Re-Signing Andre James was Tom Telesco's first big win with the Raiders

One day before the legal tampering period opens, the Raiders managed to re-sign one of their own.

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

With the NFL’s legal tampering period in less than 24 hours, teams around the league were scrambling to keep their top guys in-house, and away from the wandering eyes of other general managers. 

The Las Vegas Raiders were no different despite not having a large amount of priority free agents that need to be returned to the roster next season. The biggest of these upcoming contract expirations is no doubt former All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs. 

After using the franchise tag on him last off-season, the team has elected to try and re-sign him to a new deal but will let him test the open market. Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor will also hit free agency but the team likely feels they can find a better option either in-house with Thayer Munford or in the draft. 

However, one player that head coach Antonio Pierce and general manager Tom Telesco have decided they want around for the future is starting center Andre James. Signed to a new three-year deal worth 24 million dollars, eighteen million of which is guaranteed, he will be in Silver and Black for the foreseeable future. A great signing on all accounts, this one will likely go down as Telesco’s first big win as a member of the Raiders.

Re-Signing Andre James was Tom Telesco's first big win with the Raiders

Andre James' story to this point has been a remarkable one. An offensive tackle at UCLA who was teammates with current Raiders tackle Kolton Miller, James was undrafted before signing with the then-Oakland Raiders in 2019. 

Initially considered a depth piece, James was instead the hand-picked replacement for NFL All-Pro Rodney Hudson. One of the best centers in the league and a beloved player among Raider Nation, this was a difficult pill to swallow for some, especially as James struggled out of the gate. 

However, James has developed well in recent years and had a PFF grade of 74.6 last season while surrendering just four sacks, good for eighth best among his position. Not a perfect player by any means but his experience should prove invaluable to the team’s next quarterback. 

This move will go down as Telesco’s first “win” as the Raiders general manager due to several reasons—the biggest of which is the price tag. At roughly eight million per year, he is the seventh highest-paid center in terms of average annual value. 

Telesco also identified a core piece of the Raiders team and kept a respected veteran around, while doing so at a position that is hard to replace in the NFL these days as fewer and fewer centers leave the college ranks ready to contribute right away. 

This also leaves Las Vegas with one less hole along the offensive line to fill with both right guard and tackle needing to be filled before the start of the upcoming season. Through a combination of draft picks and free agency, the team should be fielding an offensive line that is better than last season's unit. Keeping veterans like James makes that possible.