Al Davis loves a reclamation project. I can imagine the iconic owner spending his Saturdays flipping through Auto Trader looking for salvage titles on the cheap. Over the years few football minds have had the acumen of Davis when it comes to collecting castoffs and turning them into All-Pros.
While Oakland was overwhelmingly silent in free agency there were some minor waves made by the look-sees given to Jared Gaither, Lofa Tatupu and Lito Sheppard. Of the three only Sheppard made it onto the roster but that just earned him what amounted to a one-game audition.
Today there were reports of Oakland once again going after a player tossed onto the scrapheap. Former Patriots linebacker and NorCal native Tully Banta-Cain was said to be in the East Bay where he apparently passed a physical and conducted a workout.
Vittorio Tarfur reports that Banta-Cain was nowhere to be found at practice this evening. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Banta-Cain is one of those rare success stories in the NFL. The UC Berkeley alum was a 7th round pick that blossomed into a serviceable linebacker on a couple of championship teams. Like so many other things in life, Banta-Cain is a classic example of right place/right time.
No disrespect to Tully. He made the most of his opportunities and played well enough to be relied upon in some very important games.
Of course since he was unearthed by the modern genius that is Bill Belichick, Banta-Cain’s status is elevated to an undeserved level.
In other words, Banta-Cain can offer little to the Raiders at this point in time.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just because he was once a serviceable player that he’s automatically better than Quentin Groves.
Don’t assume that his Super Bowl rings mean much more than the amazing accomplishment that they are.
Banta-Cain is a free agent for a reason. He’s past his prime and would contribute little more than veteran leadership. Though he may be a quality pass rusher he does nothing to improve Oakland’s run defense.
Where Mr. Davis has failed is in pursuing younger players with more potential. Chasing this former Pat makes no sense. Now going after Brandon Meriweather or Darius Butler would have seemed more sensible.
This is one salvage title not worth the trouble even at a discounted price.