Shaw signing leaves James in gray area

The signing of cornerback Terrance Shaw doesn't necessarily mean the Raiders have given up hope on Eric Allen coming back for another season. Of more concern than Allen, however, may be Oakland's feelings regarding defensive back Tory James. James was considered the logical successor to Allen when he was brought over from Denver two years ago. He's played primarily as a nickel back and replaces Allen in certain situations and coverages.

Shaw, coming off a Super Bowl season with New England, was a starter for six seasons in San Diego before moving into a back-up role with Miami and the Patriots. With Oakland, he'll most likely be used as a nickel or dime back, particularly if Allen puts off retirement for another season. Oakland also openly courted cornerback Duane Starks and were in the process of negotiating a deal with Starks when the talented and highly coveted free agent signed with the Arizona Cardinals instead. By first chasing Starks then now signing Shaw, it's clear the Raiders aren't totally comfortable with their secondary output. While they also picked up defensive tackle John Perella and linebacker Bill Romanowski, the Raiders have looked at more defensive backs than any other position so far. Former head coach Jon Gruden made sure to make training camp as competitive as possible at every position, and new head coach Bill Callahan no doubt is doing the same thing. But James has to be looking over his shoulder heading into the Raiders offseason workouts which are scheduled to begin next Monday.

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