Oakland drafted Ritchie in the third round pick out of Stanford in 1998 and had spent his entire five-year career with the Raiders. He caught a career-low 10 passes last season, despite being on the NFL's top-ranked offense.
"I felt very strongly that if I were to leave the Raiders, it would have to be for a great team in a situation where I would have a chance to contribute a good amount," said Ritchie, who signed for $1.5 million over two years plus the potential for $1.6 million in incentives. "Playing time is a real issue for me. I feel very comfortable with the offense here, which is very similar to what I've run my whole career."
Ritchie replaces Cecil Martin, an unrestricted free agent who had been the starter the last three years. Martin caught 15 passes last season
The 28-year-old Ritchie, a native of Mechanicsburg, has 129 career receptions for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns but his role became diminished last season when the Raiders relied more on three-receiver packages. Ritchie joins a backfield that will include running backs Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter.
Ritchie, 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, is a powerful blocker and solid receiver who fits well into the West Coast offense. He had a career-high 45 catches for 408 yards and one TD in 1999, 26 catches in 2001 and 19 in 2002. Ritchie has just 14 career rushing attempts, none since 1999.
Ritchie leaves a team that went to the Super Bowl for one that has lost the NFC championship game the last two seasons.