Sapp signs with Oakland

There's a commonly believed notion that virtually every great NFL player winds up being an Oakland Raider at some point in his career. Well, defensive tackle Warren Sapp is now the latest example.

According to an ESPN.com report, the Raiders reached a seven-year, $36.6 million dollar deal with Sapp Saturday evening. Sapp, who was played all nine of his NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was rumored to be joining the Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year old Sapp's contract with the Raiders includes a $7 million signing bonus, and will pay the seven-time Pro Bowler a total of $9.8 million the first two seasons. The final season of the contract, 2010, is an option year.

Sapp should feel at home right away in an Oakland uniform if for no other reason than the Raiders having a history of bringing aboard stars who are considered too much of a headache or too old to fit in with other teams. The controversial Sapp has 77 career sacks.

Sapp becomes the second defensive tackle the Raiders have signed as a free agent. Oakland signed 35-year old Ted Washington a few weeks ago. What Sapp and Washington's signing means for holdovers John Parrella and Dana Stubblefield remains to be seen. Parrella, however, would appear to be the more likely candidate to return.

The Raiders hoped that Parrella and Stubblefield would be a run-stuffing pair last season in a similar vein as Parrella and Sam Adams in 2002. Adams signed as a free agent with Buffalo while Parrella and Stubblefield combined to miss 19 games because of injury.

Oakland lost free agent tackle Rod Coleman, who led the team is sacks the past two seasons (16 1/2). Coleman signed a six-year, $28.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons that included a $10 million bonus.

Sapp comes to Oakland with an impressive resume. He was the 1999 NFL defensive player of the year, had just completed the final year of a six-year, $36 million contract. Sapp and the Buccaneers, however, could not reach a long-term agreement. Besides his impressive play, Sapp has been known to flap his gums with controversial statements.

At one point last season, Sapp referred to the NFL as his "slave master." As impressive as Sapp's resume is, he might have something to prove this season after registering five sacks, the fewest total since his rookie season in 1995.


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