MARCH 13: Lofton’s deal is for three years and carries a total value of $18MM ($10MM in guarantees), according to ESPN’s Bill Williamson (via Twitter). Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweeted earlier Friday that Williams’ contract is worth $25MM over four years. It includes $15.5MM in guarantees.
MARCH 11: The Raiders missed out on a few of their top targets in the early wave of free agency over the weekend, but the team is poised to add two solid defenders to its roster, Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com reports. According to Wright (Twitter link), the Raiders are signing defensive tackle Dan Williams and linebacker Curtis Lofton. The terms of the deals are not yet known.
Lofton, 28, was one of the most dependable and durable pieces on the Saints’ defense in recent years, starting all 48 regular season contests for the team since arriving in New Orleans in 2012. In 2014, he racked up 145 tackles to go along with a forced fumble. However, while his stats looked solid on the surface, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded him as a bottom-five inside linebacker, out of 60 qualified players. Money was tight for New Orleans and Lofton no longer looked like he was worth his salary, so the Saints cut him loose earlier this week.
The Raiders were heavily connected to Terrance Knighton, one of the top defensive tackles on the open market this offseason, but they turned their attention to Williams once their appetite for Pot Roast had waned. We learned Tuesday afternoon that Williams had a deal in place with a team, and we now know that his home will be with the Raiders. Williams was also linked to the Lions, Giants, and Washington at different points in recent days. The 27-year-old Williams, who ranked as the No. 33 free agent on PFR’s Top 50 list, has started 40 games in his five-year career, all with the Cardinals, who selected him in the first round of the 2010 draft.