Big week eases pain of past failures in Oakland

February, 19, 2009
2/19/09
6:36
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Raiders' fans, read this excellent story with caution. It is going to bring up bad memories.

But here's the good news: This is the best possible day for Oakland fans to read this story. At least, Raiders fans can manage a faint smile and hope the contents of the story are yesteryear's news.

In a look at the 10 worst free agent deals in the history of the league, the Oakland Raiders dominated the print. Three of the top 10 all-time free agent worst stinkers -- including the second and fourth worst -- were worked up by the Raiders.

According ESPN.com's Thomas Neumann, the Raiders' signing of cornerback DeAngelo Hall (after a trade from Atlanta) last season was the second worst move. The decision by Oakland last year to ink Javon Walker was the fourth worst and the 1996 move by the Raiders to sign defensive back Larry Brown was the 10th worst.

Ouch.

But, today is a day of celebration in the Raider Nation so maybe the truth of the horrible free agents signings of the past won't sting as badly as it would any other time.

Oakland just inked franchise cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a three-year contract Thursday and it signed Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler to a four-year deal Wednesday night. Both players were prospective free agents.

So, yes, the past treated Oakland poorly in free agency but perhaps its free agency fate is turning.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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