Tommy Kelly: Five Ways Oakland Raiders Could Have Better Spent the $50 Million

Sean StancillSenior Writer IFebruary 29, 2008


This article is dedicated to the front office of the Oakland Raider organization.  It is dedicated to everyone there—except Al Davis because I know this wasn’t his fault, I just know this wasn’t his idea.

The Raiders have signed DT/DE Tommy Kelly to a seven-year, $50 million deal.

The first questions running through my brain upon hearing the news compelled me to write this piece: What in the world were they thinking?  Is this a public cry for help?  Or do they know something the Black Hole and Raider fans everywhere don't?

Oakland has made more than Kelly’s day, they’ve made his whole life!  The team threw away $50 million on a player coming off reconstructive knee surgery.  In addition, Kelly had just one sack last year.

Let’s take a closer look at his stats.  Kelly had 27 tackles and one blocked kick last season, and 13 sacks in four seasons.  Granted, the kick he blocked did give Oakland their first win last year.  But was that one moment really worth all this money?  The answer is a definitive “No.”

Below is a list of five ways the Raiders could have better spent the $50 million.


1. Jevon Kearse

Jevon Kearse was released by the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday.  Surely the Raiders had early knowledge of this and could have made a move toward the former Pro Bowler.

Kearse is a far better player than Kelly and brings more to the table.  The Freak's hard work and personality would've been welcomed and enjoyed in the Coliseum, and he probably would have become an instant fan favorite.

Kearse could answer the call to the Raiders' sorry defensive line, and still generate a pretty good pass rush.  He is one of the best at his position, even nine years into the league.


2. Jonathan Vilma

One of the game's best linebackers, Vilma, brings a smashmouth mentality even with only four pro years.

The former Pro Bowler and Defensive Rookie of the Year was dealt for a conditional fourth round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints.  Oakland could easily have sacrificed any mediocre defensive player and $5 million to acquire Vilma.

With Jonathan, Oakland would automatically improve upon the defensive end and become a better team.


3. Lance Briggs

Briggs is already looking for a change—he was unhappy in Chicago.  One of the NFL's premier linebackers, he would bring great overall knowledge of the game and solid defensive play to any team.

It’s no secret that Oakland couldn't stop the run last year, and Briggs can clog up a hole pretty fast.


4. Ty Law

Kansas City released Ty Law on Wednesday.

The former New England Patriot and five-time Pro Bowler is recognized as a shutdown corner.  The Raiders already have a great pass defense and it wouldn't hurt to shore it up.

I guess Oakland will just have to depend on luck, a good pass rush, and another year of spectacular play from elite corner Nnamdi Asomugha.


5. Randy Moss

Moss brought back to the Bay Area?  It could've happened if Al Davis were still at the controls.

A year in New England may have changed Randy—his attitude seems to have improved.  He demonstrated last year that he is still among the game's best and is always capable of a big play.

Well, I guess we'll never know what Oakland could've done had Moss returned to town.