Categories: Breaking News NFL

Raiders continue spending spree with pass rusher

The Oakland Raiders have filled another hole in free agency by agreeing to a four-year contract with former Seattle pass rusher Bruce Irvin.

Irvin confirmed he was leaving the Seahawks to join the Raiders on his Instagram account Wednesday. He thanked the fans in Seattle, management and his teammates, saying they will always be connected for winning the Super Bowl in 2014. He added he is excited for a new chapter in his career and hopes to bring a title to Oakland.

Irvin is the second big-money free agent to agree to a deal with the Raiders in free agency, inking a contract worth a reported $39 million. Oakland had previously agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $60 million with offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.

With plenty of money to spend this offseason, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is looking to add the final pieces to make Oakland a playoff team after missing the postseason for 13 straight years.

One of those holes was at pass rusher to join Khalil Mack, who had 15 sacks last season. With Justin Tuck retired and Aldon Smith suspended until November, the Raiders went after a player very familiar to defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

Irvin was a first-round pick by Seattle in 2012 and Norton was on the Seahawks staff for Irvin’s first three seasons. Irvin had 22 sacks in four years, including 5 1/2 last season. Irvin is also versatile enough to be strong against the run and play in coverage.

But the Raiders will be counting on him to improve a pass rush that relied too heavily on Mack last season. No one else on Oakland had more than four sacks.

After winning just 11 games the first three years under McKenzie’s leadership, the Raiders went 7-9 last season under first-year coach Jack Del Rio. They are hopeful of being a contender in the AFC West in 2016 because of a young core led by Derek Carr, Mack and receiver Amari Cooper.

The other positions the Raiders are targeting in free agency are the secondary to find a replacement for retired safety Charles Woodson, and a starting cornerback to pair with David Amerson; a running back to pair with Latavius Murray; another offensive lineman; and possibly a middle linebacker.

Associated Press

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