The Vontaze Burfict-to-Oakland rumors turned out to have legs. The Raiders met with Burfict on Tuesday and are signing the veteran linebacker, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com report (Twitter link). It’s a one-year, $2MM deal that includes $300K guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears.
Despite a polarizing reputation, the 28-year-old linebacker could roughly earn up to $5MM on this deal, Rapoport tweets. Incentives are involved, and it’s unclear yet how much of $5MM figure for which those account.
A day after the Bengals released him, Burfict will receive another chance. He will reunite with DC Paul Guenther in Oakland and be in position to be one of the Raiders’ first-string linebackers. While Burfict has often lined up on the outside in past Guenther schemes, the Raiders plan for him to play middle linebacker and have Tahir Whitehead stay outside, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM tweets. Burfict called Guenther soon after being cut, he said (via Vic Tafur of The Athletic, on Twitter).
The new Raider, obviously, comes with a controversial past. He is a perpetual suspension risk, having paid more than $4MM in fines.
Burfict has not played more than 11 games in a season since the 2013 campaign. He has completed just two 16-game seasons — 2012 and ’13 — and saw suspensions and on-field struggles in 2018 lead to his Cincinnati exit. This also places Burfict on the same team as Antonio Brown. The two have a history, with the linebacker concussing the wide receiver during a 2015 playoff game. That hit led to Brown missing the Steelers’ subsequent divisional-round game and Burfict drawing a suspension to start the 2016 season. He was also suspended to start the 2017 and ’18 seasons.
The Bengals cut bait on Burfict with two years remaining on his deal. In addition to having a reputation for delivering dirty hits, the former UDFA has reportedly sustained seven concussions himself. These factors do not paint a picture of reliability, but the Raiders are going to take a chance on Burfict’s skills.
This signing may result in Brandon Marshall, rumored as a Raider target, to seek another gig elsewhere. Though, considering Burfict’s history and the Raiders’ lack of surefire answers on their defensive second level, the longtime Bronco still may be an option.
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