Marshall and Burfict both signed one-year, incentive-laden contracts, with the latter's containing a base value of $2 million and only $300,000 guaranteed. It helps that he'll be reunited with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, but there's no guarantee Burfict wins a starting job or even lands on the 53-man roster. The 28-year-old linebacker seems to be healthy for the start of Oakland's offseason program, but he's coming off a 2018 campaign in which he struggled during his seven appearances and missed the other nine games while battling concussion symptoms. The Raiders have some young players -- Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow, Jason Cabinda -- with the potential to challenge Burfict, Marshall and Whitehead for playing time.
Burfict suffered a pair of concussions in December, bringing him to seven documented incidents through seven NFL seasons. Between the brain injuries, three suspensions and a few other injuries, the veteran linebacker has averaged just 8.6 games per season the past five years. He was still a difference-maker whenever healthy until 2018, at which point he posted a career-low mark of 4.7 tackles per game while also struggling in coverage. The Raiders signed Burfict to a one-year contract worth up to $5 million just one day after he was cut by the Bengals, hoping a reunion with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther can help the 28-year-old regain his top form. Burfict is expected to play middle linebacker in Oakland's 4-3 scheme, allowing Tahir Whitehead to retain his spot on the weak side.
It only took Burfict one day to find a new landing spot after he was cut by the Bengals on Monday. He spent his first seven seasons in Cincinnati, accumulating 604 tackles (396 solo), five interceptions, 28 passes defensed, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries in 75 games. Burfict has become notorious for suspensions and fines, so it isn't surprising that he aligned himself with his former coach and current Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Assuming he can bounce back from last year's repeated struggles with concussions, Burfict will have a decent chance to earn a starting job given the lack of defensive talent in Oakland. Adam Caplan of SiriusXM Radio reports that the Raiders plan to use Burfict as a middle linebacker, thus allowing Tahir Whitehead to stay on the weak side.
Burfict (concussion) is scheduled to visit with the Raiders, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
Released by Cincinnati on Monday, the 28-year-old linebacker quickly lined up a potential reunion with Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who held the same position in Cincinnati from 2014 to 2017. Given his poor play in 2018 along with his lengthy history of concussions and suspensions, Burfict isn't likely to find much in the way of guaranteed money. He would at least have a decent shot to win a starting job in Oakland, where the competition consists of Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee and Jason Cabinda -- an underwhelming group to say the least.
Known for his suspensions and fines above all else, Burfict was actually one of the better linebackers in the NFL early in his career, but he's played 11 games or fewer every season since 2013 and hasn't been a difference-maker when healthy since 2016. A long history of concussions and illegal hits could make it difficult for the 28-year-old linebacker to draw interest on the open market.
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