It was surprising, to say the least, when it became clear that Rodney Hudson would not be returning to the Las Vegas Raiders. He has been been on of their best players for years and almost never misses games. It appears he was fed up with losing and the team was looking to save some money so they mutually agreed to part ways.
While it seems like a big mistake on the surface, the Raiders could have a secret weapon. They apparently really like what they’ve seen from backup center Andre James. In fact, they like him so much that the team announced on Monday that they’ve signed him to a multi-year extension.
That’s a major vote of confidence for a player who didn’t take a single snap at center last season. According to Ian Rapoport, James is getting three more years worth $12.5 million. $6 million of that is guaranteed.
The Raiders recently signed longtime Houston Texans starting center Nick Martin. Now that James got a contract extension, it seems likely that the plan is for Martin to be a backup.
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Raiders Have Confidence in James
Signing James to a bigger contract is a pretty big endorsement from the Raiders. They could’ve easily let him play out this year to see if he’s an adequate replacement for Hudson. Instead, they decided to pay him having only seen him start in one game at center back in 2019.
This could mean that the Raiders expect him to be really good and wanted to pay him before his price went up. That would make the team look smart in the long run. However, if it’s clear that James isn’t up for the task, the Raiders are stuck paying $6 million guaranteed to a possible bench player. That would be far from ideal.
Regardless, $12.5 over three years for a solid center isn’t a steep price to pay. If James is as good as the Raiders clearly think he is, then fans will quickly forget about the decision to trade Hudson.
What to Make of Raiders OL?
Outside of the 2018 season, the Raiders have had very good offensive lines over the last several years. It’s clear that the team understands that Derek Carr is most effective when he has a clean pocket. The fact that they blew up the offensive line this offseason has been very surprising.
While many are questioning the Raiders’ decision-making, the offensive line shouldn’t be too bad. Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good are set to return. All three of those players have started a good amount of games for the Raiders and have all played well. The two biggest areas of concern are at center and right tackle. Las Vegas believes they have their starting center of the future so we’ll have to see how James performs before we know if it’s a big downgrade.
As of now, the Raiders have not added a right tackle. The team will most likely address the position in the draft. It’s certainly appealing to add a young right tackle to pair with Miller for the next decade. If the Raiders can nail right tackle in the draft, then the offensive line should be solid but probably not elite quite yet.