WEDNESDAY, 6:08pm: The Raiders (on Twitter) announced that Helu’s deal has been signed.
TUESDAY, 8:01pm: Although they’ve been tied to DeMarco Murray throughout the day, the Raiders have added a lower-profile running back, agreeing to terms with Roy Helu, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. It’s a two-year, $4MM pact, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link).
The 26-year-old Helu rushed for only 216 yards in Washington last year, but was a focal point of the club’s passing attack, catching 42 balls for nearly 500 yards. He drew interest from several teams around the league, many of whom presumably wanted him to a fill their third-down back role. The Patriots and Jets both pursued Helu, as did the Giants before signing Shane Vereen.
In Oakland, Helu will be offered the chance to play 20 minutes from his home, as Zac Boyer of the Washington Times notes (via Twitter). With Maurice Jones-Drew having announced his retirement, the Raiders will count on Helu and Latavius Murray to round out their running back position. I’d guess Murray will act as the starter with Helu in his familiar passing-down role, but maybe Helu was offered a larger share of playing time in Oakland.
Helu earned a base salary of $1.431MM in 2014, so his new deal will indicate a pay bump of more than $500K.