Raiders sign Washington

Perhaps the best way to get closer to being a Super Bowl champion is to weaken one. The Oakland Raiders signed New England Patriots defensive tackle Ted Washington to a four-year, $14 million dollar contract Wednesday according to an Associated Press report.

Washington was a key component in helping the Patriots win their second Super Bowl championship in three seasons. The 36-year old Washington is scheduled to receive a $4 million signing bonus after turning down an $8 million, three-year offer from the Patriots last week to become a free agent.

The Raiders hope the 6-foot-5, 365-pound Washington gives their defense something Sam Adams provided in 2002 in helping them reach the Super Bowl in his only season in Oakland. The 335-pound Adams, like Washington, has the capability of occupying multiple blockers which allows other defenders to make plays while have a cleaner shot at the ball-carrier in the process.

In his only season in Oakland, Adams helped the Raiders become a stingy defense against the run in becoming the third best in the NFL in that category. Last season, running lanes opened up like hospitality suites as the Raiders gave up an average of 156 rushing yards per game.

Injuries did not help matters with starters John Parrella and Dana Stubblefield playing only a combined 13 games. Washington's presence in the middle, however, will be a huge plus. New England gave up an average of 89.6 yards rushing per game.

The effect Washington's acquisition has on Stubblefield and/or Parrella remains to be seen. Well, more specifically Stubblefield, who had been rumored to become a salary-cap casualty Tuesday but was not.

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