Whitehead intends to sign a contract with Oakland, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Whitehead is coming off of a strong 2017 season in which he lead the Lions in tackles with 110, including a sack. He was one of the best linebackers in the NFL and the Raiders will be hoping the 27-year-old -- who can play both on the inside and outside -- keeps up the run of strong play. Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Whitehead's new contract is a three-year pact worth more than $6 million annually.
Whitehead accrued 110 tackles, one sack, two PBUs, one interception and four fumble recoveries across 16 games in 2017.
Whitehead's role increased as the year went on with rookie first-rounder Jarrad Davis proving to be a liability in pass coverage. While Whitehead wasn't necessarily a huge upgrade in that department, the veteran certainly made his presence felt in the ground game considering he finished the year as Pro Football Focus' 12th-highest graded linebacker against the run and led the Lions in tackles. He's now logged triple-digit tackle numbers in each of the past two years, but he'll now be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the league year and is far from certain to return to Detroit in 2018.
Whitehead recorded eight tackles and one fumble recovery during Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Buccaneers.
With rookie Jarrad Davis struggling in pass coverage, Whitehead has seen increased playing time in recent weeks and that's unlikely to change anytime soon, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. He's now logged over 70 defensive snaps in two of the past three weeks while averaging 10.5 tackles in those outings. Whitehead won't help you much in other statistical categories, but his expanded role going forward should make him a reliable source for production in the tackle department.
Whitehead recorded five tackles during Monday's 30-17 victory over the Packers, including one sack and two TFLs.
Whitehead's sack was just the third of his career and his first since 2015, but it helped the Lions stop the Packers' momentum on their opening drive in which they were forced to settle for a field goal that was ultimately blocked by teammate A'Shawn Robinson. From an IDP standpoint, however, Whitehead is averaging just 5.5 tackles per game and hasn't topped eight tackles in any game. His role simply doesn't lend itself to high tackle totals, making him barely worth fantasy consideration.
After a limited practice session Wednesday, Whitehead was back on the field without restrictions, which bodes well for status Sunday against the Saints. The veteran linebacker played through the pectoral injury against the Panthers and seems likely to do so again in Week 6.
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