The Oakland Raiders continue to truck along through free agency, making smart moves with veteran players who seem to have something left in the tank. It looks like general manager Reggie McKenzie has turned his attentions to the running back position as it has been reported that Maurice Jones-Drew former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars has signed with Oakland.
The Raiders have already re-signed veteran Darren McFadden to a one year deal and have also signed Kory Sheets from the Canadian Football League. With Rashad Jennings having recently signed with the New York Giants, it’s no wonder McKenzie has turned his cap space and attention toward the position of running back.
In February, the Raiders announcing signing Sheets, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He spent most of his time in SF on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster of the Miami Dolphins later that season. He played with the Dolphins for two seasons, appearing in two games and totaling one rush for five yarsds.
He spent time with the Carolina Panthers in 2011 after being waived by the Dolphins. Sheets then spent two seasons playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL from 2012-2013. During this time, he rushed for 2,875 yards on 516 attempts and totaled 23 touchdowns. He also had 86 receptions totaling 781 yards and two touchdowns. Sheets entered the NFL from Purdue University where his career stats ranked second in school history with 664 carries totaling 3,341 yards and he holds the school record with 48 rushing touchdowns.
Sheets is still in Saskatchewan working his offseason job in the oil industry and laughingly states, “I need to pay bills. I didn’t get a signing bonus so I had to come up here and work.” For the moment, Sheets works as a swamper and explains, “What that basically means is I ride with a guy that drives a truck, and whenever he needs help loading and unloading pieces of the oil rigs I get out and help him. It’s great. I’m actually having a good time doing it. I get to see things I’ve never seen before and do things I’ve never done.” Sheets had attempted to find an interim job in the US, but was unable to find one with decent pay.
Despite being kept busy with his offseason job, he talks about always making time to squeeze in training no matter what time of day it is. “That’s one thing I can’t skip. So even though I’m working almost all of the day and most of the morning, if I come home late I hit the gym or hit the treadmill. I’ve got to do something to make sure I stay in shape and am keeping my body right.”
McFadden has been a source of contention for Raider Nation. He shows that he is very talented back with the caveat of, when he is healthy. Fans have constantly argued about whether or not he deserves a chance despite having demonstrated that he is injury prone. He has yet to play an entire season, but in the games that he has played, he has logged 3,713 yards and 23 touchdowns. McKenzie has re-signed the veteran to a one year $4 million dollar contract. The fan base has a lot of high hopes for this player, but will cast him aside quickly if he yet again is incapable of staying healthy.
McKenzie had started off free agency rather slowly this offseason, but has immediately shown that it was worth the wait as he amassed veteran players to slowly rebuild the Raiders. Jones-Drew who played for UCLA before being drafted in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Jaguars, actually was born and raised in Oakland. Jones-Drew currently has amassed 8,071 rushing yards with 68 rushing touchdowns in combination with his 335 receptions totaling 2,873 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He is yet another player who appears to be in the decline of his career, but McKenzie sees the potential.