Whenever you have a chance to sign a 34-year-old defensive end who had 1.5 sacks last season you have to do it. At least that’s what the Raiders think.
Someone in the Oakland Raiders’ front office might want to tell Jon Gruden what year it is. The team’s decision to add Frostee Rucker to their defensive end rotation is curious at best. It’s really hard to see what a 34-year-old who started 16 games last season and only managed one sack can give the Raiders’ front-seven.
Nonetheless, ESPN is reporting that Rucker is going to be a proud member of the Silver and Black. He played the last five seasons with the Cardinals, but Arizona didn’t show any real interest in bringing him back. For that matter, it doesn’t seem that any other NFL team was seriously interested in bringing Rucker into the fold at this point in his career.
The good news about this signing for Raiders fans is that the team is already well-stocked at defensive end. It’s highly unlikely that Rucker is going to play very much. Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards are set to be the team’s starters. Third-round draft pick Arden Key should provide Oakland depth at both spots.
That leaves Rucker battling with Tank Carradine for the fourth defensive end spot. Expect him to lose that battle. It’s hard to imagine Rucker getting any meaningful snaps this season. His inability to rush the passer makes it very difficult for him to fit in with a modern NFL defense.
The only upside to signing Rucker is that he’s capable of providing some depth at defensive tackle as well. Again, he’s not going to make a ton of plays there, but he is large enough to take up some space. Perhaps Gruden and company hope he can serve as a mentor for the young players all along the team’s front line.
In the end, this move screams of another example of Jon Gruden’s unwavering commitment to players past their prime. At least the Raiders aren’t committing any real salary to Frostee Rucker.