Raiders give Biekert an ultimatum

Middle linebacker Greg Biekert has led the Raiders in tackles each of the last four seasons but might not be part of the team's plans this year. According to an NFL source, Oakland has given Biekert one week to accept a pay cut or face the likelihood of being released.

Biekert, the Raiders defensive captain who has started every game but two since 1994, is at the end of a deal that has him making $2.5 million in base salary this season and $5.4 million next year. Oakland wants to pay Biekert only $1 million this season but so far he has scoffed at the idea, having already restructured his deal earlier this year.

If Biekert and the Raiders remain firm in their respective stances it could mean the end of the line for the 33-year-old linebacker, who joined the team as a seventh-round draft choice in 1993. Since moving into the starting lineup his second year in the NFL Biekert has averaged 112 tackles and led the Raiders in that category six times.

But Oakland has been very encouraged by the play of rookie Napoleon Harris this preseason. The second of the team's two first-round draft picks, Harris has been everything the Raiders expected while playing in a back-up role to Biekert. Originally the plan was to play Harris only in nickel and dime situations before trying to ease him into a starting role but that might be altered if Oakland decides to part ways with Biekert.

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