It's been a big week for the Oakland Raiders both in terms of player moves and also with regards to front office changes. On Monday, May 7, Raiders safety Tyvon Branch signed his franchise tender. On Tuesday, May 8, the team announced the signing of free agent center Colin Miller.
Between the two announcements, the team made some big changes in their front office, with the firing of two staff members and the retirement of two more. Scout Bruce Kebric and College Scouting Director Jon Kingdon were fired (or "relieved of their duties") and scouts George Karras and Kent McCloughan retired.
I've placed my faith in new GM Reggie McKenzie and we're all going to have to see where this ride takes us, hopefully to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Here's a closer look at the Raiders' latest two signings:
Miller was originally signed by the Steelers in 2011 as an undrafted rookie free agent from Central Michigan University. He has not played in the NFL yet, but was in training camp with Pittsburgh last season. Miller is 6' 3" and 300 pounds and could become a key part of the Silver and Black's offensive line, although only time will tell.
Branch signed his franchise tender with the team, after being designated as the team's franchise player back on March 1. The franchise tag can be given by a team to one player per season who is eligible for free agency, but the team wishes to retain. The player is then guaranteed a certain salary based on a calculation involving the salaries of the top five players at his position. The arrangement is part of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
Tyvon Branch is a consistent player and started every game over the past three seasons and the key stat to me: he led the team in tackles in 2011 and 2010. In his NFL career, he has 347 tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 sacks, 16 passes defended and three forced fumbles. He's been with the Raiders since they drafted him in 2008 as the fourth-round pick (100th overall) in the NFL Draft, from the University of Connecticut. With all the problems the Raiders defense has been having, I hope he can inspire the other guys. Being the best player on a poorly performing defense doesn't say much.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
More from this contributor: