Raiders signing Cody Whitehair could be one of the sneakiest moves of the offseason

Depth moves never quite get the attention they deserve.
Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans
Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

There's been a lot made about some of the contracts that the Raiders have handed out this offseason. Some of them have been well-received, and some of them have, uh, not been. They'll certainly look different in 2024, with new starters at (presumably) quarterback, running back, and on the defensive line.

But it's the Raiders' most recent signing – a one-year deal for former Chicago Bears guard Cody Whitehair – that may end up proving to be one of the sneakiest moves of their whole offseason. Depth offensive line signings never get the attention (page views) that they probably deserve, but here's why the addition may age particularly well this year.

Why signing Whitehair could be a sneaky-good move this offseason

It's important to start off with the obvious: Whitehair's very clearly on the back nine of his career. Even if he bounces back from a rough 2023, he'll probably end up as, conservatively, the 4th best player on the Raiders' offensive line this year. And while that speaks more to the talent they already have with Andre James, Kolton Miller, and Thomas Munford Jr., it's also just realistically looking at the profile of a player who's been in decline for the last two or three years.

But here's the great thing about Whitehair: he doesn't miss time. Only once in his career has he played less than 14 games, and he's appeared in every game in six of his eight seasons. 2023 was the first time he appeared in games that he didn't start. He also has a ton of snaps at both left guard and center – versatility goes a long way when you're no longer a starting caliber lineman.

His familiarity with the Raiders' new offensive coordinator doesn't hurt, either. Whitehair played for Luke Getsy in Chicago, and during that time the Bears put together one of the best running games in the NFL. For most of that stretch, Whitehair was a productive part of that unit, too: up until his horrendous 2023 (career-low PFF run block grade of 42.4), he'd been roughly league-average as a run-blocker, and his pass block efficiency rating has stayed relatively stable through his entire career.

Also: it's mid-April and the Raiders still needed a starting guard. If you're still working the free agent market for starters by the time the draft rolls around, you get what you pay for. Whitehair is reliable, versatile, and comes to Vegas as a proven veteran starter who was always well-liked in the Bears' locker room. They'll happily take that from their 4th-best offensive lineman.