Top 10 Best FA's in Raiders History, Part II

With free agency in full swing, S&BI takes a look at the top ten best and the top five worst free agent signings in Raiders history. Since the current format of free agency began in 1993, the Raiders have had their fair share of success stories and blunders. Part II takes a look at the guys who did well donning the Silver and Black.

10. Eric Turner (1997)

In 1997, the Raiders were hitting the free agent market hard, signing the likes of quarterback Jeff George and kick returner Desmond Howard. The best move the Raiders made that offseason however, was in signing two-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Turner to a four-year, $6 million deal.

Turner's playmaking ability made him a welcome addition to the Raiders' secondary. The former number two pick in the 2001 NFL Draft has 30 interceptions to his credit in only 109 career games. As a Raider, Turner picked off eight passes, including one he returned for a 94-yard touchdown in 1998.

Sadly, Turner passed away in 2000 as a result of intestinal cancer. His death at the age of 31 was a shock to many in the Raiders organization and also throughout the league.

9. Tory James (2000)

After three years with the Broncos, James signed with the Raiders for five years and $18 million. In his first two seasons, James started only three games at corner, but was a regular contributor as a backup and especially in nickel packages.

By his third year, James started 13 of 14 games played and was an integral part of the Raiders' 2002 Super Bowl run. Unfortunately, James was a victim of the numbers game and was released the following offseason, but his 11 interceptions and solid contributions in three seasons merit a position on this list.

8. Terry Kirby (2000)

In bringing in the 30-year old Kirby in 2000, the Raiders were hoping to get a solid backup in their backfield, a veteran presence in the locker room, and a valuable contributor on special teams.

It's safe to say that Kirby delivered in his three seasons with the team. Despite playing in only 19 games in Silver and Black, Kirby proved to be a nice asset as a multi-purpose running back, but where he really made an impact was in special teams: in three seasons, Kirby registered 1,721 kick return yards and had touchdown returns of 90 and 96 yards.

7. Kevin Gogan (1994)

To the rest of the league, Kevin Gogan was one of the dirtiest players during his time, but to the Silver and Black faithful, Gogan was a tough, no-nonsense player who typified the Raiders-outlaw attitude.

After seven seasons with the Cowboys, Gogan signed with the Raiders for three years and $3.6 million. The 6-7, 320 pound behemoth out of Washington State did not disappoint, as he started in all 48 games in his three-year career with the Raiders, which included his first Pro Bowl selection in 1994.

6. Derrick Burgess (2005)

Despite playing for some poor teams during his four-year tenure in Oakland, Burgess was a highly productive defensive end and a great value pickup for the Raiders. Signed away from the Eagles in 2005, Burgess began his Raider career as a backup, but eventually earned the starting spot halfway into the 2005 season.

In that season, Burgess registered an outstanding 16 sacks, good enough to be ranked first in the league in that category. Although his production experienced a decline in the following years, Burgess was still the Raiders' best pass rusher, finishing with a total of 38.5 sacks in 56 games in Silver and Black.

4. Tyrone Wheatley (1999)

Up until 1999, Wheatley was considered a first round bust. After being picked 17th overall in 1995, Wheatley failed to produce anything close to a 1,000-yard rushing season. So when he arrived in Oakland in 1999, expectations were not very high for the former Michigan Wolverine.

However, Wheatley revitalized his career as a power runner with the Raiders. In his first two seasons in Oakland, Wheatley rushed for 1,982 yards and 17 touchdowns, and although he failed to come close to those numbers in his final four years, Wheatley was an important part of the Raiders' revitalization and 2002 championship run.

5. Zach Crockett (1999)

In eight seasons with the Raiders, Crockett was more than just a solid contributor in the Raiders' backfield. He was consistent and reliable as a short yardage runner, compiling 35 touchdowns on the ground.

Crockett's versatility was also a key asset: his powerful presence made him the Raiders' best goal line option but also the best backfield blocker.

3. Rod Woodson (2002)

Despite playing only two seasons in Oakland during his 17-year Hall of Fame career, Woodson was an invaluable asset in the Raiders' secondary and locker room. In 2002, the 37-year old Woodson made his 11th Pro Bowl, leading the league with eight interceptions.

Woodson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, and even to this day, he is well respected by fans and players alike for his professionalism, on and off the field.

2. Jerry Rice (2001)

Speaking of well respected Hall of Famers, they don't get much more well respected and Hall of Fame worthy than Jerry Rice. Easily the best wide receiver in NFL history, Rice is the gold standard among receivers and owns numerous records and three Super Bowl rings to show for it.

Rice joined the Raiders in 2001, after a storied 15-year career with the San Francisco 49ers. Rice teamed with Tim Brown and Rich Gannon to form one of the most explosive offensive attacks in NFL history. In three seasons with the Raiders, Rice hauled in 3,219 yards receiving, 8 touchdowns, and earned his 13th Pro Bowl invitation in 2002.

1. Rich Gannon (1999)

As far as great moves go for the Raiders, it really doesn't get any better than Rich Gannon. Under the current system of free agency, there hasn't been any other player who has signed with the Raiders and produced as well as Gannon. In fact, in the discussion of best free agent moves in the history of the NFL, you would be remiss to not include Gannon somewhere in the top five.

Gannon came to the Raiders from the Chiefs in 1999, after two years of fighting over the starting quarterback spot with Elvis Grbac. It was a move that would change the fortunes of both the player and the team, as Gannon rattled off four straight Pro Bowl selections and the Raiders went 41-23 during that span.

Gannon's career with the Raiders culminated in his record setting 2002 season, in which he was voted league MVP and led the team to Super Bowl XXXVII.

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