We reported during Super Bowl week that the Oakland Raiders worked out Grey Cup MVP and 1,000 yard CFL running back Kory Sheets. At the time Sheets was still under contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but with free agency beginning in the CFL recently there was a chance that Raider fans would be seeing their first big free agency move before the March 11 start to the NFL offseason.
That move came today as the Raiders confirmed the signing of Sheets, who left for two successful breakout seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders after bouncing around the NFL out of Purdue.
Per Raiders.com’s official release:
The Oakland Raiders have signed RB Kory Sheets, General Manager Reggie McKenzie announced Wednesday.
Sheets entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with San Francisco in 2009 and spent time on the 49ers’ practice squad before being signed to the active roster of the Miami Dolphins later that season. Sheets was with Miami from 2009-10, appearing in two games and totaling one rush for five yards. After being waived by the Dolphins, the 5-foot-11, 208-pounder spent time on the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
Following his first NFL stint, Sheets played two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League from 2012-13. In his two years in the CFL, Sheets totaled 2,875 rushing yards on 516 attempts (5.6 avg.) and 23 touchdowns. He also added 781 receiving yards on 86 receptions and two touchdowns. Sheets was named the 2013 Grey Cup Most Valuable Player after rushing for a Grey Cup-record 197 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns in a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Sheets played four years at Purdue (2005-08), finishing his collegiate career ranked second in school history with 3,341 rushing yards on 664 carries, and holding the school record with 48 rushing touchdowns.
More details on Sheets contract with the Raiders will come out within the coming days and those details will likely tell you more about Sheets chances to make the Raiders roster, which should be high considering their running back situation. With Sheets’ teammate in wideout Weston Dressler getting a three year deal to come to the Chiefs there was already a blueprint inside the division in bringing in a cheap and in-form CFL star that is hungry to get a shot at proving himself and earning a better living at the same time. Oakland currently is trying to move on from the Darren McFadden era and Sheets could be an option at a fractional salary that the Raiders were paying McFadden to be an oft-hurt third down back last season as well as another player in the backfield who can catch in the flat alongside Marcel Reece.
This signing is a very impressive one for Reggie McKenzie to start the offseason considering how Sheets has played in Saskatchewan over the past two seasons and the low pricetag he will likely command. Sheets has the Grey Cup record in rushing yards and could have rushed for 2,000 yards in the three down league if not for a slight injury setback last year, which shows his main concern in durability and age as Sheets is nearing 29 and doesn’t have much time left to make his mark in the NFL. If he shows the same motivation to build his career that he showed in two seasons in Regina, Sheets is a name that Raider fans should get used to before camp starts as a player to watch.
Sheets Grey Cup performance: