Barnes now a Raider

Khalif Barnes has joined the Raiders after all. The veteran offensive tackle, who appeared to have shunned Oakland after an earlier visit, pulled a reverse and signed a one-year deal with the team late Saturday.

Barnes is expected to start at left tackle for Oakland, which released last year's starter Kwame Harris as part of its offseason renovation.

Mario Henderson, who started the final three games for the Raiders in 2008, will get a chance to push Barnes for the starting job in training camp. Oakland may also try to use Henderson at right tackle, where Cornell Green has been a disappointment the past two seasons.

Barnes started 57 games over the past four years with Jacksonville and was one of the top free agent linemen available.

He had appeared to be leaning toward signing with Tampa Bay after flirting with Oakland early during free agency but abruptly changed his mind and inked the one-year deal with the Raiders.

The Raiders don't have the signing listed on their website but ESPN and other outlets have been reporting the deal since Saturday night. Jon Clayton called the move a "coup" by Oakland.

We'll wait to pass judgment until Barnes is on the field but it does give the Raiders a veteran, experienced tackle to guard quarterback JaMarcus Russell's blindside. Russell had an up-and-down season in 2008 until Oakland put Henderson in the lineup for the final three games; once he had time to throw, Russell began to show signs of becoming a quality NFL quarterback.

What this means for Henderson, however, is uncertain. The third-year tackle played very well down the stretch and head coach Tom Cable said at the end of the season he would be confident heading into 2009 with Henderson as his starting left tackle.

Oakland isn't likely to have Barnes swap sides so the logical scenario has Henderson taking reps on the right side, an experiment that could begin as soon as this coming week when the Raiders begin their offseason workout program.

SB Report Top Stories