not very good. Adding Idonije to the defensive line would be an upgrade on a number of levels.

Lamarr Houston is the defensive line's only returning player this season, and the guys McKenzie brought into help him have never proven anything.

Pat Sims has never recorded more than 2.5 sacks in any season since coming into the NFL in 2008, and Vance Walker isn't much better. The only upside is that they are extremely cheaper than Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour who were both nowhere to be seen last year.

McKenzie was unable to re-sign Desmond Bryant and waited until the sixth round of the draft to take a defensive lineman.

According to, Oakland is $7.6 million under the cap. That's enough cash to sign rookies D.J. Hayden, Menelik Watson and Tyler Wilson and still have some left to spend. Idonije signed a one year/$2.5 million contract last season with Chicago, which means the Raiders should be able to get him for cheap the longer he goes unsigned.

This is a perfect situation for the Raiders since they would most likely be able to sign him at a price that works for both them and Idonije.

It's surprising that Idonije is still on the market considering his asking price isn't very high and his numbers have been solid for quite some time. He's no Julius Peppers, but he would look like Julius Peppers if he had to play on the same line as Sims and Walker.

Steven Slivka is a Freelance Writer for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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