According to Scott Blair of CSN California, the Oakland Raiders wrapped up their first day of training camp by signing veteran offensive lineman Andre Gurode. Gurode was given the typical Reggie McKenzie one-year deal that many of the general manager's free-agent acquisitions get.
Throughout his long NFL career, Gurode went to five consecutive Pro Bowls (2006-2010) and has started 127 games since 2002. The downside to signing Gurode is that at his age (34) he is at the end of his career and after not playing at all in 2012, his best days are behind him.
Despite his age, this is a great signing by McKenzie to add a capable starter to an offensive line with more open spots than penciled-in starters. Oakland has Jared Veldheer at left tackle and Stefen Wisniewski at center. The guard spots and right tackle are wide open for competition, although Gurode won't be competing for the right tackle spot.
Gurode can play both guard spots and he can play center which opens up a number of scenarios for head coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
One option is to have Gurode take over for Wisniewski at center and move Wisniewski into one of the guard spots. Wisniewski played guard his rookie year after a lockout-shortened offseason gave him less time to learn the signals at center. Although Wisniewski was drafted as a center, he was a solid guard.
Another option is for Gurode to compete with Lucas Nix, Tony Bergstrom and Mike Brisiel for the two guard spots and leave Wisniewski at center. This would help Gurode get acclimated to the Oakland playbook quicker without having to learn the plays and the protection signals the center has to make.
One way or another, Gurode should be somewhere on Oakland's offensive line when the season begins. There is no way that a five-time Pro Bowler is just here to be a camp body.
A line of Veldheer, Wisniewski and Gurode with whoever wins the remaining positions looks much stronger than it was before Gurode was signed. Chalk this up as another good signing by Reggie McKenzie.
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